FINE HB 1780SPRINGFIELD – Thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) and Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview), pharmaceutical companies will now be required to establish a drug take-back program statewide, ensuring unused prescription drugs stay out of the hands of our children and our drinking water.

“Drug take-back programs are essential to keeping prescription medications out of the hands of our loved ones who could become addicted to these substances,” Senator Fine said. “In addition, these vital programs ensure prescription medications do not contaminate our environment.”

Many unused medicines are frequently flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink, causing harmful chemicals to end up in lakes, rivers, and groundwater, which can harm the ecosystem.

“Public safety is always top of mind for me, and the unsafe disposal of prescription drugs poses a real public health hazard,” said Rep. Gong Gershowitz, the House Sponsor of HB 1780. “40 million Americans drank from water sources contaminated by prescription drugs last year. It’s time we cut that number down to 0, and Illinois is going to do its part.”

While some counties in Illinois have already established similar programs, there is currently no statewide system in place. This law will provide a convenient way to safely dispose of unused medications, no matter what county you reside.

House Bill 1780 was signed into law June 10, 2022. It goes into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

FINE SB 3617SPRINGFIELD – As more Illinoisans seek mental and behavioral health supports, a new law championed by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is designed to ensure the workforce can meet the demands. This workforce expansion bill was signed into law June 10, 2022.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health,” Fine said. “With this law, we are able to reduce barriers to improve the mental health workforce so that all who are seeking mental and behavioral health care will have access to this necessary care.”

In Illinois, there are only 14 behavioral health care professionals for every 10,000 Illinois residents. Many people are forced to wait longer for essential treatment or forego mental health care entirely because of this gap. This can be detrimental to their mental and physical well-being.

To address these issues, Senate Bill 3617 focuses on expanding the current workforce. It accelerates the process for out-of-state clinicians applying for licensure in Illinois, as well as streamlines requirements for social workers, professional counselors, and clinical psychologists with licenses that have been inactive for five years. Additionally, it includes initiatives to support diversity in the mental health field and establishes tax credits, all of which will encourage more quality, accessible care to those seeking assistance.

“It takes bravery and strength to reach out for help. Being told you have to wait weeks – or months – for care is extremely discouraging,” Fine said. “We need to support people struggling with mental and behavioral health issues, as well as address difficulties our mental health providers are facing trying to see as many patients as possible. This law will work to fix both issues, and ensure that Illinoisans will have more access to quality mental health care.”

Senate Bill 3617 was signed by the governor June 10, 2022 and takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

FINE HB 3118SPRINGFIELD –An initiative led by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), will protect pollinators like bees and butterflies by setting guidelines on the spraying of certain pesticides.

“Pollinators are essential to the health of our environment and our agriculture,” Fine said. “This law guarantees that they are not unnecessarily killed by pesticides targeting mosquitos, allowing them to continue to play their vital role in our ecosystem.”

The legislation restricts when commercial pesticides, also known as “mosquitocides,” can be applied to surfaces where mosquitoes feed, such as plant leaves, turf or mulch. As many other insects often feed on these areas, pollinators can be unintended victims of pesticides during colder seasons when the mosquito population is lower. This law intends to limit the harm to pollinators at the hands of these pesticides.

“Pollinators are a key element of the circle of life. When our young constituent, Scarlett Harper, brought this problem to my attention I knew I had to do something,” said Rep. Gabel. “This bill protects bees and butterflies by ensuring that yard workers are educated about the best and worst times to spray for mosquitos and limiting the time for spraying. Thank you to Scarlett for her organizing and to Senator Fine for helping to shepherd this bill through the process.”

In the event of a public health emergency, like a virus transmitted through mosquito bites, the law allows for pesticides to be sprayed to stop such an emergency. Until then, this law prohibits spraying pesticides from October 16th through April 14th every year. This legislation will also require additional notification for when mosquitocide is sprayed in residential areas and would also prevent it from being sprayed on windy days, preventing pesticide drift. Fine is hopeful that this initiative will set an example for more environmental stewardship in lawmaking.

House Bill 3118 was signed into law May 27, 2022. It will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Category: Press Releases

FINE SB 3032SPRINGFIELD – Universities will no longer be able to withhold transcripts from students who have not yet paid off their tuition balance, thanks to a new law led by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“As a former professor, I have witnessed firsthand the immense sacrifices, including taking on debt, students undertake to earn their degree and pursue a fulfilling career,” Fine said. “The practice of withholding transcripts can make it harder for students to find the necessary employment to pay off their debts. This law will ensure students have access to the documents they have earned through hard work, regardless of outstanding debt.”

Under Fine’s legislation, universities will be prohibited from withholding unofficial transcripts as a means of debt collection. Employers will be able to request official transcripts of those students seeking employment. Fine’s legislation will also require colleges and universities to institute a hardship policy, which will help students who have to drop out of a school due to an illness or significant financial burden the ability to re-enroll at a later date. Lastly, SB 3032 ensures debt collection agencies cannot use a past due debt with a college or university against a student’s credit rating.

“Students often go into debt with the expectation that their degree will give them the opportunity to get a well-paying job, which will help them pay off their loans,” Fine said. “Withholding transcripts, a practice that disproportionately impacts low-income or minority populations, creates additional barriers to financial independence. This law will give a pathway for students to pursue a career with the degree they earned while working to repay their debts.”

Senate Bill 3032 was signed into law May 27, 2022. It will go into effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
Suite A
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717