FINE SB 3925SPRINGFIELD – Human services professionals will soon have access to student loan repayment assistance, thanks to a law led by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview).

“Human services workers provide life-changing services to some of our most vulnerable communities,” Fine said. “It is past time that we provide them with much-needed assistance.”

Employees in the human services industry include welfare caseworkers, youth service providers, social workers, and many other positions specializing in working with marginalized communities. However, the industry is experiencing a shortage in employees, partially due to financial barriers. Many of these professions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, salaries do not often match the educational achievements, and many human service workers struggle to pay off their student loans.

Fine’s law encourages more students to enter this rewarding and essential workforce by providing student loan repayment plans for employees of community-based human services agencies. The law works to combat the critical worker shortage for the industry and provides assistance to many current human services workers, many of whom are women and people of color.

“While it is necessary for human services professionals to have specialized degrees to work with at-risk communities, possible student debt should not be a deterrent for interested students,” Fine said. “This loan repayment program will help ensure that the cost of tuition is no longer a financial roadblock when pursuing a career in human services.”

Senate Bill 3925 was signed into law June 10, 2022. It takes effect immediately.

Category: Press Releases

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

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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