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50th District Update: January 5

On Jan. 1, more than 200 bills covering a wide variety of issues became law. These include two laws passed by Senator Sam McCann (R-Plainview) aimed at helping veterans and protecting volunteer firefighters and paramedics.

In addition, Illinois residents can expect to see improved safety measures for children and Internet users in 2018 with new laws that help protect children in the foster care system, at day care and at school; as well as shield children and adults online.

Protecting volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel

Senator McCann's legislation, Senate Bill 1895, will allow volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel to receive emergency calls and texts while working at their paid jobs.

“Volunteer firefighters and paramedics sacrifice their own time every day to save lives,” said Senator McCann. “The least we can do is make it easier for them to do their jobs.”

Possible Veteran Court Expansion

McCann's Senate Bill 1238 empowers the Chief Justices of Circuit Courts to add up to one veterans court per county. Previous law only allowed one veterans court per judicial circuit. The state has 102 counties but only 24 judicial circuits.

“Veterans Courts allow judges to use more discretion and understanding of the unique issues that many of our veterans face, including challenges such as PTSD,” said Sen. McCann. “This new law will increase the likelihood that a Veterans Court is closer to any veterans who would benefit.”

School Asthma Response

Senate Bill 1898 will require the Illinois Department of Public Health to develop rules and procedures to include asthma in the standard school health examination.

This mirrors a similar law that went into effect last year, which requires all school personnel be trained to handle asthma emergencies. These laws strengthen the safeguards against any asthma related injuries, a chronic issue in schools across the country.

Cyber Protections

House Bill 3251 works to protect children and adults from online harassment.

The new law prohibits electronic harassment using spyware or electronic tracking software to transmit a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint.

The law was put in place to protect citizens’ privacy, particularly those who are victims of domestic abuse and do not want their abusers discovering their location.

Foster Children Rights

Beginning this week, Illinois will tweak the way it places children into temporary foster care.

House Bill 3542 ensures that foster children be placed in the most family-like setting available and in close proximity to their parents’ home, which will ensure consistency with their health, safety, best interests, and special needs.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will follow these criteria to ensure that children are put in the least restrictive situations possible.

 

Childcare Safety Database

Childcare consumers will now be able to access licensing and abuse and neglect information on all providers in Illinois.

House Bill 2388 gives parents peace of mind by creating a searchable database of daycare homes and centers that have had licenses revoked and the status of applications for renewal.

The database was created by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and will be regularly updated to reflect the most current information parents may need.

A full listing of all the new laws taking effect on Jan. 1, 2018, can be found at: http://senatormccann.com/Media/News/p/148456/v/2000/new-laws-taking-effect-on-january-1-2018

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