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SPRINGFIELD –Cook County seniors would see access to property tax break sooner under legislation by State Senator Laura Ellman that passed the Senate unopposed on Thursday.

“My goal was always to simplify this application process as much as possible,” said Ellman, (D-Naperville), the measure’s chief sponsor. “Rather than subjecting our seniors to an unnecessary reapplication process, we’re making things easier on them while also giving more people the chance to benefit from property tax breaks.”

Currently, every county in Illinois other than Cook may allow seniors to receive the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption without having to reapply for it annually. Changes to the law will allow Cook County seniors the same privilege, and House Bill 961 allows this exemption to take effect for the taxable year 2019.
Cook County agencies would also be required to keep track of any property transfers or death that would end the exemption on a particular piece of property in order to prevent abuse of it.

This legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) voted today in favor of legislation that would cap the skyrocketing cost of insulin.

“For those with diabetes, prescription insulin isn’t optional,” Ellman said. “People should not be forced to make a choice between their food or housing and medicine they need to inject to keep from dying. Increasing affordability so these choices don’t have to be made is the right thing to do.”

Senate Bill 667 would cap out-of-pocket insulin expenses at $100 for a 30-day supply for those who receive health insurance from the state.

Ellman said the legislation is also intended to spark a national conversation about skyrocketing insulin prices at a time when the American Diabetes Association says there are over 30 million Americans who have diabetes, 7.4 million of which require prescription insulin every day to survive. However, the increasing costs associated with the medication have led many patients to ration their supply or seek care outside of the country.

The legislation would make Illinois just the second state in the country to cap out-of-pocket insulin expenses. Colorado became the first to do so earlier this year.

The measure has also garnered the support of several advocacy organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois Pharmacists Association and AARP.

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SPRINGFIELD – A decades-old law that prevents Illinois from taking action to address harmful greenhouse gas emissions was repealed thanks to State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville).

“By repealing the Kyoto Protocol Act, we're sending the signal that Illinois is ready to get serious about climate change,” Ellman said after her bill repealing the measure was signed into law today by Gov. JB Pritzker. “It's an outdated law that only served to tie lawmakers’ hands and it never should've been passed in the first place.”

House Bill 3481 repeals the Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998, which was intended to prevent the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Pollution Control Board from proposing rules to reduce greenhouse gases to address climate change.

“The Kyoto Protocol Act of 1998 was basically a gag order designed to prevent Illinois lawmakers from taking action to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions,” Ellman said. “Repealing this outdated law allows us to consider new options to cut greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.”

The Kyoto Protocol Act expressly prohibited Illinois from reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions beyond the goals set for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol. In 2001, the U.S. withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, leaving Illinois tied to goals that the federal government no longer intended to meet.

This legislation takes effect immediately.

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SPRINGFIELD – Non-traditional students pursuing vocational training could be eligible for a new scholarship program under a new law from State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that was signed into law on Friday.

“Education is economic development,” Ellman said. “This new scholarship program will help alleviate the financial burden of education and provide additional opportunities to non-traditional students.”

Senate Bill 1167 establishes the Adult Vocational Community College Scholarship Program, run by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. To be eligible, a student must be over the age of 30 and unemployed but actively searching for work.

The scholarship would be enough to cover the cost of tuition and fees to attend the community college without exceeding $2,000 per recipient per academic year. The program is subject to appropriation.

“By investing in education, we’re investing in the future,” Ellman said. “This scholarship program will help ensure that Illinois workers are trained for jobs of the future and that businesses aren’t struggling to find qualified employees.”

Fifty-three percent of Illinois jobs require more than a high school degree but less than a four-year college degree, yet only 43 percent of Illinois workers are trained at that level.

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