Ellman

SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would allow the student member of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to retain their seat until a new member is appointed passed committee on Tuesday.

“This measure would allow ISAC’s student commissioner to retain their seat after their term is over until a new commissioner is appointed,” Ellman said.

ISAC’s mission is to provide Illinois students with information and assistance to help make education beyond high school accessible and affordable.

The measure would allow the student member of the commission to retain their seat beyond the expiration of their term until a new and qualified student member is appointed. The measure would also replace gendered pronouns when referring to the student member.

“When ISAC doesn’t have a student commissioner, it loses a student perspective during important policy discussions,” Ellman said. “This ensures that Illinois students will always have a voice.”

Currently, the student commissioner's term is two years. If a vacancy occurs during the term a new student appointee filling a vacancy may serve only for the remainder of that term. This has led to gaps between student commissioners, leaving the commission without a student perspective. It also contributes to delays in the commission's work when meetings have to be rescheduled due to lack of quorum.

House Bill 1802 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee with a vote of 12-0 and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

ellman from above

SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would allow students to use 529 college savings accounts for additional purposes without additional taxation passed committee on Wednesday.

“This measure expands the uses of college savings plans to better reflect the realities of higher education,” Ellman said. “Some students need to use their savings plans to pay for loans or job-training programs.”

The measure would allow up to $10,000 to be used for additional education-related purposes without being taxed, making Illinois law consistent with federal law.

The additional education-related purposes are:

  1. Interest payments on the student’s qualified education loan, and
  2. To cover expenses for fees, text books, supplies and other materials needed to participate in certain vocational apprenticeship programs registered and certified with the secretary of labor.

“Every resident of Illinois deserves the chance to succeed and decide their future,” Ellman said. “Broadening the uses of this savings program gives our young people more options.”

House Bill 741 passed the Senate Financial Institutions Committee without opposition and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

 

Classroom

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) recently honored 959 Naperville-area high school students who were named 2021-22 Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Illinois State Scholar winners rank in approximately the top 10% of the state’s high school seniors from 676 high schools in all 102 counties. Selection is based on a combination of standardized test scores and class rank or unweighted GPA at the end of the student’s junior year. ISAC works in conjunction with the students’ high school guidance counselors to determine the winners.

“It’s no secret the last two school years have been tough,” Ellman said. “That is why I’m so proud of these students for earning this award. Not only did the students perform admirably, but they did it during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. I want to recognize their support systems as well. The school staffs across the district have done an exceptional job.”

The scholars from the Naperville area include students from nine area high schools, including Benet Academy, Lisle, Naperville Central, Naperville Christian, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley, St. Francis, Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South high schools.

Recipients of the award will receive a congratulatory letter from ISAC, and a Certificate of Achievement will be sent to their high school. State Scholars will also receive a digital badge issued by ISAC that can be displayed on online profiles, exhibited on social media, and shared with prospective colleges and employers.

“I hope these students will use these awards to their benefit during the college admissions process,” Ellman said. “After the last two years, they deserve all the recognition they can get.”

More information about the State Scholar program can be found at ISAC’s website.

Fire fighter training.

SPRINGFIELD – A measure introduced by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would begin phasing out toxic PFAS chemicals used in firefighting foam passed the Illinois Senate on Friday.

“Evidence shows that exposure to PFAS can have serious health consequences, including kidney issues and cancer,” Ellman said. “We need to step in now if we want to decrease the public’s exposure, especially firefighters.”

Per-and polyfluoradlkyl substances, frequently called PFAS, are a large group of toxic chemicals that have the ability to repel oil and water, reduce friction, and put out fires. For these reasons, they are especially prevalent in firefighting foam.

There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to negative health effects, like cancer, reproductive issues, and liver and kidney problems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The measure would put Illinois on a path to phase out the production, distribution, sale and use of PFAS in Illinois to protect firefighters from potentially toxic exposure while keeping chemical waste out of landfills and waterways, helping to keep Illinois’ environment healthy.

“The characteristics that allow PFAS to put out fires are also the main environmental problem,” Ellman said. “They break down slowly and are incredibly resilient, which makes them a long-lasting danger to our environment.”

There are more than 100 alternative foams that can be used as viable replacements, and Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York have already banned the use of PFAS chemicals.

Senate Bill 561 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 58-0 and now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.

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District Office
475 River Bend Rd., Suite 500
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone: (630) 601-9961

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M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-8192