Ellman SB561NAPERVILLE – Illinois will begin phasing out toxic PFAS chemicals used in firefighting foam under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that was signed into law on Friday.

“PFAS exposure has been shown to have serious health consequences, including kidney issues and cancer,” Ellman said. “We need to act if we wish 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.

“Reducing harmful forever chemicals is necessary for protecting our health and the environment,” said State Representative Anna Moeller (D-Elgin), the House sponsor of the law. “I am happy to be part of a solution that will phase out these toxic substances being used in firefighting foam."

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 is effective immediately.

llNAPERVILLE – State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) has been selected to be part of the ninth annual Edgar Fellows Program out of a pool of 187 nominees from all levels of government, nonprofit organizations, and the business world.

“The names of those chosen as this year’s Edgar Fellows have been released, and I am incredibly honored to be among them,” Ellman said. “I look forward to experiencing the program with this class, and I expect to learn a lot.”

The fellows gathered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Aug. 1 through Aug. 5 for an intense executive training program featuring more than two dozen policy experts and experienced practitioners. There, fellows had the opportunity to learn from each other in discussions of issues like workforce development, climate change, public safety, disaster planning and intergovernmental cooperation.

The Edgar Fellows Program is an initiative designed by former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs to inspire respectful and collaborative leadership to address the state's major challenges.

Senator Ellman is one of 40 participants selected for the program this year.

More information about the Edgar Fellows Program is available here.

Ellman HB741SPRINGFIELD – Students will be allowed to use 529 college savings accounts for other education-related purposes without additional taxation under a new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that was signed into law Friday.

“This law reflects the realities of modern-day higher education by allowing college savings plans to be used in more flexible ways,” Ellman said. “Loans and job-training programs are essential to students’ education, and they need to be able to use their savings plans to pay for them.”

A qualified tuition plan, also known as a 529 plan, is a type of savings account used for spending related to a child’s education. Savings in 529 accounts can be withdrawn tax-free for certain educational expenses. The new law allows a person to use up to $10,000 from their 529 savings account for additional education-related purposes without being taxed, making Illinois law consistent with federal law.

These funds can now be used:

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

“Every student in Illinois deserves a chance to succeed and decide their future,” Ellman said. “This law gives students more opportunities to achieve success in their education.”

House Bill 741 is effective immediately.

aAssistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes and Senator Laura Ellman co-hosted a free Mental Wellness Fair at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville this week. More than two dozen people attended to talk with a range of organizations providing resources for people with all issues and different needs.

“This past year was tough on many of us,” Holmes said. “It is essential that we help provide our community with information about how to address their mental health needs and find tools to make adjustments in their lives for the better.”

Organizations present for the event provide services for children and families and address issues such as substance abuse and domestic violence.

“It is vitally important that people have access to mental health services,” Ellman said. “I am grateful that our event helped connect members of our community with incredible organizations offering helpful and life-saving resources.”

The senators expressed their gratitude to those who helped connect participants with needed services.

  • 360 Youth: provide counseling and housing for youth experiencing homelessness with a focus on LGBTQ+ youth, provide rapid rehousing program in DuPage County
  • Connect For Life: operated by Naperville Police, aims to reduce the impact of addiction
  • Family Focus: provides family support services including but not limited to early childhood home visits, group sessions, more
  • Linden Oaks Behavioral Health: provide behavioral and mental health services, inpatient and outpatient treatment plus recovery programs
  • Metropolitan Family Services: provide and mobilize services needed to strengthen families and communities
  • Mutual Ground: Aurora-based organization serving victims of sexual and domestic violence, counseling residential services and a 24-hour hotline
  • NAMI DuPage: provide support, advocacy and education to improve the quality of life of individuals with mental illnesses and their families
  • Samara Care: Chicagoland area counseling services to anyone regardless of ability to pay
  • Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s Office: information on federally funded health and mental health programs
  • IL Department of Human Services
  • Will County Office of Substance Use Initiative

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