ellman from above

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would make the retirement process fairer for many Illinois firefighters passed the State Senate Wednesday.

“This legislation levels the playing field for all of Illinois’ firefighters,” Ellman said. “The current law doesn’t address an oversight that could cause hundreds of firefighters to lose out on time they’ve served when they retire.”

Currently, firefighters outside of Chicago who began work after 2011 are not allowed to purchase service credit after changing employers. This measure would ensure that all firefighters, would be able to purchase service credit if they move to a new employer who is covered by a different fire pension fund.

Members of a pension system earn service credits for time they’ve worked. A purchased service credit is an additional amount of service that pension system participants can purchase – or essentially move from one pension system to another – that can be used to calculate the amount a person will receive when they retire. Many firefighters outside of Chicago can purchase credit when they switch employers, so their service at their prior employer will be factored into their retirement earnings. For example, a firefighter who moves from Peoria to Rockford might purchase their time in Peoria to move it to the Rockford system.

“Our firefighters risk their lives daily,” Ellman said. “They keep our communities safe. We need to make sure they all receive the money they’ve earned and deserve when it comes time for them to retire.”

Senate Bill 167 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 59-0 and now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.

Laura

SPRINGFIELD – A measure introduced by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would reduce PFAS chemicals used in firefighting foam passed committee on Thursday.

“Evidence shows that exposure to PFAS found in firefighting foam can lead to numerous health issues, including cancer and kidney problems,” Ellman said. “We need to act now if we want to reduce the risk to the public, including our firefighters.”

Per - and polyfluoradlkyl substances, commonly 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 to protect firefighters from potentially toxic exposure and keep chemical waste out of landfills and waterways, helping to keep Illinois’ environment healthy.

“The same properties that allow PFAS to put out fires are also what has made them such a problem,” Ellman said. “They’re durable and break down slowly, which makes them a long-lasting danger to our environment.”

Senate Bill 561 passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee with a vote of 10-0 and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration. 

ffs

SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that would make the retirement process fairer for many Illinois firefighters passed committee Wednesday.

“I introduced this measure to level the playing field for all of Illinois’ firefighters,” Ellman said. “The current law does not address a significant oversight that causes hundreds of firefighters to lose out on time they’ve served when it comes time for them to retire.”

Currently, firefighters outside of Chicago who began work after 2011 are not allowed to purchase service credit after changing employers. This measure would ensure that all firefighters, would be able to purchase service credit if they move to a new employer who is covered by a different fire pension fund.

Members of a pension system earn service credits for time they’ve worked. A purchased service credit is an additional amount of service that pension system participants can purchase-or essentially move from one pension system to another-which can be used to calculate the amount a person will receive when they retire. Many firefighters outside of Chicago can purchase credit when they switch employers, so their service at their prior employer will be factored into their retirement earnings. For example, a firefighter who moves from Peoria to Rockford might purchase their time in Peoria to move it to the Rockford system.

“We ask our firefighters to put their lives at risk day in and day out,” Ellman said. “They serve our communities to keep us safe. The least we can do is make sure they all receive the money they’ve earned and deserve when they retire.”

Senate Bill 167 passed the Illinois Senate Pensions Committee with a vote of 9-0 and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Ellman’s (D-Naperville) measure to remove an outdated law that prohibits drinking alcohol on trains, which hasn’t been enforced in nearly a century, was      signed into law on Friday.

“When I learned people have technically been breaking the law by ordering drinks on the Amtrak, I decided it was time to remove that law,” Ellman said. “Responsible adults should be able to legally enjoy these types of drinks on a train, and now they can.”

House Bill 3878 of the 101st General Assembly repeals the Railroad Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1911, which prohibits drinking alcohol on trains and around train stations, and gives conductors the ability to arrest violators and charge them with a Class C misdemeanor.

“Laws that aren’t generally enforced are still laws and technically still can be enforced,” Ellman said. “For years now, many trains have included alcoholic beverages on their menus. Now they won’t technically be breaking a law that was put in place during Prohibition.”

Ellman encourages people to use safe transportation, such as Metra, as an alternative to driving under the influence.

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