04212021HAO0331SPRINGFIELD – Alex’s Law, a measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) that aims to decrease deaths from opioid overdoses passed the Senate on Saturday. The legislation would ensure that people who seek emergency assistance for an individual experiencing symptoms of an opioid overdose will not be arrested for any crime related to the use of drugs at the scene.

“Saving lives has to be our first priority,” Ellman said. “Fear of criminal charges should never prevent someone from seeking help.”

The idea for the measure came from the death of a 25-year-old Naperville resident, Alex Green, who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2018. Alex had been with others at the time of his overdose, but none of the others on the scene called 911 for assistance. This meant the officers who arrived on scene were not able to identify what had happened until it was too late, despite having Narcan (a medicine used to treat opioid overdoses) with them at the time.

“Had an unknown person who was on hand accompanied Alex into a public business and alerted staff that his friend was overdosing, proper 911 calls may have been made,” said Bill Green, Alex’s father and the original proponent of the legislation. “Friends, strangers and passersby need to know that it’s always safe to help someone in distress, so they may see those they love at least one more day.”

Ellman, Green, and other proponents hope that Alex’s law will lead to more people contacting 911 when others around them suffer an opioid overdose, potentially saving lives.

House Bill 3445 passed the Senate by a 40-16 vote.

BikeDay1SPRINGFIELD – On Saturday, State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) hosted a Bike Day event to remind the local community of how to stay safe while biking.

“Biking is a great way to exercise and travel around the community without relying upon cars,” said Ellman. “However, bicyclists often share the road with drivers, and it’s important to know what to do to stay safe.”

Around 50 bikers stopped by the senator’s booth at the corner of Geneva and County Farm Roads in Winfield. Those stopping by could get water, snacks, and safe biking advice from Senator Ellman and her staff. Others who were not biking also stopped by to speak with the Senator and to learn more about biking in the area.

The Bike Day event took place at a junction in the Illinois Prairie Path, one of America’s first rail-to-trail conversion projects. Portions of the trail follow the historical path of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad, which ran from 1902 to 1959. The corridor now provides part of the 58 miles of walking and bike trails that allow for outdoor enthusiasts to travel to communities such as Elgin, Aurora, Wheaton and as far east as Forest Park.

Ellman hopes the event served to both inform those who stopped by about safe biking practices and allowed locals a chance to meet their senator in a friendly setting.

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.

 

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