With the second half of the spring legislative session scheduled to begin April 30, a number of bills have been approved by the Senate so far, including legislation to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, fund pediatric cancer awareness, and ensure Illinois schools receive property tax money committed to them.
Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The Senate recently passed a bill aimed at preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by putting stricter requirements in place following an investigation of a sudden and unexpected death of a child.
Senate Bill 1568 would require coroners to conduct an autopsy following the investigation, as well as list any environmental factors that may have contributed to the child’s death. The bill would also require the Department of Public Health to publish current data that it receives from coroner reports so that the public has access to reporting concerning SIDS.
Supporters of the bill say that often, even in situations where there are unsafe factors present at the scene where the infant passed, the death is often ruled as SIDS without further investigation. In situations like this, valuable information that could help prevent infant deaths in the future isn’t being gathered.
Illinois resident Ashley Lamps inspired this legislation and now runs a foundation that advocates for SIDS awareness and the use of safe sleep practices. To learn more, visit the Aden Lamps Foundation website.
Senate Bill 1568 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Pediatric cancer research
To increase funding for pediatric cancer research, the Senate passed legislation on April 11 that would authorize the Illinois Department of Human Services to issue a decal for pediatric cancer awareness.
Senate Bill 946 would create the decals, which would have an original issuance fee of $25; with $10 to the awareness fund and $15 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund. The renewal fee would be $25 with $23 to the fund and $2 to the Secretary of State Special License Plate Fund.
The legislation was inspired by a Jersey County family’s struggle with pediatric cancer. Jonny Wade was diagnosed at age seven and passed away in 2015 after bravely battling the disease for nearly a year. His family has continued to advocate for further research in Jonny’s memory.
Senate Bill 946 is currently awaiting further consideration in the House of Representatives.
Ensure schools, taxing districts receive property tax money
Legislation to ensure Illinois schools receive all of the property tax money committed to them through the tax extension process was passed by the Senate on April 12.
Senate Bill 1043 seeks to address the concern that school districts, and other taxing bodies, are losing funding due to refunds issued by county treasurer’s offices for Certificates of Errors and appeal adjustments, both of which are out of the control of the taxing district.
The reduction in a taxing district’s expected levy revenue is a result of the cancellations and abatements administered by the state and county offices. These adjustments, made after a taxing body’s levy is approved and the tax bills are sent, are preventing taxing districts, such as schools, from receiving 100 percent of their publicly approved levy extensions.
Senate Bill 1043 is currently awaiting further consideration in the House of Representatives.
Illinois Monarch Conservation Action Plan
On April 22, celebrated as Earth Day, a coalition of Illinois agencies revealed the Illinois Monarch Project, an Agriculture Action Plan to preserve Monarch butterflies. They also unveiled a new pollinator habitat near the Illinois Department of Agriculture building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Monarch butterflies are important because they help pollinate plants that produce fruit and other foods. More information about the Illinois Monarch Project is available at www.ilagformonarchs.org.
Principal Malahy named Golden Apple winner
The Weaver Team presented a Senate Certificate of Recognition on April 24 to Principal Susan Malahy of Lindbergh Middle School in Peoria.
Principal Malahay is a 2019 Golden Apple winner – one of eight in the state, and the only downstate recipient.
She was nominated by Dr. Jerry Bell of Peoria District 150. The award also came with a “scholarship” for her and her school.
The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth.
Celebrating Eric Turner as he retires
What an honor to celebrate our friend Eric Turner as he is retiring after 24 years of serving on the Peoria City Council.
On April 25, the community gathered to pay tribute to his many years of community service.
I first got to see Eric in action in the late 1980s when he served on the Board of the Youth Farm. He has continued his involvement with good causes ever since, and his many contributions to Peoria would fill a book.
It’s an honor and a privilege to wish Councilman Eric Turner all the best in his retirement!
Weaver Team visits with ICC students
Our Weaver Team recently had the opportunity to visit with students in Professor Joe Chianakas’ Communications class at Illinois Central College in East Peoria. I had a blast doing a mock interview with three of the students. They are all good thinkers and will do well.
The students talked with us about the issues of the day, and their insights and perspectives are unique and impressive. What a great feeling to watch these young people continue to develop into our future leaders, with the help of the faculty, staff and administrators at ICC.