040522HAO00424 rNAPERVILLE – Signed into law Monday, legislation by State Senator Laura Ellman and State Representative Janet Yang Rohr on behalf of local students designates Dolostone as Illinois’ official state rock.

“Students played a large part in the designation of our state tree and flower over a century ago, and once again they will play a large part in our state’s history through their work in designating Dolostone as the state rock,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “These exceptional young people went above and beyond to take advantage of this great learning opportunity, and all the students and teachers involved have been true gems.”

House Bill 4261 was brought to the General Assembly by students from Pleasant Dale School in Burr Ridge and Maplebrook Elementary School in Naperville who discovered Illinois did not have a state rock. The students interviewed regional geology scholars, visited museums and carried research to develop a ballot with three choices. They then asked schools across Illinois to vote on a state rock. Dolostone was the winner.

Dolostone is a sedimentary rock that underlies nearly all of Illinois, with the exception of the northernmost part of the state. It helps enrich soil across the state by providing valuable nutrients for plant growth, and caused a major mineral rush in Galena, Ill. in the early 1800s.

In addition to its natural abundance throughout the state, Dolostone plays a significant role in Illinois through its utilization in many important structures. Most notably, 3,300 exterior dolomite stones were used in the construction of the Old Illinois State Capitol. The quarry the stones were sourced from is now under Lake Springfield.

“I was very happy to join with our community's students and teachers to select Dolostone as Illinois’ official state rock," said State Representative Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville), House sponsor of the bill. "Dolostone is the foundation for our former state capitol building, so this is a wonderful way to connect to our state’s past. Working with such a bright group of students served as another reminder that our children deserve the best education possible.”

Dolostone will officially become the state rock of Illinois on Jan. 1, 2023.

Ellman HB 4408SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman (D-Naperville) to make naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, more accessible was signed into law Thursday.

“Opioids are permeating our communities, and people are dying at record rates. By making naloxone more accessible, we can prevent more deaths as we work to address the root of addiction,” Ellman said. “Naloxone saves lives. You can’t put a price on that.”

House Bill 4408 prohibits insurers and Medicaid from charging a copay for naloxone, an opioid suppressant. Naloxone can be lifesaving for people overdosing on opioids, but can often cost up to $140 for two doses.

According to the CDC, more than 100,000 people in the United States died from an opioid overdose in 2020 – and in one out of three cases, a bystander was present who could have saved the person’s life if naloxone had been accessible.

“Naloxone is a safe and effective medication that saves lives. Many of our communities continue to struggle in the midst of the opioid epidemic. It is important that we take steps to meet our friends, neighbors, and family members where they are at,” said State Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park), House sponsor of the bill. “By eliminating the insurance copay on this essential drug, the General Assembly is doing just that.”

The legislation goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.

033122CM0498 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Laura Ellman to collect additional information for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in an effort to strengthen support and care for children in the foster system was signed into law Friday.

“Children should feel safe with their foster families, and when fostering situations change, we have a responsibility to find out why,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “Listening to foster youth and learning about their experiences in their own words is one of the best ways to get answers and improve the system.”

House Bill 4304 requires exit interviews to be conducted within five days of removal for every child age five and older who leaves a foster home. This process is modeled after a similar procedure followed by caseworkers in Florida.

Under current regulations, DCFS caseworkers are involved in the child removal process when requested by the foster home. This legislation lays the groundwork for a formal process to work to ensure caseworkers are gathering important information about each child’s experience in a home upon removal.

Information gathered during these interviews will depend on the age and maturity of the child and the circumstances of the removal request. House Bill 4304 requires the child to be asked if their basic needs were met in the home, if they had access to a caseworker or therapist, if they felt safe and comfortable in the home, and whether or not they felt included by their foster family.

“When there is a request for a child to be removed from a foster home, it’s important that we understand their perspective – not just the foster parents’,” said State Representative Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago), House sponsor and initiator of the bill. “These removals can have a profound impact on the development and life of a child, we have to make sure the process is being handled fairly and correctly. If additional children are going to be placed with a foster parent, it’s critical that we have an informed understanding of their previous care.”

The legislation goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

032322CM0149 rNAPERVILLE – Dedicated license plates will soon be available to more members of Gold Star Families in Illinois thanks to a new law by State Senator Laura Ellman signed on Friday.

“When brave men and women put their lives on the line to defend our country, their families make great sacrifices as well—Gold Star Families sacrificing the most of all,” said Ellman (D-Naperville). “I was proud to partner with dedicated legislators and advocates from across the state to pass this law ensuring all members of Gold Star Families receive the recognition and thanks they so rightfully deserve.”

House Bill 5078 expands the current eligibility list for Gold Star Family license plates to include stepchildren, adopted children and half-siblings of veterans who lost their lives serving in a branch of the United States Armed Forces, and waives the registration fee for children in Gold Star Families.

“There’s no way we can ever repay our debt to the families of Gold Star service members,” said State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora). “But it’s important that we do what we can to show our respect and remember their sacrifice. This legislation will properly align our state law with language used by the Department of Defense, and ensure appropriate individuals receive the recognition they deserve. All of our Gold Star families are in my thoughts – we can never forget them.”

The legislation goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

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