Congratulations to David Lewis on his recent Eagle Scout ceremony. It was an honor to be in attendance and to present him with a certificate of recognition for his hard work and dedication. David is one of the outstanding young leaders that makes me confident in our future!
As a member of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, I had the opportunity to present a scholarship check to the members of the Pinckneyville Community High School Fishing Team. Congratulations to these outstanding young students!
REAL ID Law Takes Effect October 1, 2020
I want to remind everyone that beginning October 1, 2020, a federal REAL ID or a valid U.S. passport will be necessary for those who fly domestically or enter federal facilities. Citizens can apply for a REAL ID through the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. The REAL ID Act is a federal law by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, designed to make identification cards more secure and harder to duplicate. For more information on obtaining a REAL ID, please visit https://realid.ilsos.gov/
Combating Illinois’ opioid crisis
For nearly two years now, Illinois has been working to implement the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan (SOAP) to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths. The Senate's Special Committee on Opioid Crisis Abatement learned during a hearing Oct. 21 that there is some improvement.
Jenny Epstein, Director of Strategic Opioid Initiatives at the Illinois Department of Public Health, told Senators that deaths from opioid overdoses decreased in 2018 for the first time in five years, from 2,202 in 2017 to 2,167 last year.
Epstein said there are three "pillars" to the SOAP program: Prevention, Treatment, and Response. Prevention includes safer prescribing and dispensing of prescription opioids and better access to information about the effects of opioid addiction. Treatment involves improved access to care for the addicted. The Response part of the plan involves increasing the number of first responders and community members who are trained and have access to naloxone, also known by the generic name of Narcan, an effective antidote that can immediately reverse the effects of an overdose.
The effort to address opioid addiction was begun in 2017 by then-Governor Bruce Rauner, who issued an Executive Order creating the Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force, which was asked to develop, approve, and implement a comprehensive Opioid Action Plan.
The latest edition of the SOAP report is available at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/publications/final-soap-implementation-report.pdf
Illinois offers duel credit endorsement for teachers, and students benefit too
In an effort to support the rapidly growing number of students earning college credit while in high school, the state is now offering opportunities for qualified high school dual credit teachers to seek a special endorsement on their Professional Educator License.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) announced Oct. 23 the endorsement will help meet the growing demand for dual credit teachers as more and more students seek to earn college credit while in high school.
Dual credit courses allow academically qualified high school students to enroll in a college-level course, and upon successful course completion, earn both college credit and high school credit at the same time.
According to the ISBE, participation in dual credit courses is growing. Illinois students in the 10th through 12th grades took more than 165,000 dual credit courses from 2016 to 2018. Enrollment in dual credit courses also increased by more than 3,000 courses between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years.
Teachers interested in applying for the endorsement can learn more at http;//www.isbe.net/Pages/Dual-Credit-Endorsements.aspx.
Veto Session 2019
The first week of the two-week fall Veto Session is set for Oct. 28-30. There are a total of eight legislative measures, which received total or partial vetoes by the Governor following the spring legislative session. Issues include the Affordable Care Act, education, and gambling.
The second week of Veto Session is scheduled for Nov. 12-14.