Legislators were in Springfield for the final week of the Fall Veto Session, taking action on measures vetoed or changed by the Governor.
A couple measures that were overridden and are now law include legislation that would ensure school counselors are properly licensed and legislation allowing physicians to prescribe experimental treatment for Lyme disease.
House debate over a gubernatorial veto turned ugly on November 27 when State Representative Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora) said she wanted to mix a “broth of Legionella” bacteria to infect the “loved one” of a Republican House member.
State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) had asked about the cost of Senate Bill 2481, sponsored in response to the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, which would raise the cap on damages the state could pay in civil cases.
A cosponsor of Senate Bill 2481, Representative Kifowit responded, “To the representative from Lombard, I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die.”
Representative Kifowit has since apologized.
The Senate voted 46-8 on Nov. 14 to override the veto of Senate Bill 2481, which increases the damage award limit in lawsuits against the state to $2 million, up from $100,000. The House voted 71-36 on November 27 to override the veto, and the legislation is now law.
Fall Veto Session Recap
Illinois now has several new laws following the conclusion of the Fall Veto Session, where the General Assembly overrode measures vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Other measures fell short of the 3/5 majority needed in both the Senate and House of Representatives to override the Governor’s vetoes.
Moreover, Veto Session was not just limited to measures that have been vetoed. The General Assembly also took up legislation for the first time.
Below is a summary of some of the legislation that was taken up this Fall Veto Session:
Tobacco 21 (Senate Bill 2332): Increases the age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21. The motion to override the Governor’s veto passed the Senate 36-19, but failed in the House 62-45.
Regulation of Ride-sharing Companies (Senate Bill 2641): Places more regulations for car and ride-sharing companies and puts them more in line with car rental companies. The motion to override the Governor’s amendatory veto passed the Senate 39-12-3, but was not voted on in the House, which kills the bill.
School Counselor Requirements (House Bill 4514): Allows only licensed school counselors to provide school counseling services to students. Someone hired as a school counselor must be certified and endorsed as a school counselor—with a Master’s degree in school counseling, 600 hours of teaching experience, appropriate casework and service experience and passed the required school counseling examinations. The motion to override the Governor’s amendatory veto passed the Senate 52-0-1 and the House 107-0.
McHenry and Lake County Government Consolidation (House Bill 4637): Provides a referendum process for voters in McHenry County to dissolve townships and have them absorbed by the county. Also requires townships in Lake and McHenry counties to dissolve their township road districts into the county if they maintain less than 15 miles of roads. House Bill 4637 passed the Senate 33-16-3 and the House 78-23-1.
Lyme Disease Prevention and Protection Act (House Bill 4515): Grants medical providers immunity from disciplinary action by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for the experimental treatment of Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases. The motion to override the Governor’s amendatory veto passed the Senate 48-0 and the House 110-0.
Long-term Care Medicaid Eligibility (House Bill 4771): Authorizes the state to pay long-term care benefits for Medicaid applicants if their applications are not processed in a timely manner. The motion to override the Governor’s amendatory veto passed the Senate 54-0 and the House 110-0.
Dangerous toys outlined in annual Safe Shopping Guide
To ensure safe shopping this holiday season, the Illinois Attorney General has released its annual Safe Shopping Guide, which highlights hazardous toys, children’s products and household items that have been recalled over the past year. The guide includes descriptions and photographs of each item.
This year’s recalled products include baby rattles and bath toys that break apart and pose a choking hazard, toy planes and cars that children can choke on, crayon boxes that contain pieces of glass, toys and water bottles that contain unsafe levels of lead paint, and many other items.
The Attorney General notes that while these products may be recalled, families should keep an eye out for them on store shelves, at yard and garage sales, and on secondhand websites such as Craigslist and eBay.
If you have any questions about products included in the guide, please call the Attorney General’s Product Recall Hotline at 1-888-414-7678 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). Current and previous editions of the Safe Shopping Guide can be found here.