SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) to protect children from the harmful effects of pesticides passed the Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday.

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“Children are at higher risk for health effects from exposure to pesticides than adults because their nervous, immune, digestive and other systems are still developing, making them far less able to purge these pollutants compared to adults,” Morrison said.

The legislation would make it illegal to use restricted pesticides within 500 feet of a school during normal school hours when children are present. It comes following complaints that pesticides such as Dicamba and Chlorpyrifos can be harmful to both the environment and public health.

Senate Bill 2245 now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is sponsoring a bill that creates an organ donation tax credit for private employers.

“Organ donors transform lives and reshape futures through selfless acts,” Morrison said. “I’m hopeful this measure will encourage more people to participate in the generous act they feel they have been called to do.”

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The measure creates an optional organ donation tax credit for private employers. The credit is applicable if the employer allows its employees the option to take paid leave of absence for a minimum of 30 days for serving as an organ or bone marrow donor.

Employers can receive a credit equal to the amount of withholding payments due with respect to wages paid while an employee is on leave. That amount, however, cannot exceed $1,000 for each employee who takes an organ donation leave.

In 2018, 3,402 people in Illinois were candidates for a kidney transplant, but by the end of the year, only 798 people received a transplant. Encouraging living donors is key toward ensuring more people who need the lifesaving surgery receive it.

“Would-be donors face many challenges and barriers that keep them from giving a lifesaving gift,” Morrison said. “We must do all we can to increase the number of living donors in Illinois – and this is a great first step.”

More than a dozen states already have organ or bone marrow donor leave policies.

Senate Bill 1918 passed the Senate Revenue Committee Wednesday. It now heads to the floor for further consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – A steadfast supporter of keeping tobacco out of the hands of children, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) passed the Preventing Youth Vaping Act through committee Wednesday.

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“Vaping- and e-cigarette-related deaths and illnesses have become a nationwide outbreak that no user is immune to — no matter how young they are,” Morrison said. “We were doing so well on changing the culture of smoking, and now we have gone backward — especially the younger generation.”

The measure would place a number of restrictions on electronic cigarettes, including prohibiting marketing tactics that use images of cartoons or video games that appeal to children. Additionally, it prohibits shops from offering discounts on electronic cigarettes and requires sellers shipping the products to ensure the purchaser is at least 21 years old.

“It’s common sense that if it’s illegal to sell these products to kids, it should be illegal to market to them,” Morrison said. “I hope the Illinois General Assembly can come to an agreement on a bill that will keep these products out of the hands of children.”

Morrison has been an advocate for putting an end to tobacco use in teens since entering the General Assembly. In 2019, she successfully passed a law that increases the age to legally purchase tobacco to 21.

Senate Bill 512 passed the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD –To prevent poor dental health among children and teens that can cause lifelong health consequences, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is sponsoring a bill to allow preventative dental services within schools.

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“Routine dental care isn’t just about appearance – it’s about overall health and well-being that can affect every part of a child’s life,” Morrison said. “It’s time we treat dental care like other preventative health care.”

Under the measure, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services could put in place a school-based dental program that would allow out-of-office preventative services – like teeth cleanings.

About 20% of children between the ages of 5 and 11, and about 13% of those between 12 and 19, have at least one untreated cavity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who have poor oral health also often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.

“The best way to keep teeth healthy is through preventative dental care – but not every person has the means to go the dentist routinely,” Morrison said.

Senate Bill 346 passed the Senate Health Committee Tuesday. It now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

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