SPRINGFIELD – When a child is in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services, they often don’t know where to turn for legal help – despite having court-appointed assistance. However, under a law signed Friday that was championed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest), they will finally have a clearer understanding of their options.

Morrison SB 755

“Our state’s most vulnerable population needs to know they have people who are there to help them every step of the way,” Morrison said. “The last thing foster families and children need during an already high-stress situation is to worry about how to handle their legal proceedings.”

Under the newly signed law, children in the care of DCFS, foster parents, caregivers or caseworkers can request the contact information of the child’s court-appointed guardian ad litem.

A guardian ad litem – or GAL – represents youth in care during court proceedings stemming from allegations a child was abused or neglected. However, of the 18,000 youth in care in Illinois, it is believed many don’t know how to contact their GAL or legal help regarding life-determining decisions.

“GALs play an important role in helping decide if a child should be removed from their family, if there have been sufficient efforts made to reunify a family, and whether parental rights should be terminated,” Morrison said. “Yet so many children and their caregivers don’t know where to turn for this kind of help. Today’s signing will give more of our vulnerable youth a better opportunity for a bright, safe future.”

Senate Bill 755 was signed Friday and takes immediate effect.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) offered the following statement after filing an updated ethics reform bill found within Senate Bill 2909:

"The ethics reform package (SB 539) passed in the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly was a good step in the long overdue task of reforming rules and conduct of those of us who are elected to represent our constituents and make laws in Springfield. While I applaud these efforts, and recognize that this bill is an important beginning, I firmly believe reform measures need to go even further.  We senators and representatives must all be required to look ourselves squarely in the mirror and ask, "Am I acting in an honorable way that will bring trust to this legislative body I have been selected to serve?"

For so many years there has been a blurred line when legislators take official action on matters where they have a conflict of interest.  I am introducing legislation that would require disclosure of a conflict of interest on any legislation brought before the General Assembly, rather than merely suggesting that legislators "should" disclose a conflict, as is currently the case.  My legislation, SB 2909, would mandate that conflicts of interest be made public and that this disclosure be attached to the official record of the bill in question.  

Some of my colleagues may squirm at this proposal, others may say there is no practical way for elected officials to do this. To them, I say, please bring your ideas and concerns to me and let us work together to address the changes that need to be made.

Our constituents who send us to represent them in Springfield deserve nothing less. We must continue to build on the initial ethics bill and restore credibility and trust to those of us honored with the responsibility of representing our neighbors."

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – To ensure people with gluten intolerances aren’t unknowingly consuming gluten in the medications they take, State Senator Julie Morrison’s (D-Lake Forest) proposal to require oral drugs to carry proper warning labels was signed into law.

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“Restaurants and grocery stores have increased their gluten-free offerings and have become far better equipped to properly label and handle items for people with dietary restrictions,” Morrison said. “People with Celiac and other gluten intolerances should feel just as protected when visiting a pharmacy.”

Under the law signed Friday, any prescription or over-the-counter drug that contains gluten but is not labeled as such would be considered misbranded. Because most medications do not contain gluten, consumers are often under the assumption none do unless otherwise specified. Therefore, if a drug does contain gluten and is not accurately labeled, a person with Celiac or other gluten intolerances could take it and be surprised with harmful health issues.

Celiac disease affects nearly three million Americans who must follow a fully gluten-free diet. Many more struggle with gluten sensitivity.

“The law will make it easier and safer for people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to make informed purchases of necessary medications,” Morrison said. “We expect the food we purchase to be properly labeled, so why shouldn’t we expect the same from the medications we take?”

House Bill 279 was signed into law Friday.

 

 

Category: Latest News

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HIGHLAND PARK – Wrapped in photos of Anne Frank, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Harriet Tubman, Simon Wiesenthal, Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks, the Mobile Museum of Tolerance drives across the country with one mission: to teach communities how they can make a difference, much like the changes made by those historical figures.

State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is bringing the traveling museum to Highland Park next week to address the tide of hate people across the country face.

“We’ve seen an increase of hate toward minority communities in Illinois and across the country – and it must stop,” Morrison said. “We need to strive for open dialogue, mutual understanding and positive education within our communities to end this discrimination.”

As an advocate for peace building and conflict resolution, Morrison is partnering with the Mobile Museum of Tolerance to show people how they can combat ill feelings for certain groups. The Mobile Museum of Tolerance seeks to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds, empowering them to raise their voices and combat anti-Semitism, bullying, racism, hate and intolerance and to promote human dignity.

The traveling museum includes a theater with seating and workshops to teach people about a variety of topics, including the evils behind the Holocaust and the fight for civil rights that continues today.

Located in the parking lot of the Highland Park Recreation Center on Park Avenue West, people can visit the Mobile Museum of Tolerance free of charge to learn about topics ranging from the legacy of the Holocaust to the power of ordinary people to create positive change in the community. The bus is open from noon-6 p.m. each day of the week of July 26-30.

“The Mobile Museum of Tolerance is a reminder that each of us can make a difference if we simply work together and learn how to care for one another,” Morrison said. “No matter if you’re 5 or 85, there’s work you can do to become the best ally to your neighbors.”

People with questions about the event can contact Morrison’s office at 847-945-5200.

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