SPRINGFIELD – To ensure they can more easily prove they’re under an order of protection, Illinois would issue an official card for survivors of domestic violence under a measure sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

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“We must do all we can to protect survivors of domestic violence and provide them with the peace of mind that they are safe,” Morrison said. “Allowing them to have a convenient way to live life with the fullest protection possible is pertinent.”

Under the measure, survivors of domestic violence who have an order of protection would be granted a “Hope Card” to carry as official documentation of the order. The driver’s license-sized, laminated card could be distributed to people who may need to be aware of the order in an easier and more convenient way than traditional paper copies. 

Morrison’s legislation would require the Illinois Supreme Court to implement the Hope Card program for any person under a preliminary order of protection. The card would contain a photograph, case number, active dates of the order of protection and other pertinent information. Survivors would be able to get multiple Hope Cards to pass out to coworkers, teachers and administrators at a child’s school, or anyone else who might need to be aware of the order of protection.

“The Hope Card will equip survivors with a much easier way to communicate their situation with others,” Morrison said. “Passing this measure is showing survivors we see them and we are here to help.”

House Bill 3485 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee Tuesday.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) released the following statement Thursday after an announcement from the Federal Food and Drug Administration that it will ban all menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars:

“In every form, tobacco products are dangerous to human health and can lead to serious, life-long health consequences. Banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars is a crucial step toward curbing young people’s interest in smoking.

“I applaud the Federal Food and Drug Administration for its decision to ban these products, but we can’t stop there. We must work to ban flavored vaping products that lure children into addiction. The creation of sugary flavors has threatened the progress we have made over the last several decades to reduce tobacco usage among young people.”

Senator 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, and is currently leading the “Preventing Youth Vaping Act” through the General Assembly.

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HIGHWOOD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is congratulating dozens of students in the district she represents for being named 2021-22 Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

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“Despite the obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic brought forth, students across the state continued to work hard to make the most of the situation,” Morrison said. “Illinois State Scholar recipients have proven nothing can stand in their way toward a successful educational career.”  

Illinois State Scholar winners rank in approximately the top 10% of the state’s high school seniors from 676 high schools in all 102 counties. Selection is based on a combination of standardized test scores and class rank or unweighted GPA at the end of the student’s junior year. ISAC works in conjunction with the students’ high school guidance counselors to determine the winners.

Students from 10 area high schools receiving the honor -- including Buffalo Grove, Palatine, Rochelle Zell Jewish, Wheeling, Deerfield, Fusion Academy - Lake Forest, Highland Park, Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest and Woodlands Academy.

Recipients of the award will receive a congratulatory letter from ISAC, and a Certificate of Achievement will be sent to their high school. State Scholars will also receive a digital badge issued by ISAC that can be displayed on online profiles, exhibited on social media, and shared with prospective colleges and employers.

“Receiving both college admission and financial aid is a competitive process – one that is made easier by being named an Illinois State Scholar,” Morrison said.  

More information about the State Scholar program can be found at ISAC’s website.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) passed a measure through the Senate Friday that creates an organ donation tax credit for private employers.

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“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.”

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 a 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 tax 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 the gift of life,” 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 now heads to the House for further consideration.

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