SPRINGFIELD – Spouses of people in Medicaid-funded long-term care facilities could soon be able to keep more of their own personal savings thanks to a measure sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

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“By aligning Illinois’ allowance for community spouses with the rest of the country, we are signaling to older adults that we care for them and wish to give them the ability to care for themselves and their spouse with no added stress,” Morrison said.

Morrison’s measure would put Illinois in line with nearly every other state in the nation by increasing the allowance for the community spouse resource allowance for older adults whose spouses are in nursing homes and receiving Medicaid benefits. The allowance is the amount of resources a spouse can keep of the couple’s resources without affecting their husband or wife’s long-term care facility nursing home application.

In 2012, Illinois froze its rates for spouses of individuals who receive Medicaid-funded, long-term care at $2,739 per month, so those spouses are not receiving an annual bump in their benefits. However, in many other states across the country, the amount is set at $3,259.

Senate Bill 2962 passed the Senate Wednesday.

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SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) advanced a bill to include community service as a possible punishment if a person speeds in a school zone or illegally passes a stopped school bus with its stop arm extended.

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“Children taking the bus to school should be worried about their schoolwork, not worried about reckless drivers,” Morrison said. “This measure will further deter folks from speeding or passing school buses and really reflect on how their actions could harm members of their community.”

Morrison is a longtime advocate of transportation safety. She previously added community service as a possible punishment for violations of Scott’s Law, which requires that drivers reduce speeds and change lanes for emergency vehicles. She hopes that her latest measure will emphasize the importance of driving safely around school buses to keep children and bus drivers out of harm’s way.

Currently, people who speed in school zones or pass stopped school busses must pay fines ranging from $150 to $1,000, depending on the frequency of their violations. Morrison hopes this initiative will further deter people from violating these regulations.  

Senate Bill 3793 passed the Senate Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.  

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) continues her longstanding efforts to make the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services a more effective agency with the introduction of a number of bills that will further protect our state's most vulnerable population.


020822HAO00235"As a senator, one of my top priorities has been, and always will be, protecting our at-risk youth and providing them with opportunities to help their futures soar," Morrison said. "These two pieces of legislation, along with others in my legislative package, will provide additional tools that will strengthen the ability of DCFS to help those in its care."

Senate Bill 3747 provides that all children under the age of five in the child welfare system would be eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps provide financial assistance for quality child care. Additionally, infants and toddlers in the care of DCFS would automatically be eligible for the state's Early Intervention Program, supporting families in promoting their child's development.

Senate Bill 3853 provides families who receive Extended Family Support services from DCFS with additional resources. The measure includes broader "wraparound" case management services, home visiting services for caregivers of children under five, and more.

"We owe it to the children and families who rely on DCFS to do everything in our power to keep them safe and give them the best services we are able to provide," Morrison said. "While there is much more work to be done, these measures are a step in the right direction."

The two bills, part of a more comprehensive legislative package introduced by Morrison, passed the Illinois Senate Health Committee Tuesday and head to the full Senate for further consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) championed a law signed Friday to divert the state’s vulnerable youth from juvenile justice systems or the Department of Children and Family Services’ care, while working to keep families together. 

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“Providing immediate on-site crisis intervention for vulnerable youth can be the difference between a spending their young life in a loving home or in the juvenile justice system,” Morrison. “This is an already successful program that we can take further advantage of to ensure children get the help and support they need.”

The law allows child welfare agencies under the Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Service Program to be licensed as host homes. When an issue with a child occurs, they can be temporarily removed from their household to receive the intervention they need. Giving vulnerable youth ages 11-17 the opportunity to get temporary assistance leads them to reunification with their families rather than being placed in the care of DCFS or becoming part of the juvenile justice system.

Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Service Programs – or CCYBS – designate community-based services to provide immediate crisis intervention programs to children who are homeless without parents, beyond control of their parents, have run away from home, have been locked out of their homes or are at risk of involvement with the child welfare or juvenile justice system.

CCYBS’ offer resources to ensure the safety of children, provide placement services and work with families on reunification – among other services – that can help get at-risk youth on the right track.

“Our top priority is ensuring we keep children in healthy, safe environments that will allow them to grow and prosper,” Morrison said. “By providing support, assistance and education to teens and their parents alike, we are helping them build positive family dynamics.”

House Bill 692 was signed into law Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.

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