SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Julie Morrison was pleased to see the governor sign a new state law allowing the Department of Human Services to facilitate mental health first aid training programs for people like teachers, librarians and pastors who spend a great deal of time working with the public.

These programs train people on how to recognize the early warning signs of mental health and substance abuse disorders and crises.

“Catching a mental health problem or substance abuse disorder early can save its victim years of anguish,” Morrison said. “A respected leader like a teacher or minister can help d

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041113br0770WState Senator Julie Morrison co-sponsored several new laws that will help encourage teenagers to make good health choices by making it more difficult to start unhealthy habits. The new laws:

- Prohibit children and teenagers from buying e-cigarettes

- Prohibit children and teenagers from using commercial tanning beds

- Create a task force to confront the problem of teen heroin use

“It’s our job as parents and community members to encourage young people to make good decisions about their future,” Morrison said. “Kids who start smoking or tanning before they are adults are more likely to end up with cancer, but many of them are too young to understand the long-term consequences of these dangerous choices.”

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A new state law, co-sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison, will help prevent distracted driving by keeping cell phones out of people’s hands. The law does not prohibit using a hands-free device to make or answer a call.

“Every year, thousands of people die in car crashes caused by distracted drivers,” Morrison said. “Keeping people’s hands on the wheel will help save lives.”

The new law prohibits using a phone without a hands-free device, which can either be a speakerphone system or a headset. Pressing a single button to activate a voice-operated system or answer the phone is also permitted.

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022713br0333WDEERFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison will ensure that the public and the press know when a company, political group or nonprofit is lobbying the government.

“Like it or not, lobbyists have become part of our political system,” the Deerfield Democrat said. “The people deserve to know which companies are trying to influence our laws and who they hire to do it.”

Current law requires lobbyists to disclose who hires them. However, there’s a loophole that many companies use to skirt the law. Companies will hire one person as their lobbyist, and then that person will subcontract out to others to do the actual work – sometimes as many as dozens of other people. Those subcontractors only have to list the person who hired them, not the company they are actually lobbying for.

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