Sewer PlantSPRINGFIELD – A proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) to study chemicals found in wastewater effluent and recommended remediation efforts was signed into law on Friday.

“Clean water is an important environmental and public health issue across the globe,” Morrison said. “In order to ensure we are not producing lasting damage to our fragile ecosystems, it is vitally important to know the level of chemical exposure in our wastewater and what we can do to limit that exposure once it is released into the environment.”

Morrison’s new law, contained in House Bill 5741, requires the Prairie Research Institute to conduct a research study to identify chemicals recognized as contaminants of emerging concern by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in wastewater effluent. The study will also produce recommended actions to address the environmental or public health concerns associated with each chemical.

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State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) toured a suburban facility this week after learning the center was used to house migrant children taken from their families at the border.

While a majority of the residents are unaccompanied minors who crossed the border, the center did take in an unknown number of children separated from their families after the Trump administration ordered the prosecution of every adult who crossed the border illegally.

“Families should never be separated,” Morrison said. “And while the children I witnessed seemed well cared for, it brings no solace that there were children here without their mothers and fathers and extended families because of the actions of the Trump White House and the failure of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

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HumanServicesHearingSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) convened the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday afternoon to seek solutions to the continuing problem of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) youth being held longer than medically necessary in psychiatric hospitals across the state.

“Abused or neglected children with mental health conditions should receive the care they need and transition to an outpatient or residential setting as soon as possible,” Morrison said. “Languishing in a psychiatric hospital can cause affirmative harm for a child. The state must do a much better job caring for these vulnerable children.”

In June, a ProPublica Illinois report analyzed records from the DCFS and found nearly 30 percent of children in the care of the DCFS who were hospitalized were held longer than medically necessary in a psychiatric hospital. The report found of these children, 15 percent had to wait two months or longer.

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babies 081518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois newborns will now be tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) under a proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that was signed into law on Tuesday.

“Medical advancements have made all the difference in treating this horrific disease that affects our youngest children,” Morrison said. “Including testing for SMA in regular newborn screenings will ensure treatment can begin immediately to prevent the disease from progressing and causing life-time harm or even death.”

Morrison’s new law, passed under Senate Bill 456, requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to test for SMA during the newborn screening test. The department is required by the new law to begin testing by 2020 at the latest.

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