SPRINGFIELD – Following through on her commitment to provide greater accessibility for all Illinois voters, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) passed a bill out of the Senate to allow people with certain disabilities to vote electronically.

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“While we have expanded vote by mail in many ways, we have yet to provide the same opportunities to voters who cannot read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive or learning disability,” Morrison said.

The measure would allow voters with a print disability to receive and mark their ballot electronically on an assistive device. It would be printed, sealed and signed before being returned through the mail. The voting procedure would be in place for the November 2022 General Election, and all subsequent elections.

“Equal access at the voting box is a keystone to our democracy,” Morrison said. “The inclusion of this process into state law will provide safe, private and equal voting opportunities for voters.”

Senate Bill 829 passed the Senate Thursday.

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SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) advanced a bipartisan measure out of the Senate to make units of local government more accountable, efficient and transparent.

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Under Morrison‘s measure – the Decennial Committees on Local Government Consolidation and Efficiency Act – units of local government would be required to review and report at least once every 10 years ways in which they can improve efficiency.

“With approximately 7,000 units of local taxpayer funded governments, it is time for these government bodies to be evaluated for efficiency and accountability,” Morrison said. “Our communities have evolved over the decades and taxpayers deserve accountability.  If you cannot justify your existence to those who fund you, you should turn off the lights, turn in your keys, and save the taxpayers their money.”

This measure requires three public meetings which would accept input from local residents. Each local government – except municipalities, counties and schools – would collect data, research, analysis, and public input regarding governing statutes, ordinances, shared services, and intergovernmental agreements, among other items. It would then be tasked with creating a report with recommendations regarding efficiencies and increased accountability.

Senate Bill 3789 passed the Senate Thursday with bipartisan support. 

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SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is leading a commonsense measure through the Senate to ensure patient-on-patient abuse is reported to law enforcement.

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“Any instance of mental, physical or sexual misconduct must be taken seriously and reported immediately,” Morrison said. “Oftentimes, patients cannot advocate for themselves – so they need staff to step up and advocate for help on their behalf.”

Morrison’s proposal requires hospital staff to report to law enforcement and the Illinois Department of Public Health if a patient abuses another patient. Currently, only abuse committed by a staff member of a health care facility must be reported.

Morrison’s proposal comes following a ProPublica report that found a patient at a Chicago-based psychiatric ward sexually assaulted another patient but was not reported to the police for several week.

To ensure patients are given the same protections against other patients as they are against hospital staff, Morrison is leading the charge to update the Hospital Licensing Act to include patient-on-patient abuse as misconduct that must be immediately reported.

“Patients are already struggling with illness and trauma – the last thing they need is to feel unheard or unprotected,” Morrison said. “It’s disheartening this isn’t already law – but I’m hopeful this is the year that changes.”

Senate Bill 2977 passed the Senate Wednesday.   

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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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