SPRINGFIELD – A long-awaited win for environmentalists, the sweeping energy package that transitions Illinois to 100% clean energy by 2050 garnered support from State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) Wednesday.

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“We are in a climate crisis, and we need a unified response to climate change,” Morrison said. “Today, with the passage of the Energy Transition Act, we are one step closer to a just and equitable transition to clean energy.”

The comprehensive energy plan would set Illinois on a path toward 50% renewable energy by 2040 and 100% renewable energy by 2050. Municipally owned coal- and natural gas-fired power plants would also have to reduce their carbon emissions to zero by 2045.

The measure would require all privately owned large coal to close by 2030, and coal plants owned by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives to close by 2045. All privately owned natural gas plants must either repower to a carbon-free source, like green hydrogen, or close by 2045. The largest municipal coal plant – Prairie State – must close by 2045.

“People are feeling health impacts from coal-burning power plants right now – imagine the sickness and death our grandchildren’s generation would see if we don’t take action now,” Morrison said. “The vote today was a vote for our future. I am proud to support this renewable, reliable and affordable plan.”

Senate Bill 18 passed the Senate Wednesday and heads to the House for further consideration.

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SPRINGFIELD – Families will now receive greater transparency as to what fertility services are and are not offered under their insurance plans thanks to a new law championed by Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

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It comes after conversations with a number of women who lived through issues with infertility and the barriers posed by lack of disclosure in employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

“Infertility is a difficult diagnosis for a family to receive,” Morrison said. “They may assume treatment will be covered, only to find out their insurance plan was written in another state and they’re stuck with sky-high out-of-pocket costs.”

Senate Bill 1905 – which was signed into law Friday – will require employer’s health insurance coverage to disclose a written list of services that are and are not covered if the plan is not written within Illinois.

Under previous Illinois law, fertility treatment – including in vitro fertilization – is required to be covered, but that’s only for policies written within the state. Women could assume they have this coverage because they work in Illinois, only to later learn their plan was written out of state. The new law will disclose what treatment is available up front, so families aren’t blindsided in an already stressful situation.

“We should ensure families know if they will receive the coverage they so desperately long for,” Morrison said.

Senate Bill 1905 takes effect immediately.  

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SPRINGFIELD – A steadfast supporter of keeping tobacco out of the hands of children, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is proud of a newly signed law creating the Preventing Youth Vaping Act.

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“Vaping- and e-cigarette-related deaths and illnesses have become a nationwide outbreak that no user is immune to — no matter how young they are,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “We must continue to change the culture of smoking – especially for younger generations. The Preventing Youth Vaping Act is another step toward keeping these harmful products out of the hands of children.” 

The measure places a number of restrictions on electronic cigarettes, including prohibiting marketing tactics that use images of cartoons or video games that appeal to children. Additionally, it prohibits shops from offering discounts on electronic cigarettes and requires sellers shipping the products to ensure the purchaser is at least 21 years old.

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. After the success of that law, Attorney General Kwame Y. Raoul worked with Morrison to pass Senate Bill 512.

“The need to prevent youth e-cigarette use has never been more urgent, and the Preventing Youth Vaping Act gives us the tools to stop e-cigarette companies from marketing and advertising to minors,” Raoul said. “Our work does not end today. This law is a significant step forward in what must be a comprehensive approach to protecting young people from the dangers of using e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

The Preventing Youth Vaping Act – which takes effect Jan. 1, 2022 – was signed into law Tuesday.

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HIGHWOOD – Patrons of the Deerfield Public Library will soon see an increase of books, videos and CDs thanks to a $26,000 state grant, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) announced Thursday.

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“During a time of increased reliance on technology for work, school and everyday life, libraries have stepped up to meet the challenge while still continuing to provide vital resources for enrichment, education, and much needed entertainment in our communities,” Morrison said.

The $26,881 received by Deerfield Public Library is part of $18.1 million in grants awarded to 638 public libraries across the state. For more than 40 years, the Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grants Program has helped public libraries ensure a minimum level of funding for their services.

Deerfield Public Library will use the grant from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office to supplement its physical and digital collections, including books, videos, and CDs.

"We greatly appreciate the continued support of State Librarian Jesse White and the Illinois Legislature through the annual Per Capita and Equalization Grant awards,” said Deerfield Public Library Director Amy Falasz-Peterson. “These funds are essential for the provision of the dynamic, diverse, and in-demand library collections our community depends on for life-long learning."

For more information on the grants, people can visit the Secretary of State’s website.

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SPRINGFIELD – Survivors of domestic violence will now have an easier and more convenient way to prove they’re under an order of protection under a new law spearheaded by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) signed Friday.

MorrisonPhoto82021“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. “Part of helping them should be making that protection convenient and easily documented.”

Under the new law, 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 shown to people who may need to be aware of the order in an easier and more convenient way than traditional paper copies. 

The new law requires the Illinois Supreme Court to implement the Hope Card program for any person under a preliminary order of protection. The card will contain a photograph, case number, active dates of the order of protection and other pertinent information. Survivors will be able to get multiple copies 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 and help them feel safer,” Morrison said.

House Bill 3485 takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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