JBT caffeine020315SPRINGFIELD— Last year, 18-year-old Logan Stiner of Ohio died from a caffeine powder overdose.

According to local reports, Stiner was found by his brother, collapsed on the floor of his home. The same day his brother found him, his mother discovered several bags of caffeine powder in their house. Sadly, Stiner, a popular student-athlete, was one week away from graduating from high school.

The County Coroner’s report said that Stiner suffered cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure as a result of ingesting toxic amounts of caffeine. One teaspoon of the powder is equal to drinking approximately 25 cups of coffee.

In order to prevent a tragedy like Stiner’s from occurring in Illinois, Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) secured Senate passage today of legislation that would make it illegal for toxic caffeine powder to be sold to anyone under age 18.

“Powdered caffeine is dangerous because the substance is nearly 100 percent pure caffeine and difficult to measure with common kitchen tools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “My legislation is a proactive approach to prevent minors from being able to use a substance that, by simple mistake, could be deadly.”

Bertino-Tarrant’s legislation, Senate Bill 9, now advances to the Illinois House.

jbt tchr isbeSPRINGFIELD— State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed legislation today that would require three members of the State Board of Education to be representatives of the educator community.

State law does not currently require any appointees to the State Board of Education to be educators.

This would change under Sen. Bertino-Tarrant’s proposal. Her plan comes at a time when local schools are being overburdened by unfunded mandates that force them to do more with less.

“The State Board of Education plays an important role in how our state’s education system operates,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The people who teach students and serve in management positions have the experience to help improve education in Illinois, and their voices need to be heard on the board.”

Under Senate Bill 1506, the appointed educators will be from different regions in the state.

The State Board of Education helps oversee public schools from preschool through grade 12 and adult and vocational schools.

Senate Bill 1506 is an initiative of Vision 20/20, an organization made up of school administrators, superintendents and school boards.

Senate Bill 1506 now advances to the Illinois House for consideration.

Visiting McBeth Learning CenterPlainfield, Illinois- Local law-enforcement leaders expressed strong support for preschool efforts during a visit to a state-funded prekindergarten program at Bonnie McBeth Learning Center in Plainfield today. They were joined by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Representative Mark Batinick in reading to a classroom of young children.

State leaders should protect and bolster high-quality preschool as a critical strategy for reducing crime, lowering prison costs and saving taxpayers money, said Elwood Police Chief Fred Hayes, who is also the President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.  Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek and Shorewood Police Chief Aaron Klima agreed.

"Public safety starts with good law enforcement, and we work hard every day to keep our streets safe," Chief Konopek said.   "But there is no question that the best way to fight crime is to do whatever it takes to ensure today's children do not grow-up to become tomorrow's criminal statistics."

"Today's four-year-olds are the future of our communities," added Chief Klima.  "If we're serious about solving the crime problem, we've got to be serious about giving kids the skills they need to grow up to be productive, law-abiding adults-- starting with quality preschool."

Pointing to evidence that preschool prevents future violent crimes and saves taxpayer dollars, the law-enforcement leaders commended Governor Rauner for requesting a $25 million increase in the state preschool budget for Fiscal Year 2016 and urged the General Assembly to add to it. A $50 million boost to the Early Childhood Block Grant would help Illinois leverage important federal-grant dollars newly designated for Illinois and focus intensive help on some of the state's highest-need 4-year-olds.

"The old expression holds that crime doesn't pay. But like it or not, we all pay the costs for crime," Chief Hayes said. "High quality preschool helps us prevent crimes and save money, paying now to avoid paying much greater costs later."

Repeated cuts in funding already have taken preschool services from almost 600 young children in Will and Kendall Counties. Across the state, more than 20,000 children- 3 ·and 4 years old­ have lost access to state-supported preschools like that-at Bonnie McBeth Learning Center.

There remain more than 10,000 Will and Kendall County kids, 3 and 4 years old, whose families cannot afford to pay for such high-quality preschool help on their own.  Failing to help them means that everyone else pays more in various ways, ranging from prison expenses to the many costs associated with violent crimes.

Law enforcement's experience reflects the rigorous research that supports the value of preschool.

Michigan's Perry Preschool study tracked at-risk children who attended the program and similar children who did not.  By age 27, non-participants were five times more likely to have been arrested for drug felonies and twice as likely as former preschool students to have been arrested for violent crimes. By age 40, non-participants were 85 percent more likely than their preschool peers to have been sentenced to prison or jail.

A similar study of Chicago's publicly funded Child-Parent Centers found that kids left-out of that preschool program were 27 percent more likely to have been arrested by age 28 than those who had participated.

Chief Hayes, Chiefs Konopek, and Chief Klima are among 300 members of FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN Kms ILLINOIS, the state office of a national, non-profit, bipartisan, anti-crime organization  of more  than  5,000 police  chiefs,  sheriffs, prosecutors,  leaders of law enforcement organizations,  and victims  of crime.

5 2 Legislative Town HallPLAINFIELD— Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will be rescheduling tonight’s legislative town hall meeting due to the severe weather forecast.

Bertino-Tarrant’s rescheduled legislative town hall meeting will be held at the Plainfield Fire Protection District (23748 W. 135th Street, Plainfield, IL) on Saturday, May 2, at 10:00 a.m.

If you have questions about tonight’s cancellation or the rescheduled legislative town hall meeting, please contact Bertino-Tarrant’s Plainfield office at 815-254-4211 or email bertinotarrant49@att.net.

Rescheduled Legislative Town Hall Meeting

Date: Saturday, May 2, 2015

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: Plainfield Fire Protection District

               23748 W. 135th Street, Plainfield, IL

               Plainfield, IL 60585

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