JBT4PLAINFIELD – Illinois parents, school counselors and teachers will have additional resources to help students struggling with mental and emotional issues, thanks to a law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is a chief-cosponsor of House Bill 907, which requires the Department of Human Services to maintain a resources page on its website with mental health resources related to bullying and school shootings to ensure this information is readily available. It was signed into law on July 12, 2019.

“Mental stresses affect all of us,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Parents, educators and school counselors need to be equipped with the tools to help students develop life-long skills to combat and deal with mental illness in a healthy way.” 

DHS’s current website does not contain information directly targeted at teachers, parents, or school counselors regarding bullying and school shootings.

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05092019CM0885PLAINFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, House Bill 2605, will make it easier for speech pathologists to practice in Illinois schools by eliminating a redundant state certification requirement. The measure was signed into law on Friday.

“This new law streamlines the process for qualified speech pathologists to practice in our schools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Speech pathologists undergo intensive educational programs and thorough testing, and we know they are qualified without yet another unnecessary certification.”

House Bill 2605 is an initiative of the Illinois Speech Language Hearing.

Schools across the nation are struggling to find speech language pathologists to work in schools, due in part to the limited number of openings in graduate programs and the increased need as the profession’s scope of practice increases and symptoms of autism are better detected.

According to the Illinois Educator Supply and Demand Report, in 2017 there were 124 unfilled non-teaching speech language pathologist positions.

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02062019CM0116PLAINFIELD –State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant is working to make insulin more affordable for Will County residents.

Bertino-Tarrant (Shorewood) is a chief cosponsor of Senate Bill 667, which caps the out-of-pocket costs for patients to $100 for a thirty-day supply of prescription insulin.

“Insulin is a life-saving prescription drug,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is outrageous that drug manufacturers are often placing profit before people. If they are going to utilize greedy profit schemes to make money off of this crucial medication, it is time for the state to intervene.”

People with Type 1 and some with Type 2 diabetes need the medication, but regular price hikes make insulin difficult to afford for the uninsured and those whose coverage requires significant cost sharing.

Senate Bill 667 also directs the Attorney General's office to investigate reasons for rising prescription insulin costs to ensure sufficient consumer protections. The Attorney General's office will issue a one-time report detailing its findings and make public policy recommendations for controlling and preventing overpricing of prescription insulin.

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03012017CM0381WebPLAINFIELD – Illinois now has a new law in place to help address the teacher shortage by allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom without coming out of retirement, thanks to Illinois Senate Education Chair Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant’s championed House Bill 1472, which addresses findings that 89 percent of Central Illinois districts and 92 percent of Southern Illinois districts have issues with staffing teaching positions with qualified candidates. The law was signed on Friday.

“Our retired teachers should not be penalized for returning to classrooms to help our school districts meet their needs,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We want teachers in our classrooms with experience in the profession to help ensure our children are receiving a strong education.”

Some districts are turning to substitute teachers while looking for permanent teachers. To help ease unnecessary stipulations on retired teachers looking to fill these substitute roles, House Bill 1472 will allow retired teachers to return to teaching in subject areas with teacher shortages without jeopardizing their retirement status. This measure is extending the current provision for two years.

Bertino-Tarrant is leading the way to help alleviate the effects of substitute and full-time teacher shortages in Illinois. This nationwide epidemic is resulting in more school districts turning to retirees to lead classrooms for long periods of times. It’s unclear how many open positions statewide are being filled by long-term substitute teachers.

“School districts across the state continue to struggle to fill long-term positions at schools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “There are reliable and experienced retired teachers who are helping administrators fill in the gaps to ensure students are not losing out on educational opportunities.”

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