20180314 KS 3900 RSSPRINGFIELD – To combat the alarming rise of female genital mutilation in the nation, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant passed a measure that would give survivors the means to pursue justice.

Bertino-Tarrant passed House Bill 3498, which removes the statute of limitations for the prosecution for female genital mutilation also known as FGM, if the victim is under 18 years of at the time of the offense.

“Survivors of FGM are often too young to report this horrific crime,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The repercussions of it are lifelong, and so there should be no statute of limitations. This measure will allow them time and assure them that justice does not have an expiration date.”

Under current law, the statute of limitations for FGM is three years, which is the standard for a felony offense. Long thought to be a foreign problem, Bertino-Tarrant stressed that FGM is happening in Illinois. It is estimated that 10,000 to 25,000 women and girls have been cut or are at risk for being cut.

Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and adolescence, and occasionally on adult women.

“This painful and dangerous procedure is often performed at an extremely young age,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to allow young girls to come forward in their own time and allow them to receive the support they need and deserve.”

The measure was supported by the Illinois National Organization for Women.

According to CNN in 2017, currently only 25 states in the nation have laws that make FGM a crime.

House Bill 3498 passed the Senate with unanimous support and now heads back to the House for approval before being sent to the governor.

03012017CM0381WebSPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents’ genetic testing results may be protected soon under a proposal advanced by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed House Bill 2189, which prohibits companies that provide direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing such as ancestry.com and 23andMe, from sharing any test results with health or life insurance companies without the consumer’s consent.

“In the last couple of years, genetic testing has become easily accessible and affordable for local residents,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Will County residents should be able to rest assured that their personal health information will remain private as they make informed decisions to manage their health care.”

The number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy tests more than doubled during 2017 and exceeded to 12 million in 2018. Last year, an estimated 1 in 25 American adults now have access to personal genetic data.

“We have the right and responsibility to ensure personal data is used responsibly,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “As technology evolves it is imperative that laws advance with the needs of the people of Illinois.”

House Bill 2189 passed the Senate with unanimous support and now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

05072019CM0083RSSPRINGFIELD – To help alleviate the teacher shortage in Illinois, the Senate’s Education Chair, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant passed a series of measures on Thursday.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed House Bill 423 with bipartisan support, which places a hold on requiring educators to take a controversial licensing exam.

“This costly test may be ineffective in determining whether an applicant is qualified to teach in our classrooms,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to take some time to evaluate this requirement to ensure we are not deterring qualified teachers from joining the profession.”

The measure eliminates the basic skills exam until July 1, 2025, during which time the Illinois State Board of Education is required to re-evaluate the methods it uses to score a prospective teacher’s knowledge and preparedness and adopt rules for any changes.

Another piece of legislation 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.

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,

Bertino-Tarrant passed House Bill 1472 which allows retired teachers to return to teaching in subject shortage areas without impairing their retirement status.

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03012017CM0381WebSPRINGFIELD – Senate Education Chair Jennifer Bertino Tarrant lead the Senate in declaring May 6 to 10, Teacher Appreciation Week in Illinois.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed Senate Joint Resolution 40 which emphasizes the General Assembly’s gratitude for teachers across Illinois.

“Our teachers are responsible for developing the minds of our future leaders,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Their days do not end when the last school bell rings. Educators across Illinois provide knowledge, support and skills that positively impact students. This week the Senate honors teachers across Illinois for their hard work and dedication to our children.”

In 1985 when the National PTA established Teacher Appreciation Week as the first full week of May.

Senate Joint Resolution 40 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

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