03012017CM0381WebPLAINFIELD – Illinois workers will soon have protections in place to help ensure they receive equal pay for equal work.

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is a chief cosponsor on House Bill 834, which addresses the salary gap in Illinois by prohibiting employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their past salary during the interview process. The measure was signed into law on Wednesday.

The legislation amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to include language banning salary history questions during the hiring process.

“In 2019, a worker should not receive a different wage based on any factor not directly related to their qualifications, experience and job performance,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law renews the state’s commitment to policies that promote and ensure pay equity for all of our workers.”

Bertino-Tarrant worked with the sponsor to make the measure more business-friendly. The law will go into effect 60 days after it was signed into law.

The measure was supported by a number of groups, including the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, National Association of Social Workers, Laborer’s International Union and the Illinois National Organization for Women.

Women in Illinois make up almost half the workforce but earn 79 percent of what men earn.

“As other states appear to be moving backward on equal rights, Illinois will continue to move forward to ensure employees are receiving the same pay for the same work,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law will help Illinois end the wage gap.”

The new law goes into effect in 60 days.

02062019CM0116PLAINFIELD – Illinois residents’ genetic testing results will now be protected under a new law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Signed into law on Friday, Bertino-Tarrant’s House Bill 2189 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.

“As genetic testing becomes more popular, it is essential that personal information remain private,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Illinois consumers should have peace of mind that their health information will remain private as they make 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 12 million in 2018.

Last year, an estimated 1 in 25 American adults now have access to personal genetic data. Ancestry.com and 23andMe Inc. alone have sold more than 15 million DNA kits.

“As technology progresses it is vital that laws evolve to protect our interests,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Representative Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) was the lead sponsor in the House.

House Bill 2189 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. The law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

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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