13032018KS0485RSSPRINGFIELD –  The General Assembly may soon have a better idea on how to combat the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced a bipartisan measure this week that would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to annually report to the General Assembly on data collected concerning opioid overdose related deaths.

“The national opioid epidemic has affected all of us,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “A major component of combating this issue is ensuring that we have a complete picture of this crisis. This new measure will give us additional information to ensure the General Assembly has every tool available to institute meaningful legislation to overdoses related deaths and fight addiction in our communities.”

DPH would be required to report the data broken down by each county. Bertino-Tarrant believes it is important to localize the data as much as possible to work with local law enforcement, mental health providers and school districts to fight this crisis from every angle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 115 people die every day in the United State of an opioid overdose — about 42,000 in 2016.

“Addiction does not see age, socioeconomic standing or race,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This is a national epidemic that we must work together to fight.  Every life we save is priceless.”

Under House Bill 4331, hospitals must include the age, gender, race and county of residence of each patient that a hospital diagnoses as having an opioid overdose within 48 hours of the diagnosis.

Additionally, in every case in which an opioid overdose is determined to be a contributing factor in a death, a coroner must report the death and the age, gender, race and county of residence of the decedent to DPH.

House Bill 4331 passed the Senate’s Committee on Public Health with bipartisan support.

05072018RT0063 RSSTAUNTON—State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, the new chairwoman of the Illinois Senate Education Committee, continued her statewide “Chalk Talk” tour of schools on Monday at Staunton Community Unit School District 6.

Bertino-Tarrant and local State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) met with members of the District Improvement Team to discuss the teacher shortage faced by many schools in the area.

“For far too long we have been using legislative Band-Aids as solutions to address the teacher shortage across Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to get to the root of the problem to guarantee our children and teachers have the means to be successful.

“Visits and discussions like these help me gain a better understanding of how decisions we make in Springfield impact children and educators throughout the state,” she added.

Bertino-Tarrant and Manar have sponsored measures that would make college more affordable for new teachers, making it easier for retired teachers to fill in as substitute teachers and streamlining the teacher licensure process.

“It’s important that the chair of the Senate Education Committee visits smaller towns and schools in Illinois,” Manar said. “Having Senator Bertino-Tarrant here today is valuable because we live in a diverse state, and it’s important that schools in the 48th Senate District are heard in Springfield.”

Manar and Bertino-Tarrant participated in a group discussion led by Staunton Superintendent Dan Cox to address the challenges facing Staunton schools, such as high class sizes, lack of social emotional supports for students and a lack of core interventions services.

“Senator Manar and Senator Bertino-Tarrant have long been champions for education,” Cox said.  “By them taking the time to visit schools and listen to teachers in the field, it shows their commitment to working with us as partners to build great schools for our young people and our communities.”

Under the new school funding formula championed by Manar and Bertino-Tarrant last year, Staunton Community UnitSchool District 6 schools will receive an additional $421,337 in state funding.  

“In my eighth year as superintendent of schools, this is the first time I have been able to have discussions about how to invest new resources into our schools instead of having discussions about which programs and services to cut,” Cox said.

2018 Pet Expo Flyer d2PLAINFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will once again host her annual free Pet Expo this year.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 12 at Clow Stephens Dog Park (16676 S. Lily Cache Rd, Plainfield).

The Pet Expo provides area residents a free and fun educational event for animal lovers and families.

“As a dog owner, I understand firsthand our pets become part of our families,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I look forward to hosting this event with the Plainfield Park District and to join families and their pets from our community.”

Anyone planning to attend the pet expo is encouraged to bring their pets. There will be a peanut butter licking contest for all interested dogs as well as nail trimming, K-9 officer demonstrations, and dog training demonstrations and tips will be available. Photos of pet owners and animals can also be taken at the event.

Bertino-Tarrant is excited to support the Will County Humane Society with a bake sale and supply drive as well. The Humane Society is in constant need of paper towels, 50-gallon trash bags, Purina Cat and Dog Food (canned and dry), generic cat litter and any-sized KONG pet toys.

For more information please call Bertino-Tarrant’s office at (815) 254-4211 or visit www.SenatorBertinoTarrant.com

Schedule of Events:
9:30 a.m.   Will County Forest Preserve’s  K-9 Police Officer, Jullo, and handler, Officer Dean
10:00 a.m.   Lucky Dog Academy “Rally Course”
10:20 a.m.   Peanut Butter Licking Contest
10:40 a.m.   Lucky Dog Academy “Dog Tricks” and “Teach Your Dog New Tricks”
11:00 a.m.   Shorewood Police Department’s K-9 Officer, Rookie, and handler, Officer John

Throughout event:
Visits from Pampered Puppy, Scout, and Spikes

04252017CM1305rSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) continues to push for proper funding of Illinois’ schools.

A bill she sponsors will continue that effort by prohibiting the diversion of public funds to scholarship tax programs in any calendar year unless the state has appropriated the $300 million in added education funding required annually by the new school funding formula.

“The state has a constitutional responsibility to fund public education, and this will do so without hurting private schools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The state must meet the minimum funding formula before we hand out tax credits to wealthy donors and corporations.”

Bertino-Tarrant introduced the bill in response to a 5-year tax credit scholarship pilot program which allows individuals and companies that donate to private school scholarship organizations to receive tax credits up to 75 percent of the amount donated.

Senate Bill 2236 prohibits those tax credits in any year the minimum funding level is not met. Bertino-Tarrant stressed this bill does not eliminate the Invest in Kids Act, it simply holds legislators accountable and increases transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars for rebates to wealthy donors.

“As a mother, educator and a product of Catholic schools, I am a fierce advocate of giving our children the best possible educational opportunities, but we should not be working toward weakening the infrastructure of public schools across our communities,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This scholarship program, as it stands, is not a tax credit for working families to send their children to private schools – it is designed to incentivize donors.”

Bertino-Tarrant said the General Assembly and the public were not given enough time to consider the merits of the program before a vote last year.

“After five years of negotiations, the Invest in Kids program was rammed into the legislation at the eleventh hour without proper vetting by legislators or the public,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “There is a lack of transparency within the program that doesn’t allow the taxpayers of Illinois to know who is receiving state dollars.”

Credits awarded are capped at $1 million per taxpayer and $75 million statewide, but there is no mechanism that allows the public to see who is receiving taxpayer funded tax credits.

“I will continue to introduce this measure until our schools are properly funded as agreed on in the bipartisan school funding reform,” Bertino-Tarrant said.  “Otherwise children across our state will never see an end to the rampant disparities in school resources and funding we see today.”

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119 B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706 
(217) 782-0052

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Plainfield, IL 60544 
(815) 254-4211
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