SPRINGFIELD – Community health issues could be better identified, understood and addressed under legislation sponsored by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) to conduct a statewide public health survey.

04212021CM0669“As the past year has shown us, a public health crisis can impact different neighborhoods in vastly different ways,” Johnson said. “As we craft public health policy in the wake of the pandemic, it’s important that we understand each community’s unique needs.”

Johnson’s legislation would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to administer a comprehensive Healthy Illinois Survey every year to study public health and health equity in Illinois.

The survey would gather input from Illinois residents in urban, suburban and rural areas across the state. Survey questions would cover a range of topics, including access to health services, chronic health conditions, diet, mental health, physical activity, substance abuse and more.

Following the survey, the department would be required to make the results available to cities, communities, local health departments and hospitals, and to publish the data on its website broken down by race, ethnicity, gender, age and geography.

The idea for the Healthy Illinois Survey stems from the successful Healthy Chicago Survey, which collects data identifying health concerns in Chicago communities to inform the city’s public health policy.

“Health is a community issue that requires a specialized approach,” Johnson said. “This survey can give us a better idea of how to improve health outcomes across all our neighborhoods.”

House Bill 3504 advanced out of the House in April and passed the Senate with bipartisan support Saturday.

Category: Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – To ensure schools are sensitive to the health and wellness of students of all backgrounds, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) sponsored a plan to permit students to avoid rigorous physical activity during periods of religious fasting, which has been approved by both chambers of the Illinois legislature.

04202021CM0095“Common PE activities like running and playing sports can be particularly exhausting—and even dangerous—when kids are hungry,” Johnson said. “The passage of this bill shows Illinois’ commitment to the health and safety of kids across all our communities.”

The legislation would allow students who are fasting for religious purposes to be excused from physical education activities for the duration of the religious fasting period, if the student’s parents have sent in written notification to the school principal.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset as a form of spiritual discipline. Jewish people traditionally observe Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, with a day-long fast and intensive prayer, and several Christian denominations practice full or partial fasting on certain occasions, including during Lent.

Fasting can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches and dehydration, which may lead to weakness or fainting, especially during exercise.

“Every student deserves to feel supported and comfortable at school,” Johnson said. “A major part of that is allowing them to observe their religious traditions without risking their health.”

House Bill 160 passed the Senate Thursday with bipartisan support.

Category: Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – Property owners’ associations couldn’t stop Illinois households from making the switch to greener energy alternatives under a plan sponsored by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove), which has passed the Senate.

04142021CM03381“Solar panels are one of the best tools we have to make our homes greener and cleaner,” Johnson said. “Homeowners who want to install this technology on their own property shouldn’t have to wrestle with obstacles and delays.”

The legislation would expand the Homeowners’ Energy Policy Statement Act to prevent property owners’ associations from enacting policies that outright or effectively prohibit their members from installing solar energy systems on buildings under 60 feet in height that do not have a shared roof. Currently, the act only covers buildings under 30 feet in height.

Property owners’ associations could still determine the configuration of the solar energy system on a roof, as long as the new configuration does not prohibit installation in any way or limit energy production by more than 10%.

Johnson’s initiative would also shorten the timeline for property owners’ associations to respond to solar energy system installation applications or requests for policy statements, helping reduce delays for individuals looking to install solar panels on their homes.

“Switching to solar energy is better for the planet and our pocketbooks,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to see this legislation advance, opening up the door for more residents to reduce their environmental footprints.”

House Bill 644 passed the Senate Thursday with bipartisan support.

Category: Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – Following a recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to lower the recommended age to start screening for colon and rectal cancers, the Illinois Senate approved legislation sponsored by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) to require insurance companies to cover medically necessary colonoscopies.

052520210014“Preparing for a colonoscopy can be nerve-wracking, but it’s worth the stress: A colonoscopy can detect, or even prevent, cancer,” Johnson said. “Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone who needs this potentially life-saving procedure.”

The legislation would require health insurance companies to cover the cost of a colonoscopy that has been deemed medically necessary after an initial screening. Patients would not be charged a deductible, coinsurance, copayment or other cost-sharing requirement for the procedure.

Last week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force— the leading panel for medical guidance in the U.S.—published a statement lowering the recommended age to start screening for colorectal cancers from 50 to 45.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death for both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. However, if caught early, colorectal cancer has a 90% survival rate.

Not only can a colonoscopy screen for colorectal cancer—it is one of the only screening tests that can actually prevent colon cancer by finding and removing colon polyps before they become cancerous.

“The new official age recommendation is a victory for preventative care advocates—it means more patients will be able to depend on their insurance to cover colonoscopies,” Johnson said. “This legislation takes that expansion one step further, giving patients of all ages the ability to take care of their own health.”

House Bill 2653 passed the Senate Thursday with bipartisan support.

Category: Press Release

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