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

BUFFALO GROVE – To help begin to repair Black and Brown communities after nearly a century of housing discrimination, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) has sponsored a measure to give Illinois homeowners a path to remove racist language from their property deeds.

052120210097“Restrictive covenants have a long and painful history in the U.S., and it’s time that we finally rid our systems of the remnants of this racist practice,” Johnson said. “The antiquated language contained in many property records can be offensive and even harmful to today’s communities—homeowners should have an avenue to eliminate it once and for all.”

The legislation would allow individuals, condominium associations, unit owners’ associations and other property owners to remove language for unlawful restrictive covenants from recorded property interests, including deeds to property, by submitting a request to the local county recorder.

Under Johnson’s plan, the recorder could charge a fee of no more than $10 for filing a restrictive covenant modification.

Starting in the 1920s and continuing throughout the mid-20th century, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) actively segregated metropolitan areas, guaranteeing bank loans for the construction and development of suburbs on the condition that the sale of the homes in that suburb be restricted by race. Deeds to these homes also included racial restrictive covenants prohibiting resale of the home to people of a certain race.

In 1948 the Supreme Court deemed all racial restrictive covenants unenforceable. Despite this ruling, developers and realtors continued to include racial restrictive covenants in deeds until 1968, when the FHA outlawed these covenants altogether.

“Racial covenants are no longer enforceable, but the language lingers in many of our property records, potentially encouraging racist sentiments,” Johnson said. “Striking these discriminatory provisions from our records would show we are committed to undoing the historical harms done to Black and Brown communities.”

House Bill 58 passed the Senate Thursday with bipartisan support.

Category: Press Release

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