SPRINGFIELD – School districts could move forward from the pandemic without worrying about funding cuts due to temporary low enrollment under a measure sponsored by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove), which has passed both chambers of the Illinois legislature.

04212021CM0669“Our teachers and administrators worked overtime to adapt to remote and hybrid learning during the COVID-19 crisis,” Johnson said. “To cut their funding now would be to pull the rug out from under them just when they are beginning to recover.”

Currently, the school funding formula uses average student enrollment over the previous three school years to determine the amount of money districts receive. To lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools’ budgets, Johnson’s legislation would allow school districts to calculate their average student enrollment based on pre-COVID levels.

Under the measure, districts could choose to use attendance records from the 2019-20 or the 2020-21 school year, whichever is greater, in their funding formulas to ensure they don’t lose out on crucial dollars as a result of the temporary drop in attendance some schools experienced during the pandemic.

“For many kids, school was a lifeline to the outside world during the pandemic,” Johnson said. “It’s important that our districts don’t miss out on a single cent as they make the transition back to the classroom.”

Senate Bill 813, an initiative of Waukegan School District #60, passed the Senate in April with bipartisan support and advanced out of the House Thursday with a vote of 75-39.

Category: Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – In a victory for northern Illinoisans with mental illnesses and their families, a plan proposed by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) to eliminate barriers to mental health care access has passed both houses of the Illinois government.

04142021CM03381“For many patients, being able to stay connected with loved ones during care can mean a faster recovery and a smoother transition to life after treatment,” Johnson said. “The passage of this measure is great news for northern Illinois residents, who will now be able to receive care at a location that’s more convenient for them and their families.”

The legislation would create the Interstate Contracts for Mental Health Disorder Treatment Act, allowing Illinois and Wisconsin residents who are involuntarily admitted for inpatient treatment of a mental health disorder to be treated at private facilities across state lines.

For residents who live near the border of Illinois and Wisconsin, the closest qualified hospital or facility is often not in their home state. However, current law prohibits residents from being committed for mental health conditions outside the state, meaning that these residents must undergo treatment hours from family and loved ones.

Similar collaborative arrangements have been successfully enacted in Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota, which allow providers in these states to accept patients from Wisconsin for mental health treatment.

“Expanding access to mental health treatment means making it easier for people to receive care that fits their needs,” Johnson said. “Part of that is allowing patients to seek treatment within their own communities.”

Senate Bill 1966 passed the House and Senate with unanimous support.

Category: Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – To ensure someone’s past doesn’t prevent them from pursuing a brighter future, State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) has sponsored a measure to prohibit life insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing rates because an individual has undergone treatment for substance abuse.

051920210791“Getting help for a substance abuse disorder takes a lot of grit and determination—recovery should be celebrated,” Johnson said. “If you’ve put in the hard work to get clean, your insurance company shouldn’t hold that against you.”

Johnson’s plan would prohibit a life insurance company from denying or limiting coverage or charging higher rates based solely on whether an individual has participated in a substance use treatment or recovery support program more than five years prior to application.

Insurance companies would also be prohibited from discriminating based on whether the applicant has previously been prescribed an opioid antagonist such as Narcan or Naloxone.

“Making the tough decision to undergo treatment for an addiction shows a real commitment to one’s health and well-being,” Johnson said. “These individuals deserve to put their past behind them and move forward.”

The legislation would not prohibit life insurance companies from making coverage decisions based on physical and mental conditions caused by substance abuse.

House Bill 33 passed the Senate Insurance Committee Wednesday and now heads to the Senate floor.

Category: Press Release

SPRINGFIELD – State agencies would have the data they need to take a more proactive approach to public health issues under legislation sponsored by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove).

04212021CM0669“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for more comprehensive data on community health,” Johnson said. “It’s time to reach out to residents in the overlooked corners of the state so we can craft more effective policy to improve health outcomes across all demographics.”

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.

“Understanding a problem is the first step toward solving it,” Johnson said. “We need a fuller picture of the barriers our communities are facing to health and wellness.”

House Bill 3504 passed the Senate Healthcare Access and Availability Committee Tuesday and now heads to the Senate floor.

Category: Press Release

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