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Krishnamoorthi Pushes Opioid Abuse Plan; Will County Worries about State Budget

(Chicago) – Democratic congressional hopeful Raja Krishnamoorthi yesterday unveiled legislation that he pledges to introduce in Congress to plug “gaping holes” in an anti-opioid bill lawmakers passed last month.

Krishnamoorthi, the Democratic nominee in the 8th Congressional District that includes west and northwest Chicago suburbs, said his proposal “would provide a secure and stable funding source for the $1.1 billion sought by President Barack Obama to combat opioid abuse.” The bill approved by Congress before its current summer recess contained no money for anti-opioid efforts.

Raja’s proposal, unveiled at the downtown offices of the Health and Policy Research Group on Thursday, would also create a national Prescription Drug Monitoring Program by turning the existing state-by-state efforts into an interactive, nationwide network.

“This will help end the practice of patients going to multiple doctors for opioid prescriptions, which they can then abuse or sell,” Krishnamoorthi said.

“There is no question but that we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who joined Krishnamoorthi at the downtown presser. “It is a national crisis, and we are certainly feeling its impact here in Cook County.”

Krishnamoorthi and Preckwinkle were joined at the press conference by Dr. Asokumar Buvanendran, a physician at Rush University Medical Center and a national leader in addressing the opioid epidemic, and Margie Schaps, Executive Director of the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group.

WILL COUNTY OFFICIALS WORRY OVER STATE BUDGET: Susan DeMar Lafferty, Daily Southtown… “Two state senators tried to paint a cautiously optimistic picture of the state of the state, but Will County officials were not all convinced that Illinois’ fiscal problems won’t become theirs, too.

State Sens. Michael Connelly, R-Naperville, and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield, came to give the county’s legislative committee an update on what is happening in Springfield.

Both acknowledged that the state has $11 billion in unpaid bills and the current stopgap budget is not an ideal solution. […]

Still, county officials expressed concerns that counties will have to bail out the state, and finance programs once funded by the state.

“We are battling poverty, mental health and substance abuse issues,” said committee member Bob Howard, D-Beecher.

Will County also bailed out its Health Department, which is owed money by the state.” … Read more here…

STATE SEEKS FOOD STAMP OVERPAYMENT – FROM 1985: Jesyka Dereta, WQAD-8 TV… “An elderly woman is in the middle of a battle with the state of Illinois.

The state claims they gave her too much money in food stamps 32 years ago and now she needs to pay back hundreds of dollars.

Lola Shaw, 85, was sent the notice last month. It mentions the date her payment was supposedly past due from August 12, 1985. The letter came after an audit by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The woman’s daughter, Dawn Berry, says her mother never even received food stamps from the state.

“I thought for sure it was a scam. This was our first notice. We’ve never gotten anything prior to this,” claims Dawn.

The letter sent to Lola Shaw, says an amount of $769.00 had not been paid from food stamps back in 1985.” … Read more here…

CATHOLIC CONFERENCE DEFENDS CHANGES TO RIGHT OF CONSCIENCE ACT: Amanda Hudson, The Observer… “Changes made to an Illinois law that protects health care providers from participating in morally-objectionable procedures such as abortion has some members of the pro-life community fighting the law, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.

But the head of the Illinois Catholic Church’s public policy arm says the original proposed changes “would have gutted” the law of all conscience protections.

Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, says the initial version of Senate Bill 1564 would have essentially obliterated the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. […]

After much work, Senate Bill 1564’s amendment to the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act was itself amended.

“The Catholic Conference of Illinois was successful in negotiating removal of the more problematic provisions of the bill,” says a CCI statement issued on May 25, when the legislation gained final passage in the House. “Consequently (CCI) is neutral on Senate Bill 1564 as amended by Amendment #3 in the Senate. Amendment #3 protects the right of conscience for healthcare professionals and facilities.” … Read more here…

RAUNER HAILS WORLD TRAPSHOOTING TOURNEY… Governor Bruce Rauner attended the World Trapshooting Championship at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta on Thursday and expressed relief that the event, which had been threatened by the Illinois budget impasse, was salvaged.

“Our partnership with the ATA is an example of a targeted relationship that works together to ensure state facilities work for both the visitors that use them and the taxpayers that fund them,” Rauner said. “By working together, we were able to ensure this storied and excellent event continued in Southern Illinois.”

The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) organizes the Grand American in a partnership between the State and the ATA, but the Sparta complex, which is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, was closed on October 1 because of the budget stalemate between Rauner and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

The Grand American runs through August 13 and generates more than $10 million for the local economy, according to the governor’s office.


BRADY SURPRISED ON BLAGO SENTENCE: Sam Thomas, WJBC-AM 1230… “Illinois State Representative Dan Brady says while he expected the former embattled Governor’s sentence to be reduced, he’s pleased that public officials are being held to a higher standard.

“It just goes to show you that people in office are held to a higher standard and they should be,” said Brady. “I thought that there might be a little reduction in the sentencing, but they chose not to.” … Read more here…


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