SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Fighting to curb the flow of illegal firearms and prevent violence, state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, passed legislation Saturday to strengthen the state’s gun licensing system. Hirschauer’s House Bill 1091, dubbed the Block Illegal Ownership and Fix the FOID bill, now moves to the Senate for consideration.
“Gun violence is a public health issue that affects far too many families and communities,” said Hirschauer, a longtime volunteer with the gun safety group Moms Demand Action. “As the Aurora shooting tragically illustrated, there are loopholes in Illinois’ gun laws that allow dangerous criminals to possess and use firearms, even after their FOID card has been revoked. This bill takes crucial steps toward preventing the ongoing plague of gun violence and mass shootings.”
The evidence-based gun safety measure makes several changes to Illinois’ gun owner licensing laws by:
- Requiring background checks for all gun purchases, including person-to-person, private sales;
- Verifying the identity FOID card applicants through a one-time fingerprint check;
- Enabling the Illinois State Police to retrieve guns once a FOID card is revoked; and
- Dedicating life-saving mental health funding for communities most impacted by gun violence.
“As a longtime commonsense gun reform advocate, I commend my colleague Rep. Maura Hirschauer for her leadership on this bill which shuts the door on existing loopholes in current law to prevent firearms from reaching the hands of bad actors,” said Rep. Kathleen Willis. “The proliferation of gun violence in our communities and across the country needs to be met with evidence-based gun violence prevention measures, and that is precisely what this bill does.”
“Protecting loved ones from gun violence is a visceral issue that connects with people across the state, especially parents,” said Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “I’m proud to support Rep. Hirschauer’s bill because it offers proven measures that will keep kids and families safe. This is a straightforward proposal to address gun violence given the decades-long stalemate at the federal level, and I hope my Senate colleagues give it strong consideration.”
Numerous studies have shown the widespread threat of gun violence. Nearly 1,400 Illinoisans die every year due to gun violence, one in 10 being children or teenagers. Nearly 40 percent of gun deaths are due to suicide, also highlighting the importance of another gun safety bill passed by the House earlier this session: Rep. Stoneback’s bill, House Bill 1092, to improve Firearm Restraining Orders to prevent those who may pose harm to themselves or others from acquiring a gun.
For more information about either bill bill, visit ilga.gov.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, has been appointed to serve on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for the remainder of the 2021-2022 legislative session, pledging to be a strong advocate for military families and veterans seeking support to meet their housing, employment and health care needs.
“After a COVID outbreak led to dozens of lives lost at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home, I knew it was important that the state take a serious look at the quality of care being provided to our veterans,” said Hirschauer. “Supporting the heroes who sacrificed for our safety should always be a priority, and I will use my position on this committee to explore some of the major areas where veterans are being underserved.”
The Veterans’ Affairs Committee considers all legislation pertaining to veterans’ benefits, health care and state-run veterans’ homes and also works closely with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Recently, the panel held a hearing to review insufficient safety protocols and leadership decisions that fueled a deadly coronavirus outbreak at the LaSalle facility. Moving forward, Hirschauer and other members of the committee will continue to monitor the quality of long-term health care provided to veterans, as well as work to improve their access to education, mental health care, housing, employment and other services.
“I’m excited to get to work and continue to bring forth legislation that benefits our veterans,” said Hirschauer. “Unfortunately, veterans face many challenges both in transitioning to civilian life and gaining access to care as they age, and this committee will play an important role in eliminating existing barriers to better protect and honor those who served.”
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Menstruating students in 4th through 12th grade would have free access to tampons and pads in school bathrooms under a plan sponsored by state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, which passed the House last week.
“Everyone who menstruates can relate to the discomfort and embarrassment that comes with not having access to period products when you’re bleeding through your clothes,” said Hirschauer. “There are so many reasons why students might not have a tampon or pad with them. For those from low-income families, it’s often an added expense they simply can’t afford. And regardless of their financial situation, younger students who are starting their period for the first time will probably be caught off guard and without a pad.”
Under current state law, schools are required to make menstrual products available to students in at least one bathroom in the building, which is typically located within the nurse’s office. The Hirschauer-backed House Bill 156 aims to make these products more easily accessible by requiring they be stocked in all bathrooms that students use.
“If a student realizes they’ve started their period during the school day, we want them to be able to quickly and discretely get what they need so they can return to class,” said Hirschauer. “This bill recognizes that periods are a normal part of life and that menstrual products are as much of a necessity as other hygiene items like soap and toilet paper. I was glad to see it pass the House recently and look forward to this bill becoming law.”
The post House Passes Hirschauer-Backed Plan to Increase Access to Menstrual Products appeared first on Illinois House Democratic Caucus.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To combat discrimination and help doctors better meet the needs of their LGBTQ patients, state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, is sponsoring legislation that would mandate anti-bias training for health care professionals in Illinois.
“Everyone deserves to feel valued and understood at their doctor’s office and to receive quality health care services,” said Hirschauer. “Unfortunately, members of the LGBTQ community report experiencing bias and discriminatory treatment, and sometimes being denied care altogether due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is unacceptable and exemplifies the need for better training for health care providers to address these barriers to care.”
The Biden administration announced Monday that health care providers cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, reversing a Trump-era policy that eliminated anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. Hirschauer’s legislation, House Bill 3170, would further support the well-being of LGBTQ Illinoisans by requiring doctors to complete a training program on implicit bias in order to renew their license. Intended to promote more equitable and inclusive health care practices, the training would include information on how to identify unconscious biases and misinformation, ways to reduce discrimination and stigma, and tips for communicating more effectively with people who identify as sexual minorities.
“The reinstated protections at the federal level are a significant step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do to make sure our health systems are providing LGBTQ-inclusive care,” said Hirschauer. “Ongoing education and training for doctors will help them establish trust with their patients, treat them with respect and improve access to quality care.”
The post Hirschauer Bill Supports Inclusive Health Care for LGBTQ Patients appeared first on Illinois House Democratic Caucus.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, is fighting to keep guns out of the hands of potentially violent individuals,
having recently voted to pass a measure to strengthen specific firearm restrictions for people who pose a risk to themselves or others.
“When someone is exhibiting dangerous behaviors, taking appropriate precautions is critical for their own safety and the safety of everyone around them,” said Hirschauer. “A short-term hold on the person’s ability to purchase or possess a firearm may very well prevent a catastrophic shooting event, but it’s incumbent on those closest to them and law enforcement officials working together—and quickly—to respond if someone is a possible threat.”
Hirschauer is sponsoring House Bill 1092, which expands the scope of Illinois’ “red flag” law, under which close family or household members can petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person who poses a threat to others or themselves. Red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, have received renewed attention recently, as Indiana’s version could have potentially prevented an April mass shooting at a FedEx facility had it been used to its fullest extent.
The Hirschauer-backed House Bill 1092 strengthens the original Illinois law that took effect in 2019, expanding who can petition the courts for a firearms restraining order to include former spouses and partners who share a child with a potential shooter. To ensure law enforcement officers are familiar with how the law is supposed to work, the measure creates a training program for local authorities, as well as a public awareness campaign to empower more people to use it.
“Red flag laws are intended to help people in crisis access mental health services and supports while unarmed, so they can reclaim their gun rights when they’re no longer a risk,” said Hirschauer. “By educating both law enforcement and the public on how to use the state’s law effectively, this measure will help curb gun violence and save lives in our communities.”
House Bill 1092 passed the House last week and now awaits consideration in the Senate.
“Red flag laws are intended to help people in crisis access mental health services and supports while unarmed, so they can reclaim their gun rights when they’re no longer a risk. By educating both law enforcement and the public on how to use the state’s law effectively, this measure will help curb gun violence and save lives in our communities.”
Committee members focused on preventing future managerial and operational errors that contributed to the tragic covid-19 outbreak
Today, the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on the tragic, preventable COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans Home, which resulted in thirty-six saddening deaths. Witnesses from the hearing included Deputy Governor Sol Flores, Department of Veterans (IDVA) Affairs Director Terry
Prince and Assistant Director Anthony Vaughn, and Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
Following the investigatory report from the Illinois Department of Human Services Inspector General, today’s hearing featured a series of hard, direct questions from a group of bipartisan legislators.
“The goal of today’s hearing was to understand the leadership and operational gaps that led to this tragedy so we can determine what legislative recourse we should pursue,” said committee Chairwoman Stephanie Kifowit. “This is a grave matter that is far above politics and partisanship. The State of Illinois failed our veterans, and we need to work together to prevent this from ever happening again.”
In the hearing, Representative Yednock, whose district covers the LaSalle Veterans Home, zeroed in on the staffing gaps that contributed to the crisis, including the lack of a senior home administrator who would have been in charge of managing medical care.
“Unfortunately, this tragedy could have been prevented. We must keep top medical positions filled so that expertise can inform day-to-day operations and care,” said Representative Lance Yednock. “Veterans have dedicated their lives to our state and country, and we owe them much more than the
kind of neglect outlined in the Inspector General’s (IG) report. I am confident new leadership at Veterans Affairs will help. Still, we need to exercise our oversight responsibility as legislators to make sure we close the gaps, protect our veterans, and take care of anyone under the care of state-run homes.”
Members also focused on the causes of the hiring delays at state homes for veterans, such as workforce development and access to protective equipment.
“If as a state we ask people to enter careers of medical and health care, we need to make sure they can provide these essential services while protecting themselves too,” said Representative Maura Hirschauer.
“We also need to make sure our facilities and medical staff never fall out of compliance in the first place,” added Representative Yang Rohr. “Thoughtful care and oversight means developing proactive solutions, and that will be our north star as legislators.”
Following this hearing, committee members will continue their legislative inquiry for additional details to inform legislative solutions that will be considered this year.
“Serious, sober work lies ahead to make sure we exercise our legislative oversight and collaborate with the Senate, Governor’s office, IDPH and IDVA to get this right,” said Vice-Chairman Michael Halpin. “The IG’s report outlined what failed; now our job is to identify solutions.”
“Protecting our veterans is one of my top priorities,” said Representative Dave Vella. “I appreciate the answers provided today so we and our constituents understand what happened, and we are assured there will be continued action with haste and thoroughness.”
In the meantime, Chairwoman Kifowit and members express appreciation for and confidence in Director Terry Prince as the new leader of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Committee members also thank Dr. Ezike and Deputy Governor Sol Flores for their honest assessment and ongoing commitment to our
veterans and their care.
“If as a state we ask people to enter careers of medical and health care, we need to make sure they can provide these essential services while protecting themselves too.”
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In an effort to help teenagers prepare for the challenges of managing their money, state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, passed a proposal out of a House committee Wednesday that would allow a financial literacy course to be part of a high school’s social studies prerequisites.
“Once our kids leave high school, we expect them to continue their education or get a job and start to become adults, yet many teenagers are unfamiliar with how to handle basic financial matters,” said Hirschauer. “By providing financial literacy classes in high school and teaching kids about bank accounts, savings plans, mortgages and more, we are giving them a better chance to avoid money mistakes that could haunt them for years.”
The Hirschauer-sponsored Senate Bill 1830 would allow financial literacy classes to be counted toward the two years of social studies required by the state to receive a high school diploma in Illinois. If signed into law, the measure would take effect beginning with students entering the 9th grade in the 2021-2022 school year.
Senate Bill 1830 passed a House education committee with no opposition Wednesday, and now heads to the full floor for consideration. The proposal previously passed in the Senate without opposition.
“It’s important that our education system emphasizes real-world situations our youth will have to deal with,” said Hirschauer. “Instilling a base level of familiarity with financial decisions can have a positive impact throughout their lives.”
The post Hirschauer’s High School Financial Literacy Course Proposal Passes House Committee appeared first on Illinois House Democratic Caucus.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, is drawing attention to a toolkit meant to aid law enforcement in locating elderly people who are reported missing, having recently brought legislation before the state House in support of Illinois’ Silver Search program.
“When a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia wanders away from home, it’s important for their safety that they are quickly located and reunited with family and caregivers,” said Hirschauer. “The Silver Search program has become a valuable tool to protect some of our most vulnerable seniors and has proven to be successful in many cases.”
The Illinois House recently approved Hirschauer’s resolution urging county officials to utilize the Silver Search program more frequently in missing persons cases involving an older adult with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Silver Search legislation was first passed by the General Assembly in 2016, and the program has since been used to locate more than 120 missing seniors. When a senior who is cognitively impaired goes missing, Silver Alerts utilize an Endangered Missing Persons Advisory to alert the public through highway signs, emails, text messages and social media, similar to an Amber Alert for a missing child.
House Resolution 33 came out of a joint Senior Advisory Committee that Hirschauer shares with Sen. Karina Villa. Community members interested in joining the committee can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“I am grateful to the members of my Senior Advisory Committee who worked with me to craft this legislation, and I value their input on further efforts to protect the well-being of older Illinoisans,” said Hirschauer. “Silver Search is a proven system that helps families reunite with their loved ones, let’s make sure it is used in its fullest capacity.”