State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) is working on legislation that would require certain medical facilities to have active closed captioning on televisions in waiting rooms and resident rooms.

IMPACT CIL in CommitteeThe measure, Senate Bill 309, is an initiative of IMPACT Center for Independent Living in Alton. The organization, which serves individuals with disabilities, noted that many of the patients it serves have reported inability to understand or hear televisions in medical facilities, and thereby have difficulty receiving important information.

Angela Botz, a proponent for deaf citizens and a representative of IMPACT CIL in Alton, noted in her testimony in the Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee that captioning features make a difference in the lives of the individuals with hearing loss, those with learning disabilities and the elderly.

“Captioning will benefit viewers for health comprehension and retention, accessibility, usage and preferences for access services,” Botz said. “Often times, individuals who request these services are ignored. Bottom line: The importance of captioning and full health access matters.”

Haine’s legislation, which is similar to a Minnesota law, requires closed captioning to be kept on at all times in certain medical facilities, including nursing homes.

“This measure is about ensuring people with hearing disabilities have access to vital information,” Haine said. “People need to be able to know what is going on in the world around them and the ability to have important medical information communicated to them.”

While there is currently some opposition to how hospitals would fund television upgrades to provide closed captioning on all devices, Haine noted that he is working closely with the Illinois Hospital Association and with nursing homes to come to a resolution that is economically feasible and fits the needs of those with hearing disabilities.

“I am grateful for the work and input from the Illinois Hospital Association,” Haine said. “I know together we can reach a resolution on a good piece of legislation that will help many people in our community.”

Category: News

committeeState Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) advanced a measure through the Senate Criminal Law Committee on Tuesday to allow Illinois to prosecute perpetrators of drug-induced homicide more effectively.

The measure, Senate Bill 639, expands the offense of drug-induced homicide to include delivery of a controlled substance under the laws of another jurisdiction if the resulting death occurs in Illinois.

“This measure is about deterrence and making it clear we will not stand for illicit drug dealers providing lethal narcotics in our state,” Haine said. “Drug use has become an epidemic, and we must not stand idle while our young people are dying due to overdose.”

The legislation is in response to incidents where judges have acquitted defendants charged with drug-induced homicide because the substance that caused the death did not come from Illinois. This bill seeks to resolve that gap so defendants are not acquitted of this offense when the illicit substance was delivered in another jurisdiction, but the death occurs in Illinois.

The measure passed out of the committee on Tuesday and will now go to the Senate floor for final action.

Category: News

Grand BargainThe Illinois Senate approved a measure Tuesday that would fund Alton-area social service agencies and Southern Illinois University for 2017.

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) voted yes on the legislation, which would allow places like Senior Services Plus and Impact CIL in Alton to remain up and running.

Over the last two years as the State of Illinois has grappled with a prolonged budget stalemate, Senior Services Plus reduced its meals on wheels program to just one delivery of frozen food per week rather than daily fresh food deliveries. Impact CIL, an organization serving the disabled, announced during the summer it would reduce its staff by 20 percent.

“We passed this measure with bipartisan support because we knew something needed to be done to protect people who are suffering,” Haine said. “Time is running out, and these organizations need help. It is absolutely necessary that this measure receives support from my colleagues in the House and from the governor.”

Tuesday’s measure also includes an appropriation for the Southern Illinois University system and for Monetary Award Program grants.

“SIU in Edwardsville is one of Illinois’ finest institutions of higher learning. The university provides an excellent education to students who come not only from this area, but from throughout the Midwest,” Haine said. “There is no reason a state school should be lacking state funding.”

Category: News

state of stateIt is time for real solutions to the state’s issues. Universities like SIU in Edwardsville have been forced to make tight cuts and have faced layoffs. Organizations like Senior Services Plus in Alton have had to cut back on meals on wheels programs and are unable to fully provide services to our area’s seniors. It’s time to sit down and pass legislation to fix these issues. We have a plan in the senate and I am ready to get to work. I just hope the governor is willing to compromise.


Category: News


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