HaineFloorShot9SPRINGFIELD – A series of updates to Illinois’ medical marijuana program were signed into law Monday. State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) sponsored this follow-up law and the 2013 law that created the program.

“A program as big and new as medical marijuana needs to be fine-tuned to ensure that it is safe, effective and free of any kind of abuses. As the program is being implemented, we are learning what adjustments are needed,” Haine said.

The new law allows the state regulators to impose additional penalties, including fines, for violation of the existing law. Originally, agencies could only revoke a violator’s license.

The law also revises criminal background checks for patients, caregivers and anyone involved in cultivation centers and dispensaries: owners, investors and employees. It ensures that applicants’ fingerprints are checked against both state and federal databases.

The updates also included a guarantee that patients charged with driving under the influence of medical cannabis will have their patient card revoked and their license suspended just as if they were charged with a DUI.

The Illinois State Police, Secretary of State, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Health and the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation developed and supported these updates based on their work implementing the program.

The new law took effect immediately.

Category: News Releases

SPRINGFIELD— State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) released the following statement following the death of Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka:

Judy Baar Topinka was caring, honest and capable constitutional officer and she will be deeply missed. I had the pleasure of working with her throughout the years, and I don’t believe there was anyone who disliked her.

She was unfailing gracious to everyone and a great lady.

Category: News Releases

Haine poison controlSPRINGFIELD, IL –The Illinois Poison Center this week presented State Senator William Haine with the IPC Lifesaver Award in recognition of the Senator’s continued commitment to protecting Illinois residents’ health and safety.

The honor was given to state senators and representatives who demonstrated their dedication to the IPC by supporting a dedicated funding source for the state’s only poison center.

“Each year, the IPC takes more than 82,000 calls from Illinois residents with almost half of the cases involving small children,” said IPC representative Arthur Kubic, who presented Senator Haine with the Lifesaver Award on behalf of the organization. “Senator Haine’s support allows the IPC to continue to provide critical information in emergency situations for families and health care providers around the state. We extend our deepest gratitude to Senator Haine and the ILGA for their efforts to save the IPC.”

Started in 1953, the IPC is the nation’s oldest poison center. The staff has played a critical role in protecting public safety, including working with the Illinois Attorney General’s office to combat the synthetic drug epidemic and serving as the call center during the recent Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak.

Category: News Releases

White Smith HaineWOOD RIVER, Ill. – Lonnie Smith was honorably discharged from the Marines when he was 23 years old. Like any other veteran, there was lots of paperwork.

Somewhere, somehow something got lost in the shuffle and Lonnie never received three awards he earned during his service in the Pacific theater in World War II.

Lonnie Smith went on to work as a welder. He married Fern Smith and they had a son.

Lonnie died April 2013 at the age of 90, having never received his medals.

On Thursday, state Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) presented Fern with her husband’s three missing medals during a ceremony at the Fox Grove Supportive Living Community.

"We have a humble duty to remember the veterans who have served and sacrificed for this country. Sadly, we couldn't give these to Lonnie while he was alive, but I hope that they can be a comfort to Fern and remind us of our obligation to every veteran," Haine said.

“I didn't know what to expect. I’m thrilled – this was unbelievable,” Fern said

The process of getting the medals began when Fern talked to Fred Smith, a family friend, about Lonnie's medals. Fred is a member of the Illinois Patriot Guard – a group of motorcycle riders who support the families of fallen veterans and first responders through honor missions and by shielding funeral services from unwanted protesters.

“Lonnie was a tough old boy and his wife is a sweetheart. I want his family to have something to remember – what we do is all about the families. If what we do gives them a memory to hold onto we’ve done our job,” Fred said.

Fred turned to Haine’s office for help. During the presentation, Haine praised the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs for getting Lonnie's military records released.

“All the men and women who have served: Let’s not forget them and their service to our nation," Earl White Southern Division Field Supervisor for the department said. White, Veterans’ Service Officer Ed Barnes and Field Services Manager Harry Sawyer procured the medals.

During the event White also presented Fern with an Illinois State Flag.

Haine had the honor of presenting Fern with The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, China Service Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal that her husband earned serving our country.

The Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal is awarded to Marines who land on foreign territory, engage in operations against armed opposition or operate under circumstances that earn special recognition and when no other campaign medal has been awarded. This medal was first issued in 1919 and is still awarded today.

The China Service Medal was awarded to members of the Navy and Marine Corps who served in China or its territorial waters in either the lead up or aftermath of World War II.

The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded to members of the armed forces who served in the Pacific theater of World War II.

Category: News Releases

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