hainehsv1SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Senate passed comprehensive pension reform by a 40-16 vote, Thursday. State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) voted for the proposal.

“Our pension systems have required these necessary changes for far too long,” Haine said. “While this plan will require sacrifices, it will strengthen our state’s finances and give much needed stability to our pension systems.”

This proposal, Senate Bill 2404, now moves to the House for a vote.

For an overview of the bills details visit www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com

Category: News Releases

HaineFloorShot7SPRINGFIELD, IL – Medical marijuana is one step closer to becoming law following an Illinois Senate Executive Committee hearing.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 1, creates a four year pilot program where qualified patients can be prescribed marijuana as a treatment for specific aliments. The program creates a system of 22 state-regulated growers and 60 licensed dispensaries.

“Patients are one step closer to having a safe, legal way to ease their suffering,” State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) said. “I am optimistic that the rest of the Senate will see this measured, reasonable proposal as a compassionate solution.”

The plan restricts the use of marijuana in the presence of minors, in vehicles and in public especially near school grounds. Safeguards include a doctor’s written certification, registered patient photo identification cards and an electronic verification system.

Medical marijuana must now be passed by the Senate and signed by the governor in order to become law. This proposal was passed by the House April 17.

Category: News Releases

HaineFloorShot6SPRINGFIELD, IL – The months-long dispute between the Senate and Governor Pat Quinn over the Southern Illinois University board of trustees has ended with the appointment of two individuals with strong ties to the Edwardsville campus.

“I appreciate the governor taking our input and working with us to find these appointees,” State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) said. “I am confident that the board will soon be able to resume its role representing each of SIU’s campuses,”

After working with Haine and other lawmakers, Quinn filed the appointments with the Senate on Friday. The new appointees are retired Maj. Gen. Randal Thomas, a SIUE alumnus and former SIUE professor Shirley Portwood, who taught history for 30 years.

“Maj. Gen. Thomas and professor Portwood are people of distinction and service who will fulfill the mission of the board by promoting the growth and success of the university as a whole,” Haine said.

The dispute over the SIU board began when Quinn removed three trustees who represented the Edwardsville campus. The Senate rejected all of his replacements, none of whom had ties to SIUE.

These appointments now go to the Senate for approval. A third board position is still vacant.

Category: News Releases

HaineFloorShot5SPRINGFIELD, IL – Small business owners and people seeking individual health insurance plans are one step closer to having a resource to assist them with next year’s new health insurance exchanges.

The Insurance Navigator Act, which passed the Senate today, will give people a new resource to understand health care exchanges created by the federal Affordable Care Act.

“People may have some apprehension about these new insurance exchanges,” Senator Bill Haine (D- Alton) said. “These navigators, working with insurance agents, will fill a vital need to help people explore this new process.”

This proposal allows the Illinois Department of Insurance to certify health insurance exchange navigators. These navigators are neutral parties who help individuals interact with health insurance exchanges.

The bill has received support from both consumer protection advocates and members of the insurance industry.

“The bill provides clear guidelines for the activities of navigators in Illinois, protects consumers by granting oversight by the Department of Insurance and establishes a bright line between the activities of navigators and insurance producers,” Phil Lackman—Vice President of Government Relations for the Coalition of Insurance Agents and Producers—said.

Navigators will raise awareness of qualified health exchange plans, distribute impartial information regarding health plan enrollment and personally assist people throughout the enrollment process.

The Affordable Care Act became federal law in 2010 with the insurance exchange portion of the law taking effect in 2014. These exchanges give individuals and small businesses a marketplace to compare and choose from different healthcare plans.

The Insurance Navigator Act was accepted without opposition, and now moves to the House for approval.

Category: News Releases

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