Day care safety; Bicentennial postage stamp

State to establish accessible database on day care child safety
Many newly-enacted laws will take effect on January 1. One of them is House Bill 2388, which passed the House back in April. Under this legislation, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is directed to establish and maintain a publicly accessible database which contains key facts involving day care safety and security.

This new database will include information going back for five years on whether a day care center has had its license either revoked or if its license renewal application was denied by DCFS. Under the existing law, a day care center could win back its license by appealing a decision by DCFS to revoke or to refuse to renew, and there was no legal way for DCFS to inform the public about the original decision to revoke or refuse. The enactment of this new law closes that loophole.

New postage stamp to celebrate Illinois bicentennial
A new Illinois 1818 postage stamp will be issued next year in honor of Illinois’s 200th birthday. The stamp will have no set value, and therefore it will be permanently valid for U.S. postage use. The design of the new stamp features twenty stars, which recognizes the first 20 states of the union and an outline map of Illinois with a superimposed image of a rising sun in honor of Illinois becoming the 21st state. The Flag Act of 1818, which was enacted just before Illinois was admitted to the union, made standard the custom of adding a new star for each new state and keeping thirteen stripes for the original states. Another 2018 stamp will commemorate the Flag Act flag.

How much do we owe?  
As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $9,611,014,723 in unpaid bills to state vendors. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is estimated to be more than $100 billion.

ID wristlets authorized in nursing homes
Another new law which will take effect on January 1 is House Bill 223, which deals with the safety of seniors in nursing homes. With the advice and order of a physician, a nursing home would be allowed to require residents to wear identification wristlets. Doctors often advise patients and caregivers to take steps to securely identify a patient who has a history of moving about without a fixed destination or ability to firmly identify said patient. The information on the wristlet will include the resident’s name as well as the name, phone number and address of the person’s place of residence. A patient’s power-of-attorney-holder or legal guardian can request that a wristlet order of this type be overridden.

Legislation enacted to combat fraudulent opioid prescriptions
Throughout the year we have talked about the opioid crisis and Illinois’ efforts to take on this growing problem. This month, Governor Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 772, a new law that requires prescribers with an Illinois Controlled Substance License to register with and use the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which is a database that records patient prescription history.

The PMP allows doctors to check a patient’s history of prescriptions and requests for controlled substances. This legislation will cut down on instances of so-called “doctor shopping,” or the practice of patients obtaining dangerous amounts of opioids by visiting several doctors to get multiple prescriptions. It does so by increasing the required checkpoints in advance of prescribing controlled substances.

This legislation was one of the ideas produced from the studies and hearings conducted by the Governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Task Force. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) will maintain the PMP database. Physicians who are not in compliance may be subject to disciplinary action by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I wish everyone the most joyous of holiday seasons and a very happy, safe and healthy new year! I will be back with another update from the Capitol on Friday January 5.

Did You Know?
While the current 100th Illinois General Assembly is made up of 59 Senators and 118 Representatives, the 1st General Assembly had only 14 Senators and 29 Representatives. It wasn’t until the 16th General Assembly, which took office in 1849, that members were elected from specific districts. Since then, House members have always been elected to represent certain districts with one exception: in 1964 new districts were not drawn in time for the election and so every single member of the Illinois House was an at-large member elected statewide.