playground 082919SPRINGFIELD – A state commission overseeing charter school applications will be abolished under a new law sponsored State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora). Gov. JB Pritzker has signed the measure that will keep those decisions in local hands.

Senate Bill 1226 would change the charter school application process to abolish the State Charter School Commission by July 1, 2020, and transfers most of its duties to the Illinois State Board of Education. Locally elected school boards and parents would decide if a charter school is good for their community.

Charter schools currently in the renewal process would be transferred to ISBE. The bill also provides that a local school board may not revoke or not renew a charter except for obvious justifying circumstances.

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holmes 082619SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) expanding insurance coverage for diagnostic mammograms has been signed into law by the governor.

Currently, insurance covers an initial screening mammogram without any co-pay or cost sharing. If dense breast tissue or an abnormality is detected, a doctor will want a second look with a more comprehensive ultrasound (diagnostic) mammogram, and a co-pay is applied. In Illinois, those co-pays can run from $600 to $700, which could discourage women from getting that screening.

“A diagnostic mammogram should be covered in the same manner as a routine screening mammogram,” Holmes said. “About 10 percent of initial mammogram results require a subsequent diagnostic mammogram, which can arguably be the most important test in the screening process. This new law can save lives.”

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holmes 053019SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes’ (D-Aurora) legislation to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs, as well as a measure to ban cosmetics testing on animals, have been signed into law.

Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees and fines under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

“This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “When I worked as a volunteer at the Humane Society, I learned how many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

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holmes 051619SPRINGFIELD – Two pieces of legislation from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) to improve how local governments operate have been signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“Measures to put decisions in the hands of voters and to streamline local government functions will save taxpayer dollars and make operations more transparent,” Holmes said. “Citizens need to know their municipal officials are representing them effectively.”

House Bill 910 lets the Aurora Public Library change its board of trustees from appointed to elected. The measure would require a referendum asking voters to decide and, if passed, provides for the number of trustees and the manner of their election. Currently, the board is appointed by the city’s mayor with council approval.

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