For the past 37 years, Diane Gunaka has operated Sunshine Activity Center, the only afternoon and evening respite care center for developmentally disabled adults on the North Side of Chicago. She has lovingly created a place where developmentally disabled adults could learn to care for themselves, participate in programs and outings, and provide their parents with some respite of their own.

After weathering two years of the budget impasse, though, Sunshine Activity Center may have to close its doors this June after its contract was not renewed. The center is entirely funded by the state and does not receive any federal support.

“The staff at Sunshine Activity Center provides a great service to their clients and families,” State Senator John Mulroe said. “I am always impressed when I visit the center at how well the clients are cared for.”

Senator Mulroe at Sunshine Activity Center for his annual holiday visit.Senator Mulroe at Sunshine Activity Center for his annual holiday visit.For the past eight months, the center has operated without state support. Sunshine Activity Center’s doors have remained open thanks to the generous support of donors, but that money has almost run out. With clientele that are for the most part elderly, and staff members that are stretched thin, the center has found that there are limited opportunities to fundraise.

As a result of budget cuts over the past few years, Sunshine Activity Center has been forced to reduce staff and cut back on programming. While they used to employ seven staff members to care for 25 developmentally disabled adults, they now employ three people and staff has had to double up on duties. They have also had to cut their home living program and limit outings.

“We’re trying to continue it, but I don’t know how long we’ll be able to hang on,” Gunaka said.

Gunaka stated that if Sunshine Activity Center closes, some clients will be left without service while others won’t have care in the evenings.

After 37 years of service, the state decided not to renew Sunshine Activity Center’s contract, citing that the center didn’t meet the respite requirement. Gunaka said that the state limited Sunshine Activity Center to 25 program participants, but then faulted the center for being too small.

The families of Sunshine Activity Center have written to the governor, pleading for support. He has replied with his apologies but with no offer of assistance.

To support Sunshine Activity Center and their efforts to serve developmentally disabled adults on the Northside of Chicago, click here for their GoFundMe page.

Category: Front Page

Sen. Mulroe in Committee HearingToday Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) was appointed chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee. Mulroe has served on the committee for four years.

“I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to handle the numerous issues that come before the insurance committee that affect my district, our state and country,” Mulroe said. “If the Affordable Care Act is repealed at the federal level, I will work with stakeholders to ensure that whatever replaces it is truly affordable, does not overly burden the middle class and provides participants with access to use the doctors and hospitals they choose.”

In Illinois, more than 350,000 individuals have enrolled in the Affordable Care Act through the insurance marketplace since it was established and even more have been covered through the Medicaid expansion. Federal attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement could leave 18 million individuals who are currently insured without coverage.

The Affordable Care Act has allowed children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26, protected individuals from being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, and lowered the cost of preventative treatment.

Taking on this new role will require Mulroe to step down as chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee, but he will continue to serve as an active member of the panel.

Category: Front Page

051916CM0508crSPRINGFIELD –A proposal to streamline veterans identification that passed the Senate in April was signed into law by the governor today. Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) co-sponsored the measure.

"With all of the services available to veterans, it only makes sense that Illinois streamline how these men and women carry identification," Mulroe said. "These men and women have served our country, so I think this is the least we can do."

The measure allows the Secretary of State's office to receive advice on how to best proceed with veterans IDs. The new veteran-specific IDs and drivers licenses would be available to all members of the armed forces.

Following the signing today, the bill becomes effective immediately.

Category: Front Page

16for16 gavelShowcase

New laws took effect at the beginning of the 2016, including SB 764 which puts AEDs in police stations. Want to learn about some of the others? Click this link to learn more.

 

For the complete list of 236 new laws, click here.

Category: Front Page

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Office Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 10th District
127 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1035
(217) 782-2331 FAX
 
District Office:
5940 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 763-3810
(773) 763-3881 FAX