032415CM0975 rSPRINGFIELD – Victims of human trafficking would receive newfound protections under a proposed law sponsored by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) that cleared the Illinois Senate today.

Mulroe’s Senate Bill 1588 would provide victims of sex trafficking with an affirmative defense when charged with prostitution. By using an affirmative defense, the legal ramifications of criminal charges would be defeated by that action.

Under the current law, a person who knowingly performs any sexual act in return for something of value is guilty of prostitution, which holds a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.

“Victims of sex trafficking live in a dark and heart-breaking world that often traps them in a terrible cycle, but what’s worse is when our justice system fails them,” said Mulroe. “By allowing for this affirmative defense, these women will get their lives back on track and live healthier and more fulfilling lives, and hopefully serve justice to the real criminals in these cases.”

Janell Wheeler previously testified in the Senate Criminal Law Committee that while she was a victim of human trafficking, her pimp ruptured her eardrum, burned her body and beat her until she suffered broken bones. All the while, this man forced her to sell her body, for which she was arrested and faced criminal charges.

“I want to make sure that we are helping these people, not incarcerating them,” Mulroe said.

The Senate approved the proposal 55 to 0. Mulroe’s legislation now advances to the House.

Video testimony from Janell Wheeler can be found at this link.

Category: News Releases

Senator Mulroe during Public Health CommitteeCHICAGO  – During a meeting with an organization dedicated to assisting families with severe mental health concerns as well as family members of individuals receiving care, State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) learned about the services that the families receive and what effect a change in funding would cause to their lives.

The Keystone Alliance is an organization comprising two agencies: Search Inc., which provides full-time living facilities with round-the-clock care for individuals suffering from severe physical and mental disabilities, and Glenkirk, which provides respite care to families caring for loved ones that allows them a window of time each week to take care of other concerns.

“For these families to be facing such uncertainty is incredibly difficult, especially when you consider that they are trying to do the best for their families and ensuring that their loved ones receive the best care when they are unable to give it,” Mulroe said. “I oppose cutting funding to programs like these, because even if they aren’t vital to everyone, they are incredibly vital to those receiving them.”

Under the governor’s proposed fiscal year 2016 budget, these services would see drastic cuts. The cuts would ultimately have the greatest effect on staffing abilities of Search and Glenkirk, which could lead to poorer quality of service and could even cause Keystone Alliance to lose its licensure.

“We need to be able to care for the ones we love,” Mulroe said. “The compassionate thing to do here is also the obvious one: We need to maintain current funding levels at the very least.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee is currently in discussion with the governor’s office regarding next year’s budget.

 

Click below to watch video from the discussion.

Category: News Releases

Senator Mulroe speaking to the legislation on the floorSPRINGFIELD – Breast cancer incidences have been decreasing since the early 2000s thanks to new therapies, treatments and screening methods. One of the most effective early screening methods is now covered by some existing health insurance thanks to new legislation sponsored by Senator John Mulroe (D-CHICAGO).

“Cancer screenings like 3D mammograms can be compared to reading a book,” Mulroe said. “Would you rather read one page and hope you understand the whole meaning of the text or rather read every single page for a full understanding? That’s very much how 3D mammograms work.”

Previous technologies only took a single dimension view of breast tissue when screening for cancerous cells. Tomosynthesis, also known as a 3D mammogram, takes a multidimensional view of the breast during the screening. As a result, a 3D mammogram has a higher success rate of detecting cancerous cells that are often difficult to detect, due to either size or dense breast tissue.

Senate Bill 54 amends the insurance code by adding tomosynthesis to the list of definitions of low-dose mammograms. As a result, the insurance mandate will cover 3D mammograms as well as the traditional 2D mammograms.

“I strongly believe that this legislation will help save lives of at-risk women who may not have known about this technology or may not have been previously covered,” Mulroe said. “It is our duty to protect the health and well-being of people in this state, and if we can save them time, money and emotional hardship then that is a bonus.”

After the legislation’s success in the Senate, it now moves to the House.

 

To learn more about 3D mammograms and to listen to women who received them, click here.

Category: News Releases

Senator Mulroe listens to a concerned constituent following the press conference.PARK RIDGE – As a result of a recent measles outbreak in the northwest suburbs, Senator John Mulroe (D-CHICAGO) has sponsored legislation that would tighten exemptions for vaccinations. Along with community advocates, he held a press conference Wednesday to discuss some of the changes proposed by concerned constituents across the state.

“I sponsored this bill after learning of the measles outbreak here in Chicago. This very serious disease was controlled by vaccination in the past, just like polio, and was until recently nearly eradicated,” Mulroe said. “We want to make sure that everyone’s right to choose the best health plan for their child is protected, while also ensuring they receive accurate and sound medical advice from trained professionals.”

In response to recent criticism of the original language, Mulroe has begun working on an amendment that seeks a compromise. “I want to make it clear that my intent is not to take away either the medical or religious exemptions”, Mulroe said.

Individuals seeking the exemption would still be required to fill out a form created by the Department of Public Health; language dictating the frequency of filling out those forms is being discussed between stakeholders for and against the bill.

Among the community advocates were Alexandra Eidenberg who runs Mom+Baby, an organization focused on the well-being of pregnant women, mothers and children, and Rebecca Abraham who is a registered nurse who works directly with infectious diseases.

“I have four children of my own who benefitted from being vaccinated.” Mulroe said. “After many discussions with parents who believe their children were injured by a vaccine, however, I am trying to address concerns that vaccines may be harmful to certain children. I would never want to be responsible for harming a child. This is a public safety issue. I want to make sure that all children and the public are safe.””

SB1410 is currently in committee awaiting an amendment.

 

Video footage from the press conference is below.

Category: News Releases

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