VetHomeShowcaseSPRINGFIELD – A five-story, 200 bed veterans home on Chicago’s northwest side has stood vacant and half completed since June of last year. The home became a victim of the Illinois budget impasse. Thankfully, construction is set to resume thanks to Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“It’s outrageous that projects like the Chicago Veterans Home ever got caught in the line of fire with the budget impasse,” Mulroe said. “These men and women served their duty to this country, and we can’t get our act together enough to ensure that they have a dedicated facility at their disposal?”

The project broke ground in September of 2014, with a price tag of $70 million, slated to be completed midway through this year. The US Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to reimburse the state for up to 65% of the cost to build the facility. However, when funding for the project was not approved, local residents and veterans began to fear the worst.

The proposal contains the remaining state obligation of $8.5 million. While the state currently operates four other veterans homes, this would be the first facility in Chicago. According to the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the Chicago home would offer housing as well specialized medical care for veterans suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“People aren’t bargaining chips. I’ve been working hard for the past year to get things moving on this facility,” Mulroe continued. “I’m angry that this was the way to get this project going, but I am glad to see work begin again.”

SB2047 received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and now goes to the governor.

Category: Showcase

Tobacco 21

What kills more people than AIDS, car crashes and heart problems? Tobacco, and thanks to a new law sponsored by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) that number will hopefully diminish.

"It’s undisputed that smoking will kill you, and before that cause irreparable harm," Mulroe stated. "The cigarette packs clearly state the health risks. If someone doesn’t start smoking by the age of 21, their risk of starting is dramatically decreased."

The proposal would raise the legal smoking age in Illinois to 21, which research shows that young people are not only more fully developed, but also able to make more informed decisions about their health. Tobacco 21 is an effort that has taken hold across the country and recently passed by the city of Chicago.

"There is a huge cost benefit as well. In addition to private costs, studies conducted by CDC says the state of Illinois spends up to $2 billion through Medicaid," Mulroe continued. "The savings to taxpayers would be enormous."

By raising the smoking age to 21, studies show that it becomes more difficult to obtain cigarettes illegally. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense is aiming to make all facilities smoke-free by 2020. The legislation includes all smoke tobacco as well as e-cigarettes.

"It makes sense," Mulroe concluded. "Why would we want those that already are in harm’s way to use a product that might kill them?"

The measure passed the Senate yesterday and moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Showcase

MisericordiaTucked away in a quiet northwest Chicago neighborhood, the sisters at Misericordia Home dedicate their lives to caring for some of the most vulnerable citizens. The mentally and physically disabled individuals who receive care from Misericordia are unique as many receive services from the time they are born to their final breath.


“Misericordia is privileged to provide to more than 600 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Sister Rosemary Connelly, who currently serves as director of the facility. “What we are looking for is something to streamline the licensure process and reduce the bureaucracy that is associated with having multiple licenses on one campus.”


Currently, facilities like Misericordia are required by the state to hold multiple licenses for the various services it offers. It can get especially tricky when trying to transfer a patient from one part of the facility to another: An individual may show up on a transfer, but the paperwork placing them there has been held up, causing a delay of care.


Thanks to a new proposal sponsored in the Senate by State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago), the care would be seamless. The measure would create a continuum of care license for large-scale facilities like Misericorida, removing the necessity for multiple licenses.


“Misericordia is unique in that it provides exceptional care for its vulnerable residents over lifetimes,” Mulroe said. “It makes sense to me that the state should recognize facilities like it under a new, streamlined licensure process to ensure the patients continue receiving the best care they can without experiencing any delays.”


The proposal passed the Senate Human Services committee unopposed and now moves to the Senate floor for further debate.

Category: Showcase

Senator Mulroe

If you drive by the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Forest Preserve Drive on the Northwest Side of Chicago, you will see a half-completed building that is meant to house Illinois veterans who need medical care.
 
It sits untouched since July 1, when construction was brought to a halt as a result of the budget impasse.
 
A $2 million grant that would have built out a vacant portion of village hall in Harwood Heights—putting it to good use instead of letting it continue to be only a storage space—remains suspended, for the same reason.

Social services for the disabled, elderly, mentally ill, poor and veterans have disappeared. MAP grants, which help low-income students pay for college, along with funding for community colleges are unfunded.
 
And the list goes on.
 
So far, investments like these have become symbols of the budget impasse, with plans in place and funds pulled.
 
In his second State of the State address, Governor Rauner said, “There’s a serious deficit in public trust when it comes to government in Illinois.” And I can see why. When projects have gotten a green light and some have even begun construction, that is no time to re-evaluate the state’s commitment to our communities and pull the rug out from under them.
 
The governor is right about one thing: We can’t wait any longer.
 
It is time for us to come together and solve the issues that face our state; otherwise, we will continue down the path that has led to the erosion of social services—and higher education in Illinois.
 
While we can’t walk back the clock and take back some of the mistakes made in the past year that have caused people harm, I remain hopeful that together we can work towards bipartisan legislation that would benefit all people in Illinois.
 
Compromise is the path we should be taking, and I look forward to seeing my fellow legislators and the governor do just that.

Category: News

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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