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Updates on Our Current Work on Illinois State Disability Bills

 

April 26, 2021 | by Amber Smock

Updates on Our Current Work on Illinois State Disability Bills

Today, we’d like to update you on the status of several important disability-related bills in the Illinois legislature. Each year there are a wide range of bills that affect people with disabilities. Our update is not comprehensive of all the disability bills; instead, we’d like to highlight a sampling of key bills that Access Living is leading or supporting.

The following bills passed their chambers of origin and we hope the see them pass completely by the time the Illinois legislature closes for the spring on May 31. (Learn more about the Illinois legislative process, as compared to the Congressional process, at this link) We are very grateful to all the amazing sponsors who kept these bills front and center.


Bill Highlights:

Mental Health Emergency Response Bill

HB 2784 – The Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA)

  • CESSA passed unanimously through the House. This bill supports the formation of 911 options for mental health emergency response, and was led by grassroots advocates in our organizing group AYLP.
  • See this link for the bill status.
  • The bill was also referenced in this article by the Springfield Journal-Register.
  • CESSA passed the House and is now in the Senate.

Special Education Bills

HB 0040 – Special Education Maximum Age Amendment  

  • This bill allows a student who turns age 22 during the school year to receive special education services until the end of the school year. Currently, students with disabilities in IL are eligible for special education services only until the day before their 22nd birthday. 
  • The bill status is at this link.
  • The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.

HB 2748 – Extended Transition Services for Students with Disabilities

  • This bill allows for families to opt in to extended transition services for Illinois students with disabilities who turned age 22 during the pandemic. This has been a huge stress point for many families of students with significant disabilities.
  • The bill status is at this link.
  • The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.

HB 2425 – Extension of Special Education Complaint Window

  • This bill extends the period of opportunity that Chicago Public Schools parents have to file a complaint concerning delays and denials of special education services in the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018, as a result of the adoption of policies and procedures identified by the State Board of Education as unlawful.
  • The bill status is at this link.
  • The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.

SB 1169 – IEPs and Career and Technical Education Programs

  • This bill provides that a student in high school with an individualized education program may enroll in the school district’s career and technical education (CTE) program at any time if participation in a CTE program is consistent with the student’s transition goals. 
  • The bill passed the Senate and is now in the House.
  • The bill status is at this link.

Housing Bills

HB 2775 – Source of Income Discrimination

  • Source of income discrimination is a major problem for thousands of Illinoisans, including people with disabilities. Landlord discrimination against those who receive SSI/SSDI can be a big issue. HB 2775 would end source of income discrimination statewide.
  • The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate. 
  • The bill status is at this link
  • Two news stories about this bill can be seen here and here.

SB 1975 – Automatic Homestead Tax Exemption Renewal

  • Disabled homeowners in Illinois can benefit from a homestead tax exemption, but in order to do so, they have to prove that they are disabled every year. This makes no sense. This bill would provide for automatic renewal of the exemption for people with disabilities. 
  • The bill passed the Senate and is now in the House.
  • The bill status is at this link

Healthcare Bills

HB 711 – Prior Authorization Reform Act

  • This bill is intended to reform the health insurance prior authorization process, which is the bane of millions of people seeking ready access to the medications prescribed by their doctors.
  • The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.
  • The bill status is at this link.

And Two Bills Where It’s Complicated…

HB 855 – The Legislative Accessibility Act

  • The Legislative Accessibility Act stalled in the House, although a variety of legislators expressed interest in supporting it.
  • See this link for the bill status.
  • Access Living will continue to pursue engaging the State through dialogue, on improvements to legislative accessibility.

HB 219 – Seclusion and Restraint in Illinois Schools

  • This bill aims to address the ongoing problem of the use of seclusion and restraint on students with disabilities in Illinois schools. For more background on this issue, see this link. It’s been very difficult to move a bill to ban the use of restraint, in particular.
  • Unfortunately, House Amendment 2 was attached to the bill, allowing for extended use of prone restraint, which is the most dangerous form. The bill passed the House; however we urge that the Senate remove House Amendment 2.
  • The bill status is at this link.

Please share this update with fellow interested Illinois advocates. Thank you to everyone who has helped take action on these and all bills that champion the empowerment of people with disabilities.