102517 0876 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) plans to introduce a measure aimed at tackling the opioid crisis by providing medical alternatives to prescription painkillers.

The Alternatives to Opioids Act would allow people who have been prescribed opioids for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead. Harmon plans to introduce the legislation during the second week of the Illinois Senate’s veto session.

“Research shows that as the number of opioids prescribed has risen over the past few decades, so has opioid addiction, overdose and death,” Harmon said. “This is a crisis, and it is rapidly getting worse. Research has also shown that medical cannabis is a safe alternative treatment for the same conditions for which opioids are prescribed.”

Concern over the opioid epidemic is growing, as more than 60,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, more than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. In Illinois, the opioid-related death rate increased 120 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Clearly what we’re doing now is not working,” Harmon said. “This is a problem that touches citizens in every corner of our state. Medical cannabis is the most readily available alternative, but we should consider any other option that reduces the carnage inflicted by the opioid epidemic.”

Illinois created the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in 2013 and is one of 29 states to have legalized medical marijuana.

Category: News

05302017CM0201 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today after the Senate voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act:

“This issue has been litigated several times already, and we have our answer – only the state, not local governments, can create right-to-work laws. The governor’s veto was nothing more than a continuation of his radical anti-union agenda. Today’s override will ensure that workers across the state retain the fair representation they deserve.”

The Act would prohibit local governments from creating “right-to-work” zones and clarify that laws concerning collective bargaining are the responsibility of the state legislature. Right-to-work laws deprive workers of fair representation.

Senate Bill 1905 passed the Senate in April, and the governor vetoed it last month. The Senate voted 42-13 today on a bipartisan override of his veto.

Category: News

harmon hb40 092817 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, a bill protecting a woman’s right to choose in Illinois:

“Today is a victory for women’s reproductive rights, but beyond that, it is a victory for the Illinoisans who worked so hard to make it a reality. For months, constituents and advocates have written, called and marched to demand that the governor live up to his responsibility to the women of our state. Their activism has ensured that women will continue to have access to safe, affordable reproductive healthcare.”

Category: News

05262017CM0276 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today after withdrawing the hold he had placed on House Bill 40:

“The work of constituents and advocates who have urged the governor to sign this legislation appears to be having some effect, as the governor recently backed away from his promise to veto it. I believe Gov. Rauner understands that he has made a commitment to support women’s reproductive rights, and I look forward to him signing this bill as it passed the General Assembly.”

House Bill 40 protects the right of women to make decisions about their reproductive health by ensuring that abortion remains legal in Illinois even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The measure moves to the House now, which is expected to send it quickly to the governor’s desk.

Category: News

Chicago police car horiz2 rSPRINGFIELD – A much-needed overhaul of the civil asset forfeiture process in Illinois was signed into law today.

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) sponsored the measure in the Senate, where it passed unanimously in May. It was heavily negotiated with police, state’s attorneys and civil rights groups, and it garnered bipartisan support among state lawmakers.

The new law seeks to end the controversial practice of “policing for profit,” which incentivizes police and prosecutors to seize cash, cars, land and other property from people suspected of – but not necessarily charged with or convicted of – criminal activity under current state law. The property frequently is forfeited and auctioned off, with proceeds going into the government coffers.

Illinois is taking steps to curb civil asset forfeiture as it is becoming easier for police to seize property across the country. In July, Attorney General Jeff Sessions in July rolled back a series of Obama-era reforms intended to limit the practice.   

"I am glad Illinois has taken this dramatic step forward, especially while the federal government is going backwards on this issue,” Harmon said. “It's a simple concept - the government should have to prove that it has a right to take your property, not the other way around."

The previous law in Illinois was unclear on whether probable cause was a requirement for police to seize property. Additionally, law enforcement agencies were not obligated to return property seized during an investigation, even if the owner was never charged or convicted of a crime.  

The new law increases accountability and transparency among law enforcement officials by doing the following:

•    Improves the rights of property owners by placing the burden of proof on the prosecution instead of the property owner and creating an expedited process to have cases adjudicated more quickly.
•    Increases the government’s burden of proof from probable cause to preponderance of the evidence.
•    Requires the government to do more to ensure property owners receive notice of forfeiture proceedings and understand the steps they must take to argue for the return of their property.
•    Eliminates the requirement that property owners must pay a “cost bond” equal to 10 percent of the value of the seized property before their case can be heard by a judge.
•    Exempts small sums of cash from forfeiture and provides that mere possession of a miniscule amount of drugs will no longer serve as a legal basis for forfeiture.
•    Provides for new data collection regarding property seizures and forfeitures. The information will be reported to the Illinois State Police, and the aggregated data will be posted online.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2018.


 

Category: News

Contact Me

Email Senator Harmon

Springfield Office:
329 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176
(f) 217.558.6013

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002
(f) 708.848.2022

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