Public vapingSPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that would ban public consumption of e-cigarettes passed the Illinois state Senate Tuesday.

“It’s only fair that we treat these products the same way we treat cigarettes,” Link said. “It’s still unclear what the health effects of these devices are, and people shouldn’t be forced to be exposed to them in public places if they don’t want to.”

According to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 1,600 cases of vaping-related ailments reported, including 34 deaths across 24 states.

Senate Bill 1864 would expand the Smoke Free Illinois Act by prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products in public places, places of employment and within 15 feet of building entrances.

The measure could also help curb youth-cigarette use.

The recently released 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that e-cigarette use among high school students increased by 78% from 2017 to 2018. In total, 20.8% of all high school students use e-cigarettes.

“The data is perfectly clear on this issue: we now have a vaping epidemic going on in our schools,” Link said. “Big tobacco has been specifically marketing these products to high school students for years to line their own pockets, and it’s time for us to take a stand against this predatory practice.”

Senate Bill 1864 passed the Senate in a 41-11 vote. It will now go before the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Floor seatedSPRINGFIELD – A measure co-sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Hills) aimed at reducing skyrocketing prescription insulin costs for diabetics passed the Illinois Senate with bipartisan support Tuesday.

“Drug companies know that diabetics and their families will pay virtually anything for the insulin they need, and they’re taking advantage of that,” Link said. “It’s time we take a stand for the people we represent and put them ahead of the profits of the pharmaceutical industry.”

Senate Bill 667 caps out of pocket insulin expenses at $100 for a 30-day supply and directs the Illinois Attorney General’s office to investigate reasons for rising insulin costs.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 30 million Americans with diabetes, 7.4 million of which require prescription insulin every day to survive. However, the increasing costs associated with the medication have led many patients to ration their supply or seek care outside of the country.

“For diabetics, this medication isn’t optional, it’s necessary to survive,” Link said. “In Illinois, we need to ensure that all people have access to the medication they need, and this legislation is a major step toward achieving that goal.”

The measure would make Illinois the second state in the country to cap out of pocket insulin costs. Colorado became the first earlier this year.

Senate Bill 667 passed the Senate by a vote of 48-07. It will now move to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Last week, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt (pictured below), Coach Porter Moser, and members of Loyola's men's basketball team were honored at the Capitol for their great March Madness run.

Senator Terry Link poses with Loyola Basketball Team Chaplain Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt during her visit to the Capitol

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