SPRINGFIELD, IL –Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) voted with his Democratic colleagues on a measure that will not only increase the tax on cigarettes $1.00 a pack, but also apply that tax to “roll your own” (RYO) cigarettes.  This closes a loophole that currently exists in state law.

“By increasing the cigarette tax, we are not only ensuring the stability of the Medicaid program, but also making sure hospitals in Illinois that provide charity care can keep their exemptions,” said Senator Link.  “The services they offer are vital to those who can’t afford health care by any other means.”

Senate Bill 2194 will cover a number of issues.  The measure will cover tobacco taxes for not only “roll your own machines” but also for cigarettes, snuff, cigars, and chewing tobacco.  The tax will help pay for the Medicaid program and provides for hospital property, sales, and income tax exemptions.

One benefit of this increase is that property tax exemptions for hospitals that provide charity care will remain intact.  In addition, $240 million will be put towards shoring up the Medicaid program.   Almost 2.7 million people in Illinois currently rely on Medicaid.   More than 60 percent of the recipients are children, about nine percent are adults with developmental disabilities, and just over six percent are seniors who primarily receive help paying for nursing home care.   

RYO machines use loose pipe tobacco and are currently taxed lower than commercially manufactured cigarettes.  In addition, cigarettes produced by these machines, or at “filling stations” as they are sometimes referred to, do not comply with current state and federal regulations concerning warning labels or fire standards.

Category: Releases
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) voted with the Senate Democratic Caucus today to pass a Medicaid overhaul measure that will ensure the continued viability of the program. “Illinois’ Medicaid program is one of the most concerning spending pressures on the state budget,” stated Link. “And without a fix, that backlog will balloon to $21 billion in just five years.” Almost 2.7 million people in Illinois, or about 21 percent of the state’s population, currently rely on Medicaid. More than 60% of those are children, about nine percent are adults with developmental disabilities, and just over six percent are seniors that primarily receive help paying for nursing home care. Since 2000, Medicaid enrollment has nearly doubled – 1.4 million to 2.7 million. More recently, the number of people on Medicaid has increased due to the recession. In fact, since 2007, almost 700,000 more people have qualified for Medicaid and by 2013, it is estimated that more than 150,000 more people will be eligible. Senate Bill creates the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together Act which aims to curb the State’s Medicaid programs growth and costs in the years to come without taking important services away from the neediest populations in Illinois. This measure has passed the Illinois Senate and the House of Representatives and now goes to Governor Quinn for his consideration.
Category: Releases

Senate President John J. Cullerton and Sen. Terry Link accepted awards this week from the American Lung Association of Illinois for their work and advocacy of Smoke Free Illinois.

This year marks the 5 year anniversary of the laws approval.

On January 1, 2008, all indoor workplaces and public places, including bars/taverns, restaurants, private clubs and casinos became smoke-free. Smoking was also prohibited within 15 feet of all entrances and exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes.

Kathy Drea, the American Lung Association Policy Director, praised the both Senators for their work on the issue. Drea thanked Sen. Link for keeping Illinois casinos smoke free while working with the gaming industry. Sen. Link has worked the past several years to bring more revenue to Illinois by expanding gaming in the State. Drea expressed gratitude towards Sen. Link for rejecting any plan to add exemptions to the original plan passed in 2008, particularly casinos.

Category: Releases

SPRINGFIELD, IL –Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) is sponsoring legislation that will ensure the rights of crime victims are protected under state law.

“I believe it is important that those who suffer a violent crime have the right to know what happens with the accused,” said Senator Terry Link.  “This measure will not only provide some safeguards for crime victims, but it also includes measures to help police officers learn to better communicate with crime victims and provides them with additional ways to explain to victims their rights under this act.”

House Bill 5187 amends the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act and provides that any law enforcement agency must provide a crime victim with a written statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims within 48 hours of initial contact with the victim. 

This legislation also provides that that when a defendant has been committed to any Department of Human Services facility, such as a mental health facility, the victim can request to be notified of any pass given to the defendant to leave the facility, as well as, being notified when the defendant is released, has escaped, or if the defendant has died.

Under current law, a statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims must be given to a crime victim at the initial contact with the criminal justice system by the appropriate authorities and must be conspicuously posted in all court facilities.   There is nothing in current law stating that the victim be notified of a change in the status of the defendant.

Category: Releases

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