032123CM0010sSPRINGFIELD – To increase communication between schools and students, State Senator Laura Murphy is leading a measure to include parents in meetings regarding students being transferred to alternative schools.

“When transferred to an alternative school, students and their families are often left in the dark,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “It is essential that students and their parents know the requirements to return to the regular school when it is in their best interests. Transparency is key.”

Alternative schools are designed to educate students who have not been successful in regular schools, due to either behavioral or discipline issues. Both the sending school and the alternative school hold meetings regarding the student and establish an alternative education plan for them. Murphy’s measure would ensure that students and their parents or guardians are invited to participate in the meetings.

Before the effective date of the student’s transfer, the parents or guardians must be provided with the specific nature of the curriculum, number of students in the school, available services, disciplinary policies, typical daily schedule and extracurricular activities, under Murphy’s proposal.

“Transfers to alternative schools are meant to ensure the student is successful –they are meant to aid in educating students who are not flourishing in traditional environments,” Murphy said. “We want them to succeed – that is why it’s best to keep lines of communication open and establish expectations for the student to succeed.”

Senate Bill 183 passed the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further deliberation.

032223CM0062sSPRINGFIELD – To address the growing need for direct support professionals, State Senator Laura Murphy is leading legislation to provide college students with hands-on training and experience in the field.

“We are facing a crisis amongst providers to our disability community,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “It has been exacerbated post-pandemic, as we face an even greater shortage of disability workers who serve our most vulnerable community members.”

This legislation would require the Illinois Community College Board to create a model program of study for college students to receive class credit that incorporates the training and experience necessary to serve as direct support professionals. If adopted, the program would begin in the 2026-2027 academic year.

This builds upon the Murphy-supported legislation passed in the 102nd General Assembly, which created a pilot program for high school students to train and become certified to join the existing disability specialist workforce after graduation, which began in the 2022-2023 academic year.

According to a 2022 survey of Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities members, 28% of providers are unable to accept new patients and 72% of providers have delayed service expansion due to staffing shortages.

“Many young people are passionate about disability services, but may be hesitant to start a career in this field because a lack of hands-on training,” Murphy said. “This measure would take the delay away and encourage students to pursue their goals of working as a Direct Support Professional.”

Senate Bill 1558 passed the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further deliberation.

030923CM0340sSPRINGFIELD – In order to protect victims of wrongful foreclosures that occurred during the COVID pandemic, State Senator Laura Murphy has introduced a bill that would seal foreclosure records that were initiated during the foreclosure moratoria.

“Many families struggled with job and income losses due to the pandemic. As a result, they fell behind on rent and mortgage payments,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “Despite the protections put in place at the state and federal level, many families wrongfully lost their homes. We need to do our part to ensure that our hardworking families do not suffer from the negative impacts of foreclosure.”

The measure would allow a mortgagor to request that foreclosure records be sealed if they were meant to be protected under the moratoria enacted by the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Corporation, the Federal Housing Administration, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to ATTOM, a property and real estate data platform, nationally nearly 12,000 properties had foreclosure filings in October 2020. In October 2021, one in every 1,923 homes in Illinois faced foreclosure. Chicago ranked fourth among cities with a population of at least 220,000 with one in every 2,284 homes facing foreclosure.

“Foreclosures on an individual’s record can have countless impacts, including their ability to qualify for another mortgage, which will only perpetuate the cycle started by these wrongful foreclosures,” said Murphy. “I want to protect the families of Illinois, and prevent wrongful foreclosures from sabotaging their futures.”

Senate Bill 201 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further deliberation.

030823CM0538.JPGSPRINGFIELD – Libraries may have an easier time acquiring e-book and e-audiobook licenses thanks to a new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy that would allow the State Librarian to negotiate with publishers on behalf of libraries.

“Allowing the State Librarian to negotiate on behalf of libraries will help streamline the process of acquiring e-books and e-audiobooks significantly increase the use among adults and children alike,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “Right now licenses to access this technology are often prohibitively expensive, restrictive or just not available.”

The measure would allow the Secretary of State, acting as the State Librarian, to negotiate with publishers of e-books and e-audiobooks on behalf of libraries to enable to acquisition of necessary licenses.

Consumption of digital books has been on the rise for more than a decade. According to Pew Research Center, the number of adults who read e-books has increased by 13% since 2011, and during the same time, the number of audiobook listeners increased by 12%. Since 2019, adults in households earning less than $30,000 have seen an 8% increase in audiobook listening.

“Our libraries are often going without access to these useful resources due to their inability to negotiate reasonable terms,” said Murphy. “E-books and e-audiobooks are incredible tools that can encourage our children to love reading and help individuals with disabilities connect with reading again.”

Senate Bill 2419 passed the Senate State Government Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate floor for further deliberation.

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Springfield, IL 62706
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Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
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