Simmons Remote LearningSPRINGFIELD – To provide students in custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections a chance to continue to earn an education while serving their time, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to allow students to attend classes remotely.

“I want the youth of our state, regardless of their situation, to be able to access a quality education,” Simmons said. “Allowing students in custody to continue their education will give them a better chance at having a positive outcome when re-entering society.”

Simmons’ measure would create a pilot program to allow remote learning for students of Consuella B. York Alternative High School that are in the custody of the IDOC. If successful, the program could roll out in other alternative schools across Illinois. California currently has programs that allow inmates to work towards their Bachelor’s Degree. Research from the Cal Matters Organization shown such programs have contributed to improving opportunities and lowered recidivism rates.

“The goal of any incarceration program is to reform people of past actions and provide opportunities for education and career placement,” Simmons said. “This program will provide such opportunities and will provide youth a second chance.”

House Bill 5016 passed the Senate Education Committee and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons KidsSPRINGFIELD – To better protect the interests of children with incarcerated parents in Illinois, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the Commission on Children of Incarcerated Parents.

“The youth that fall into this tragic category are in some of the greatest need of help,” Simmons said. “They experience untreated trauma that hinder their unrealized potential in life.”

The Commission, housed within the Department of Human Services, shall be responsible for implementing and coordinating the recommendations of the Task Force on Children of Incarcerated Parents with state agencies. The task force, created in 2020 will propose the changes, and the Commission will work with agencies on how to properly implement said changes.

Children with incarcerated parents are more likely than other children to experience poor health and unmet health care needs, as well as poor eating and sleep behaviors. Children with incarcerated parents are also associated with greater mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, lower educational attainment, and higher rates of aggressive behavior.

“I hope this work will bring forth the necessary change at the agency level for the youth affected,” Simmons said. “We focus a great deal of the person who commits the crime and not enough at the collateral effect of people connected to the situation.”

House Bill 5525 passed the Senate State Government Committee and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons Men rSPRINGFIELD – To better inform and raise awareness for health issues that particularly effect men, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to create the division of men’s health within the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Health Promotion.

“We know that men are less likely to go see a doctor or other healthcare professional when they are not feeling right,” Simmons said. “They may end up missing their body’s signs of sickness and eventually progress to disease – especially if they are not educated on signs to lookout for.”

Life expectancy of men remains more than five years less than women, and men lead in nine of the top ten causes of death in the United States. Simmons’ measure would raise awareness of health issues particular to men that are not currently or adequately addressed by IPDH, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, smoking cessation, heart disease, and mental health.

“This measure will raise awareness of health issues millions of men suffer from each day,” Simmons said. “I am proud to help usher in a new era of communication and prevention for men across the state.”

House Bill 4589 passed the Senate Healthcare Access and Availability Committee and awaits further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Simmons HIV Bill rSPRINGFIELD – To provide people more accessibility to take care of their sexual health, State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) is leading a measure to allow pharmacists to provide HIV tests and preventative medications to help reduce new HIV infections.

Simmons’ measure would allow pharmacists to dispense and administer drugs, order laboratory tests, and consult individuals related to HIV pre-exposure drugs (PrEP) and post-exposure drugs (PEP). Pharmacists would first have to complete an educational training course on the administration of tests and medications prior to being permitted to assist patients. 

“We are working to cut down on wait times and eliminate a well-documented systemic barrier to health care for people to get the potentially life-saving medication they need,” Simmons said. Doing so will especially help reduce new HIV infections among cisgender Black women, LGBTQ+ people, Latinos, and those who lack health insurance.”

Under current law, pharmacists in Illinois are not permitted to consult or assess individuals on HIV infections. Pharmacists are also not permitted to administer or dispense preventative medications without a prescription from a health care provider.

“Far too many people in Illinois lack regular access to a doctor,” Simmons said. “Increasing access to PrEP and PEP medication through community-based pharmacies will save lives.”

If passed, this bill may help reduce new HIV cases by up to 90% by 2030. Biomedical solutions PrEP and PEP medications are up to 99% effective in preventing HIV when taken as prescribed, according to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

House Bill 4430 passed the Senate Executive Committee and awaits further consideration.


Category: Press Releases

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