biss floor may2Despite one of the more gridlocked legislative sessions I've experienced, I was fortunate to pass several bills this year that I'm confident will make a difference in the lives of Illinois residents. You can read more about the below. If you'd like to read my comments about some of the overarching issues of this session, please read my remarks here.

Conversion Therapy
This bill prohibits state licensed mental health professionals from providing so-called "conversion therapy" to minors in Illinois. This discredited practice is meant to change the sexual orientation of the client and can be harmful, even leading to suicide. Views on this topic are changing rapidly, as exemplified President Obama's recent statements opposing conversion therapy, and I'm pleased to move Illinois to the leading edge of efforts to protect our children.

Silver Search
The Silver Search program will give law enforcement additional tools to help locate a missing person who has Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. As our population ages, more and more people suffer from these diseases, and when such individuals wander off and get lost, every minute can be crucial to bringing them back to safety. I believe that Silver Search will save lives and give comfort to countless families.
Data Security
As technology changes, the corporations hold more and more personal data about all of us. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing when this data is lost, which can result in severe harm to consumers. This bill requires companies to provide notice when sensitive data about our location or consumer habits is breached, thus restoring Illinois's status as a national leader on consumer protection and data security.

SNAP Expansion
Under this new legislation, Illinois will expanded the threshold under which Illinoisans can qualify for food stamp benefits. This will enable us to capture $60 million from the federal government to feed working families living in poverty, without requiring the state to foot the bill.

Health Care Right of Conscience
This bill amends the Health Care Right of Conscience Act to ensure that patients have complete timely access to medically accurate information, regardless of the religious views of their doctor or hospital -- while at the same time ensuring the health care providers retain their first amendment freedoms. It passed the Senate but not yet passed the House so we still have some work ahead of us.

Pension Payment Intercepts
Any long-term solution to our pension debt problem must include mechanisms to ensure that employers make their full required pension payments -- after all, inadequate pension payments were what got us where we are today. I sponsored a bill to achieve this goal for many of the Chicago and Cook County pension systems, and while it did not become law, many of its provisions did pass in several other bills.

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