Senator Barickman’s Senate Week in Review: March 16

The Illinois Senate passed a series of controversial gun control measures this week. In other action, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure that will ensure continued federal support for quality healthcare to more than three million Illinois residents, as well as appointed a new Executive Inspector General.

Senate passes multiple gun measures

This week, the Senate passed three gun control bills.

House Bill 1465 makes it illegal for anyone younger than age of 21 to purchase or posess “assault weapons” or magzines that hold more than 10 rounds. Opponents argued that the bill was written too broadly and could cause unintended legal issues.

House Bill 1467 bans bump-stocks and trigger cranks along with undoing a provision of the state’s concealed carry law that would prevent concealed carry rules from changing between municipalities. Lawmakers weren’t allowed to vote on other “clean” bipartisan bump-stock bans that wouldn’t create problems with concealed carry. Opponents argued that this bill, unlike the other “clean” bills would likely lead to a confusing patchwork of firearm laws that would potentially endanger law-abiding concealed carry card holders.

House Bill 1468 requires a new, longer 72-hour waiting period to obtain certain firearms. Opponents argued the new rule would be confusing for businesses to determine which firearms were included.

Senator Barickman voted “no” to all three bills, and noted that there was no action allowed on numerous bi-partisan bills that would more effectively combat gun violence.

Ensuring quality medical care for the most vulnerable

Gov. Rauner signed bipartisan legislation this week that protects safety net and rural hospitals while ensuring continued federal support for quality healthcare to more than three million Illinoisans.

Senate Bill 1773 ensures the state will continue to receive federal matching funds to offer services for Medicaid beneficiaries through the Hospital Assessment Program, which brings in $3.5 billion annually.

The Hospital Assessment Program is set to expire at the end of June. A bipartisan group of legislators worked with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to redesign the program, create a more equitable reimbursement process, and ensure more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

The state currently uses old data sets, sometimes based on care that was provided as far back as 2005, to reimburse hospitals for Medicaid services. The new model will use updated data and also ensure that more of the reimbursements are based on actual services hospitals provide. It also dedicates more than $260 million to help hospitals transform their operations to better serve their communities, such as offering more urgent and outpatient care.

The Federal government will need to sign off on the new terms of the program before it can take effect.

Governor announces new Executive Inspector General

On March 14, Gov. Rauner appointed Susan Hailing as Executive Inspector General. Hailing was previously first assistant Inspector General in Illinois, racking up more than six years of experience in the Office of the Inspector General. She is also a former Assistant U.S. Attorney with more than nine years of experience.

Hailing will succeed Maggie Hickey who has served in the Office since 2015.

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