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SPRINGFIELD – A new measure in Illinois may soon raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings helped pass House Bill 345, prohibiting the purchase or possession of alternative nicotine products, electronic cigarettes and tobacco products by individuals under the age of 21.

Hastings said this law could dramatically lower the number of people who start smoking and become addicted to smoking by preventing sale during the brain’s developmental teen years.

“More than 90 percent of smokers pick up smoking before the age of 21,” Hastings said. “This new law will help us curb teen tobacco use and help save lives.”

Raising the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products from 18 to 21 is a fast-growing, nationally-recognized youth tobacco prevention strategy. Illinois will be joining California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine and Oregon as states that have enacted statewide Tobacco 21 laws.

“This initiative is a major step forward in improving the health of residents and improving our quality of life in our state,” Hastings said. “Tobacco 21 will double down on our efforts to reduce the number of teen smokers, moving us one step closer to a healthier, smoke-free Illinois.”

Limiting access to cigarettes has proven effective in reducing the rate of tobacco use among teens. In October 2014, Evanston became the first Illinois community to adopt Tobacco 21. Since then, tobacco use among high schoolers has dropped by 37.5 percent in that community.

HB 345 now goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – A package of legislation to improve accessibility to mental health treatment was announced this morning at a news conference with Illinois lawmakers.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings is the sponsor of two pieces of legislation that are a part of this initiative.

“It’s no secret that we have a societal problem on our hands with the accessibility of mental health treatment,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “We must make sure those who need help are able to receive it as quickly and safely as possible. This package is a necessary step as we in the Illinois Senate look to make mental health treatments more accessible to those in need.”

SB 1715 ensures that pharmacists, in addition to physicians, would be able to administer long-term mental health treatments via injection efficiently and safely, as long as a prescription from a physician is present.

Under SB 1716, it would be a requirement for both the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and any Medicaid managed care organization to cover any mental health treatments listed in a published Mental Health Manual, making treatment more easily accessible. At this time both the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Medicaid managed care organizations have their own unique preferred drug lists.

“The inaccessibility of necessary treatments is a major reason we have so many people suffering from mental health disorders,” Hastings said. “As lawmakers we must take it upon ourselves to make treatment as affordable and accessible as possible, and we will continue to make strides with similar legislation.”

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is pleased to announce that two community parks will receive $400,000 in funding for additional development.

“Clean and well-developed parks and recreation facilities are an integral part of every community in the South Suburbs, providing endless benefits for my constituents,” Hastings said. “The improvements funded by this grant will provide a space for families and friends to gather and enjoy time together.”

The Leigh Creek South Park at Heather Glen sponsored by the New Lenox Community Park District and the Saint Boniface Park sponsored by the Tinley Park Park District will both receive development funds via the State of Illinois’ Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program (OSLAD).

The two parks in the 19th District that were recognized are among 89 local outdoor recreation projects, representing $28,974,000 in funding assistance provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ OSLAD program.

“I’m thankful the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recognized communities in my district as being worthy of development funding,” Hastings said. “These projects add further value to the communities of the 19th District, and I look forward to taking an active role I their progress.”

Category: Press Releases

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SPRINGFIELD – To promote stability for working-class families in Illinois, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) voted in favor of Senate Bill 1, which was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker this week.

“The passage of this historic measure is long overdue,” Hastings said. “Over the past decade, workers have not seen a change in the minimum wage, but they have seen an increase in the cost of living. Ensuring that working families have a sense of sense of dignity, fairness, and stability in everyday life is an accomplishment I’m very proud of.”

The last time the General Assembly raised the minimum wage was in 2010. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, the current wage would be nearly $10 an hour. According to a 2017 report by the Washington Post, a full-time worker would need to earn $21 an hour to afford the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment in Illinois.

“My district voted in 2014 to increase the minimum wage and I heard them. I also heard those that work in industries like home health care and those with developmental disabilities, many of whom earn the minimum wage. They have tough jobs and deserve to get paid a fair working wage,” Hastings said. “But it is important to take into consideration how employers and businesses implement the wage increase.”

Senate Bill 1 includes tax credit to small businesses to assist with the implementation of the higher wages. The credit is available to all qualified employers who must withhold taxes from employee wages.

Senate Bill 1 will phase in a higher minimum wage according to the following schedule:
• $9.25 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020
• $10 per hour on July 1, 2020
• $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021
• $12 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022
• $13 per hour on Jan. 1, 2023
• $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2024
• $15 per hour on and after Jan. 1, 2025

Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR HASTINGS

Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
118 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
813 School Ave
Matteson, IL 60443

District Office:
20855 South LaGrange Road
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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