Hastings041013br0146SPRINGFIELD – Yesterday, the Senate passed a measure that will help the family of a law enforcement officer who takes his or her own life due to mental health issues stemming from active duty.

Senate Bill 1653, sponsored by State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Hills), allows the survivors of a law enforcement officer who takes his or her own life to be able to petition the Court of Claims for line-of-duty compensation – financial assistance given to the family of a fallen public safety officer. A mental health professional must establish that the suicide was a result of mental illness arising from the officer’s active duty service.

“Suicide is an unfortunate reality in our society,” Hastings said. “Not only do we have an obligation to ensure officers have access to treatment to help prevent these instances from occurring, but we also have an obligation to assist the families overcome these tragic incidences when they occur.”

Suicide rates for law enforcement officers are higher than the general population. According to a 2012 study, suicides occur 1.5 times more frequently among law enforcement officials than in the general population. Law enforcement officers kill themselves at a rate of 18/100,000 vs. 12/100,000 for the rest of the US. 

“Law enforcement officers perform their duties in constant, high-stress situations on a day-to-day basis,” Hastings said. “They interact with individuals suffering from physical and psychological trauma and are often put in high-risk situations where mistakes can lead to fatal results.”

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President, Michael Shields, indicated that this measure should have been included in the initial passage of the Line-Of-Duty Compensation Act.

“Suicide is something that, unfortunately, plagues police departments across the state of Illinois,” Michael Shields said. “This is something that should have been included initially when the line-of-duty death benefit became law and this was our way of following through to ensure that families that have already suffered such a devastating loss aren’t left penniless.”

Senate Bill 1653 passed the Senate 54-0 and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Park) made the following statement after the governor's 2014 budget address today:

“I’m more disappointed in what I didn’t hear from the governor, rather than what I did hear. The governor’s proposed budget cuts nearly $400 million from education and he failed to address that in his budget speech. We cannot keep cutting funds to education. I plan to work with other lawmakers to address those cuts and find new ways to generate revenue for our schools.” 

Category: Press Releases

Last week, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Orland Hills) introduced legislation granting Illinois residency to veterans who are entitled to educational assistance under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program. Granting veterans residency allows them to qualify for in-state tuition, thus lowering the cost of tuition fees and rates. 

Hastings’ bill would resolve a disparity in the Post-9/11 Education Assistance Program that inadvertently burdened a significant number of American veterans with thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket tuition and fees based on residency status.

“The Post-9/11 Education Assistance Program is a great initiative and investment in the future of our most recent generation of veterans,” Hastings said. “Unfortunately, veterans are having difficulties obtaining state residency, which results in higher tuition and fees. The proposal I introduced would grant Illinois residency to veterans using the Assistance Program and attending an Illinois public university or community college.”

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act is a federal law passed in 2008 to provide financial assistance to veterans wanting to enroll in college after finishing active duty. The law applies to veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Assisting our veterans in their transition to civilian life is an important priority,” Hastings said. “Fortunately, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides an opportunity for veterans to get the proper education they need to find good-paying jobs after they finish serving their country.”

Hastings proposal, Senate Bill 2167, was introduced and awaits further action by the Senate.

Category: Press Releases

120SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Orland Hills) joined other freshman members of the General Assembly on Wednesday for the second meeting of Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s Firearms Working Group. 

“Today, we brought in advocates and opponents of concealed carry and other firearm legislation,” Hastings said. “I think that we made progress in educating all parties on both sides of the firearms issues.”

The group spoke with representatives from opposing sides of the gun-control debate currently taking place in the state. Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, and Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, spoke about current concealed-carry proposals.

Colleen Daley, executive director of Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence, and Tom Vanden Berk, board member of the Brady Campaign/Million Mom March, advocated for the need to pass a responsible concealed-carry bill.

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Category: Press Releases

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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:
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Springfield, IL 62706
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