• RSS News – Lou Lang

    • Illinois medical marijuana: $100 for patient card - Quad City Times April 18, 2014
      Illinois medical marijuana: $100 for patient cardQuad City TimesComplaints poured in from gun owners. Many said their rights were being trampled. "I'm happy to see that they have changed the provision," said Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, who sponsored the medical cannabis legislation and sits on the committee ...and more »
    • 'Epidemic' of heroin addiction facing state, house committee hears - Chicago Daily Herald April 17, 2014
      'Epidemic' of heroin addiction facing state, house committee hearsChicago Daily HeraldDan Brady, David Harris, Lou Lang, Michelle Mussman and Mike McAuliffe -- attended the hearing, and said the testimony would be passed on to the rest of their committee. Advertisement. This was the second of four meetings being held around Illinois to ...
    • Odds may finally favor a Chicago casino — if Madigan is dealing: Brown - Chicago Sun-Times April 17, 2014
      Odds may finally favor a Chicago casino — if Madigan is dealing: BrownChicago Sun-TimesLou Lang of Skokie backed off his longtime sponsorship of casino expansion legislation because of a potential conflict of interest. But some of those in attendance who specialize in reading Madigan tea leaves were sure they perceived the speaker's ...and more »
    • Addiction treatment specialists say state funding is too low - nwitimes.com April 16, 2014
      Addiction treatment specialists say state funding is too lownwitimes.comLou Lang, D-Skokie, started a task force to examine possible legislative efforts to help the state's treatment system. “It's definitely going to be a problem moving forward,” Lang said. “Our state investment in prevention and treatment has gone down ...
    • New Chicago casino plan rises, but rocks ahead - Crain's Chicago Business (blog) April 16, 2014
      New Chicago casino plan rises, but rocks aheadCrain's Chicago Business (blog)Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, who has taken over sponsorship of casino legislation from Skokie Democrat Lou Lang, who recently walked away from the issue after years of frustration. One version of the measure, an amendment to SB 1739, would authorize five ...
    • Lawmakers Discuss Heroin - Alton Daily News April 17, 2014
      Alton Daily NewsLawmakers Discuss HeroinAlton Daily NewsThe chairman of the task force, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), says with that information, lawmakers are better equipped to discuss possible solutions to the heroin problem. “And then we're going to have many additional hearings in various places ...
    • Addiction experts: Cuts could hurt drug treatment - Bradenton Herald April 16, 2014
      Addiction experts: Cuts could hurt drug treatmentBradenton HeraldLou Lang has started a task force to look at legislative ways to help treatment systems. He says decreased investment in prevention and treatment has "come back to haunt us." Alan Sender is chief operating officer for Chestnut Health Systems in ...
    • Illinois Rep Bob Rita OffersTwo Plans for Chicago Casino Expansion - Casino.Org News April 18, 2014
      Casino.Org NewsIllinois Rep Bob Rita OffersTwo Plans for Chicago Casino ExpansionCasino.Org News... as they want even more slots available at their tracks. With so much opposition from around the state, many lawmakers feel that only a broader gambling bill has any chance of success. “Rita's worked very hard on this,” said Lou Lang (D-Skokie ...and more  […]
    • Berrios gets new term as county Democratic boss - Crain's Chicago Business (blog) April 16, 2014
      Berrios gets new term as county Democratic bossCrain's Chicago Business (blog)... support to lead this great party," he told committeemen. "When we stay together, we stay strong together." Ms. Preckwinkle and state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, will continue to serve as executive vice chairs of the party. Follow Greg on Twitter at ...and more  […]
    • Producer Bob Ezrin Listens to the Barefoot MM27 Sound - Consumer Electronics Net April 18, 2014
      Producer Bob Ezrin Listens to the Barefoot MM27 SoundConsumer Electronics Net... with many of the world's most celebrated contemporary artists, including, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, U2, Peter Gabriel, Deep Purple, Lang Lang, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, K'naan, will.i.am, Zucchero, Green Day, Elton John, Lou Reed, Rod Stewart and many ...
  • RSS Blogs – Lou Lang

Illinois Legislative Maps Are Not Yet Drawn, Lou Lang Says

(Skokie, IL) — April 24, 2011. Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) today attempted to squelch claims that maps have already been drawn in the Illinois redistricting process, saying such claims are “untrue.”

Noting that the Illinois House is conducting 15 state-wide redistricting hearings–11 more than required by law–Lang said, “There are some people in our communities who are claiming the maps have already been drawn. That is untrue.”

Lang said lawmakers are seeking map input from local communities and soliciting actual maps from citizens and interest groups.

“At my last hearing in Aurora, a witness claim that he had drawn the ‘perfect map’,” said Lang. “I asked him for the map, which he had colored in by pencil, but refused to submit the because he said ‘it still needs work’”.

The legislature is expected to approve the 118 state house, 59 state senate and the 18 congressional maps by May 31.

As a result of the U.S. census, Illinois is losing one of its 19 existing congressional seats under the new map.

Rutherford, Topinka Divisions Stall Quinn Effort to Overcome Bills Backlog

(Springfield, IL) – Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka can both agree on a plan to merge their offices, but short-term borrowing is a different thing.

Republicans opposed Gov. Pat Quinn‘s plan to borrow $8.75 billion to help the state pay off its debt of $9 billion to $10 billion. Quinn wants to borrow $2 billion in short-term loans to help pay the state’s backlog of bills.

Any short-term borrowing must win the OK from both financial offices.

Rutherford, a Republican, met privately with Quinn, a Democrat, and his budget office staff. Rutherford said he told the governor he doesn’t approve of a multi-billion dollar borrowing plan, which would require repayment with interest at the end of 14 years.

“I told him I don’t support the $8.7 billion borrowing plan; 14-year payment ballooned at the end,” Rutherford said. “I said ‘I don’t support any of that stuff, but I will work with you on short-term borrowing, which I can either sign-off on that or not.’”

States were provided with about $80 billion from the federal stimulus fund, which provides an enhanced Medicaid match rate to hospitals and nursing homes if states make payments within 30 days. Since March 31, Illinois’ match dropped from 59 percent to 57 percent early this month. By July 1, the match will drop to 50 percent.

“We do not want to leave over $200 million in federal match on the table,” Quinn’s spokeswoman Kelly Kraft said.

“We want to get this debt restructured, so we can take advantage of an extra $200 million that we could use for programs in our state. We want to get these bills paid. And the sooner we do that, the more match we get.”

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Lang, Durkin Push Illinois Investment Board to Conduct Independent Investigation of College Illinois! Investment Losses

(Springfield, IL) — April 18, 2011. A recent state audit revealed one of the state’s “low-risk” prepaid tuition programs is underfunded by 31 percent and wasted millions on “risky” investments last year. But state legislators say there is more to uncover.

House lawmakers this week unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an investigation into the investment practices of the state’s College Illinois. Families make payments to “lock in” present rates to pay for future tuition at Illinois colleges or universities, according to its website.

Approximately 55,000 students participate statewide.

State Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, is chief sponsor of House Resolution 174. He invested in a 15-year contract with the program for his 9-year-old daughter.

“I thought it was a good, safe investment,” Durkin said, “… to ensure that my daughter would have an affordable education available for her by the time she graduates from high school.”

The office of Illinois Auditor General William Holland released a report last week raising red flags about the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s investment losses and questionable business practices concerning College Illinois.

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Illinois House Advances Rep. Lou Lang’s Mental Health Parity Enforcement Plan

(Springfield, IL) – A legislative plan to put state enforcement power behind a new federal mental health parity law is advancing in the Illinois General Assembly.

The legislation, House Bill 1530, which the Illinois House approved, 79-32, on April 6, upgrades Illinois’ existing mental health insurance parity law to match federal requirements approved in July 2010 and to give the Illinois Department Insurance the power to enforce the federal standards.

“Federal enforcement is a more remote, lighter touch, relying on telephone calls and mail,” said House Deputy Majority Lou Lang (D-Skokie).

“By matching state law to the federal standards, the Illinois Insurance Department can enforce the federal standards more aggressively than the federal government could by virtue of state face-to-face enforcement activities.”

Lang noted that neither the federal nor state law mandate mental health insurance as defined benefit, but require mental health coverage if other health benefits are offered.

“The federal law does not require coverage for mental and emotional disorders, but does require parity if such coverage is offered for hospital or medical treatment,” said Lang.

In addition to bringing Illinois’s mental health law into compliance with federal standards, Lang’s bill also adds substance abuse treatment and autism care to the list of parity required health insurance benefits.

“Addiction health care and autism health care are vital parts of the broader field of behavioral health care,” said Lang. “And their inclusion as part of a insurance parity framework is critical.”

These provisions are applicable to any plan of a small employer (with 2-50 employees), according to Lang.

“Again, the law does not require coverage for mental, substance abuse or autism,” said Lang. “It only requires parity if other health care treatments are offered.”

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Michael McRaith has noted before an earlier House committee hearing that the independent U.S. Congressional Budget Office found that parity would only cause health insurance premiums to rise by 0.4 percent.

Moreover, research shows that patients that have completed substance use disorder treatment have been shown to reduce emergency room visits by 39%, hospital stays by 35% and total medical costs by 26%.

“House approval of this legislation is an important step toward bringing health insurance parity to addiction health care,” said Lang. “However, the Senate is another key legislative hurdle in the process.”

In addition to Lang, other House sponsors include State Reps: Robyn Gabel (D), William Davis (D), Naomi Jakobsson (D), Fred Crespo (D), Dave Winters (R), Al Riley (R), Sara Feigenholtz (D) Mary Flowers (D) Joe Lyons (D), Maria Antonia Berrios (D), Jack Franks (D), Keith Farnham (D), Linda Chapa LaVia (D), Camille Lilly (D), Cynthia Soto (D), Ann Williams (D), Elizabeth Hernandez (D), John D’Amico (D), Daniel Biss (D), Pat Verschoore (D), and Harry Osterman (D).

Illinois House Presses for Less Spending in Next Year’s Illinois Budget

(Springfield, IL) – As the Illinois House of Representatives and Gov. Pat Quinn duke it out in the state budget ring, the House is about $3 billion lighter compared to the governor’s spending fund.

From the House’s $33.2 billion fiscal year 2012 budget plan, lawmakers set aside $23.8 billion to fund state agencies and services.

Quinn has a $26.9 billion spending fund for state agencies and services. The governor said the state should not forget about the “fundamental things in life (such as) public safety, health care and education.” He has strongly criticized the House’s projected “radical severe” cuts in education funding.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago this week outlined the House budget proposal’s spending — for instance $12 billion for human services and $8.9 billion for education. The Quinn administration, meanwhile, would hand out $12.9 billion to human services and $9.5 billion to education.

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Channel 17 NBC TV in Decatur Features Illinois Medical Marijuana Legislation

(Springfield, IL) – April 4, 2011. Channel 17 WAND/NBC TV in Decatur, which also covers Springfield and Champaign, has produced a feature on House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang‘s legislation that permit the use of medical marijuana in Illinois for individuals who suffer from chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions, such as Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.

The Illinois House Human Services Committee has already approved the legislation, House Bill 30, by a 6-5 vote, to allow patients to posses 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for a 14-day period in which the need has been certified, in many cases, by two, separate doctors.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, and I know a majority of lawmakers recognize the underlying medical benefits of medical marijuana,” said Lang.

The bill now faces consideration by the full House.

Watch the broadcast here …

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