Illinois House Declares “Heroin State of Emergency”

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House has voted unanimously, 108-0, to declare a “heroin state of emergency” in Illinois.

House lawmakers voted last week for House Resolution 883 not only to declare a “Heroin State of Emergency in Illinois” but also to call on the legislature to seek a comprehensive legislative “road map” to address the problem.

The resolution, which has 50 House sponsors, is the initial step by the new House Task Force on Heroin Crisis which is set to address Illinois’ growing heroin epidemic.

“Given that the heroin crisis plaguing Illinois – and particularly middle class families in Cook, in the Collar Counties, and Downstate – is continuing unabated, it is clear what we’re doing now is failing,” said House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) the task force’s chairman.

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) appointed Lang several weeks ago to lead the bi-partisan panel that will hold public hearings in Chicago, the suburbs, and Downstate.

“As lawmakers, we are aware in our own districts that we have a problem and a growing epidemic,” said Lang. “House Resolution 883 officially recognizes the problem and the statewide reach of the crisis and our need to seek creative solutions to combat this plague.”

Lang said that his intention would be to hold multiple public hearings during the course of the spring legislative session and praised the bi-partisan nature of the task force, and the first hearing scheduled for Chicago at the Bilandic Building on Tuesday, April 15 at 1:30 p.m.

“The panel aims to draft an actionable legislative agenda that demonstrates that both Democrats and Republicans are taking a leadership role in addressing an issue that worries families and law enforcement alike,” said Lang.

“Events are boosting the profile of both heroin in particular and addiction treatment policy in general – and it’s revealing that we’re losing this fight,” Lang said.

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Lou Lang Blasts Illinois House Republicans for Blocking Crime Victim Rights Measure

(Springfield, IL) — April 16, 2010. Despite Republican sponsorship of the legislative measure to enshrine Illinois crime victim rights into the Illinois Constitution, the bulk of Illinois House Republicans on Wednesday voted against a constitutional amendment, causing the plan to fail and drawing a harsh rebuke from the plan’s Democratic sponsor.

“The vote against this amendment was Republican politics at its most petty,” said House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) who has championed House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 19 for the last two years.

During the floor debate, Lang trained his fire on State Rep. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) who echoed GOP claims that Lang’s amendment was part of a Democratic plot to stuff the November ballot–which is limited to only 3 constitutional amendments–with Democratic-only amendments.

“You think that two years ago I decided to spend two years of my life working on this amendment just so you could vote no on it because you think there’s some conspiracy is really kind of insulting,” said Lang, according to Chicago Public Radio which covered the political fireworks.

“… Representative Lang, sir, two weeks ago we passed a bill that does exactly what you want to do,” retorted Rose.

Lang argued that a constitutional amendment ensures that enforcement is reinforcement.

“A constitutional amendment gives teeth to the victim rights protections,” said Lang. “Tragically, the Republicans placed grubby politics above crime victims.”

Lang intends to bring the measure back for another vote.