Haine, Lang Announce Illinois State Police Reverse Opposition to Illinois Medical Marijuana Legislation

State Senator William Haine

(Springfield, IL) – May 5, 2010.  State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) and House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) yesterday announced the Illinois State Police are no longer opposed to medical marijuana use in Illinois.

Lang and Haine met with Captain Timothy Becker of the Illinois State Police earlier and Becker informed the lawmakers that the Illinois Department of State Police had changed its position on Senate Bill 1381, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, from opposition to neutrality.

“I am extremely pleased by Illinois State Police’s decision, because it improves the probability of the bill’s approval,” said Lang.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions and the Illinois State Police recognize that,” he said.

Haine said he believed the Department changed its position after carefully reviewing the legislation and recognizing the safeguards will protect patients, caregivers and the public.

Haine also noted that in a number of states, police organizations have removed their objections after a period of observing their laws in operation.

“As a former State’s Attorney, I have the greatest respect for the police organizations of our State and local governments.  This change of position demonstrates what we have known all along, and that is that our State police organization is focused first and foremost on criminal activities as it relates to illegal substances,” Haine said.

“The State Police’s compassion for the seriously ill matches our own,” Lang said. “No one should be denied medicine that might improve their life’s quality.”

In addition to Haine, Senate sponsors include: Iris Martinez (D), Jeff Schoenberg (D), Donne Trotter (D), Kwame Raoul (D), Linda Holmes (D), and Ira Silverstein (D).

Other House sponsors include: Angelo  “Skip” Saviano (R), John Fritchey (D), Karen Yarbrough (D), Ken Dunkin (D), Greg Harris (D), Cynthia Soto (D), Robyn Gabel (D), and Camille Lilly (D).

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Lou Lang Urges Pat Quinn to Sign Election of Governor-Lt. Governor on Same Ticket Bill

(Springfield, IL) — April 29, 2010. The Illinois Senate yesterday approved 56-0 legislation to require candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run as a team during a primary election.

The measure, House Bill 5820, comes on the heels of the 2010 primary which witnessed the election of the disgraced Scott Lee Cohen in the Democratic primary and the inexperienced 27-year old Jason Plummer in the Republican primary.

The bill’s chief sponsor, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said, “This bill should once and for all end the election of odd-ball, dubious candidates by the established parties because the gubernatorial candidates will need to screen the background of their running mates.”

In addition to Lang, House sponsors included State Representatives: Art Turner (D), Paul Froehlich (D), Cynthia Soto (D), Karen Yarbrough (D),  Daniel Beiser (D) and  Barbara Flynn Currie (D).

Turner was a candidate for Lt. Governor and took second place behind Cohen.

The legislation now heads to Governor Pat Quinn.

“I strongly encourage the Governor to sign this bill,” said Lang.

Lang Hopefull on Illinois Medical Marijuana Approval

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois medical marijuana bill did not come to a vote in the Illinois House before Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative deadline expired on May 31, but House sponsor State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) remains hopeful.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1381, passed both the Senate 30-28 and the House Human Services Committee 4-3

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), left, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), left, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

last week, but still lacked enough votes in the full House.

“Although (the) top priority was the tax bill, I think the time has come for Illinois to enact a medical marijuana law. We just need to shore up a few votes before calling this bill to the floor,” said Lang, a Deputy Majority Leader and chief House sponsor of the plan.

State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

“It was dramatic that the bill got out of the Senate,” Haine said in an interview with the Alton Telegraph. “We had a busy spring. This bill was one of hundreds. It had one of the highest profiles because it surrounded the whole debate on drugs and marijuana and came with a lot of baggage.”

Lawmakers retun to Springfield for the veto session in the fall.

Other legislative sponsors:

State Senators: Iris Martinez, Jeff Schoenberg, Donne Trotter, Kwame Raoul and Linda Holmes.

State Representatives: Angelo Saviano, John Fritchey, and Karen Yarbrough.

TV Ad Campaign Boosts Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill

With a Senate floor vote on medical marijuana legislation expected by the end of the month, supporters are airing a pair of TV commercials in which Illinois patients tell their stories.

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton)

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton)

The spots, introduced at a Springfield press conference today, have begun airing in Chicago, Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, and Champaign.

The ads feature Lucie Macfarlane of Joliet and Lisa Lange Van Camp of Lindenhurst both of whom are suffering from debilitating illnesses.

This legislation, Senate Bill 1381, sponsored by former three-term state’s attorney State Senators Bill Haine (D-Alton), Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), and Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) would allow seriously ill patients with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana upon the recommendation of their physicians. The Senate Public Health Committee passed SB 1381 with a 6-2 vote.

The House Human Services Committee approved a companion bill — House Bill 2514 — on March 4. The House sponsors include, myself, Lou Lang, Angelo Saviano (R-Elmwood Park), Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), Cythnthia Soto (D-Chicago), Deborah Mell (D-Chicago), and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Chicago).

Both bills are now poised for a full vote on the floor of their respective chambers, but they do not yet have enough committed “yes” votes to be sent to the governor for approval. The House has never voted on a modern medical marijuana bill before, and a similar bill was narrowly defeated in the Senate two years ago.

Illinois could very well become the 14th state to enact an effective medical marijuana law. But Illinois residents need to speak up and contact their local legislators. More than 68% of Illinois voters support this legislation, according to a recent poll. Lawmakers need to hear their actual voices.

As chief sponsor of the House bill, I intend to continue to lobby my fellow lawmakers vigorously. Senator Haine will continue to push his fellow senators. But these legislators must also hear from their constituents for the final act of persuasion.

Privately, a majority of lawmakers say they favor the bill. Publicly, a majority will vote against the bill unless they hear from their constituents.

Lou Lang