“Rocky’s Law,” which was signed on August 4th, by Governor Quinn and takes effect January 1, 2014 is requiring all high schools in Illinois to offer catastrophic insurance coverage for student athletes. “Rocky’s Law” was inspired by and is named for Rasul “Rocky” Clark who was paralyzed during a football game in 2000. Rasul Clark played football for Eisenhower High School in the Blue Island suburb of Chicago until he was paralyzed from the neck down when he was tackled during a game. His care was provided through a $5 million insurance policy held by the school district. When that policy hit its limit, he relied on Medicaid and donations. “These injuries are rare, but when they happen it’s devastating for young athletes and their families,” state Sen. Napoleon Harris, a Harvey Democrat and former NFL player who sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “These students’ lives are dramatically changed in cases of catastrophic injuries, and they deserve access to health care coverage.” Sen. Napoleon Harris, a former linebacker in the National Football League playing with the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs, was extremely touched by what happened to “Rocky” that he wanted to help the family so Rasul Clark’s story was not for naught. The law says that a school’s minimum policy will cover $3 million in aggregate benefits or five years of coverage – whatever comes first – for injuries that total medical expenses over $50,000. The law includes public and private schools and state officials estimate that the cost of the coverage will be no more than $5 a student. Currently, some schools carry insurance for athletes, but it hasn’t been mandatory. The mandate is unusual because typically high school districts are not required to cover student athletes who may suffer serious injuries. The financial burden has always been on the families. Before student athletes, cheerleaders, or even marching band members are allowed to take a step on the field, at the high school level they are required to sign a waiver showing they understand the risks involved and have to prove that they have their own accident insurance. If the student does not, schools typically offer a low-cost plan of their own. These plans can be used to cover additional costs for parents who carry insurance for their children, or they can cover primary costs, if the parents don’t have private[READ MORE…]
Illinois drivers can rest a little easier after Governor Quinn signed two new laws on Monday August 5th 2013. The first is “Kelsey’s Law” that targets drivers under the legal driving age and the second is “Patricia’s Law” that targets drivers who had been on court supervision. “Kelsey’s Law” was named after Kelsey Little, who was struck in 2011 by the passenger-side mirror of a red truck as she and several friends walked along the side of a Grundy County road in Minooka IL after getting soft serve ice cream. The crash split Kelsey Little’s skull open and broke all of the bones in her face. The driver of the truck was 15 years old at the time and was driving on just a learner’s permit. The driver did not stop when the accident happened, but because there was an eyewitness that went after the 15 year old he was forced to return to the scene. The irony was that after Kelsey Little was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Chicago and as she lay in the Intensive care Unit, the teen driver of the red truck was walking into a Secretary of State driver facility. Just three days after hitting a 13-year girl with his side view mirror, he got a drivers license. Because the Grundy County State’s Attorney notified the state about the charges against the unlicensed driver, two months after the accident and after the teen got his license. Because the Grundy County State’s Attorney notified the state about the charges against the unlicensed driver, two months after the accident and after the teen got his license. The loophole was that the state can only deny a license before it is issued or after a court ruling. The new law changes that loophole so that new drivers can’t get a license if they have any outstanding tickets. The other law that was put in place was “Patricia’s Law” named after Patricia McNamara. A driver on his cell phone ran a stop sign in McHenry County in September of 2011 and slammed into Patricia’s car killing her. The absurdity is that the driver, who had three previous speeding tickets, ended up pleading guilty only to failure to obey a stop sign and was sentenced to court supervision, a $551 fine, and four hours of traffic safety school. No longer will such slap-on-the-wrist punishments in fatal accidents be possible in[READ MORE…]
There is no excuse not to be registered voter. The State of Illinois has just made it easier for residents to register to vote. In July, Governor Quinn approved the Omnibus Elections Bill which makes Illinois the 18th state to allow voters to register online. The bill also allows for early voting on Sundays from noon until 3 p.m. and allows the Board of Elections not to have to count votes cast for a candidate who appears on the ballot but has dropped out of the electoral race prior to the election. Another part of House Bill 2418 will have a direct effect on Chicago elections. A qualified aldermanic candidate will now need petition signatures from 4 percent of the votes cast in their district, rather than the 2 percent number in the current law. The Chicago Board of Elections reports that the number will roughly double; figures vary because the percentage is based on voter turn-out in a particular ward. These changes are expected to boost voter registration rates and increase participation in the democratic system as well as providing cost savings. Senator Don Harmon stated that it cost the State 83 cents to process a paper registration as compared to only 3 cents for an online application. Online registration should be available in time for the 2014 general election.
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