SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Collins is urging the governor to sign her legislation adding synthetic cannabinoids to the Controlled Substances Act.

The Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday announced more cases of severe bleeding among individuals using synthetic cannabinoids. According to the agency, more than 160 people in Illinois have experienced similar symptoms, and four people have died.

“The use of synthetic cannabinoids is a legitimate public health concern,” Collins (D-Chicago) said. “Many young people are using them, and we are hearing reports that some strands contain dangerous ingredients like rat poison. We need to make all forms of this drug illegal so that law enforcement can begin to properly address this epidemic.”

Senate Bill 2341 bans the possession, manufacture and sale of synthetic cannabinoids. It passed both the House and the Senate without opposition and awaits the governor’s signature.

State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today as the Illinois Senate passed a bipartisan budget compromise which included funding for numerous social services and after school programs originally cut in the governor’s budget proposal earlier this year:

“Today’s agreement came out of a shared spirit of compromise and good will which our state has sorely missed,” Collins said. “This budget is balanced and makes its reductions and increases in a responsible manner that seeks to do right by the most vulnerable. I urge my colleagues in the House to approve it and the governor to sign it.”

Following a regulatory compromise that set new rates on check cashing services, including lowering the rate on government assistance checks, legislation passed the General Assembly without opposition this month requiring industry regulators to consider the impact on consumers and minority communities in future rate changes.  

State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) worked alongside consumer advocates to reach the regulatory compromise in the wake of a proposal from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) which would have raised rates on check cashing services like those at a Currency Exchange. The measure now awaiting the governor’s signature would define a number of socioeconomic factors that regulators must consider in the event they set new rates going forward.

“I’m pleased to see this compromise meet with success in the General Assembly without opposition,” Collins said. “This is a service used almost exclusively by the unbanked – those who don’t have access to a bank account for a variety of reasons, and whose income has been virtually stagnant since the recession. We must ensure that this process – which determines what rate to charge the people who can least afford such services offered to bank accountholders for free – is closely regulated and its import carefully considered.”

For people living paycheck to paycheck, an initial deposit for a bank account might not be possible, or even physically reaching a banking institution might not be plausible. For them, the only option is often a check cashing service, which draws a fee.

Senate Bill 2433 calls for IDFPR to consider the impact on consumers and whether an increase in the rate schedule will disproportionately impact anyone on the basis of any protected categories defined in the Illinois Human Rights Act.

In response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of House Bill 1468, in which he called for a reinstatement of the death penalty, State Senator Jacqueline Collins issued the following statement today:

“Just as darkness cannot drive out darkness, death cannot deter death. The day Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois was a day humanity prevailed over brutality,” Collins said. “The state is tasked with dispensing justice, but it should not be in the business of taking away the gift of life. This move by Governor Rauner is shortsighted and shocking in its cynicism. I oppose his recommendation and I urge all my colleagues and all those who value life to voice their opposition as well.”

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