Senator CollinsCHICAGO – To improve conditions at nursing homes across Illinois, a new law to reform how the state assesses and reimburses nursing facilities, and link funding to staffing levels and quality of care, co-sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins, was signed into law last week.

“Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes were struggling,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “From understaffing to poor quality of care, our state’s older adults have endured a grave disadvantage of care.”

House Bill 246 includes the most recent efforts by the state to implement needed change at nursing facilities. The legislation overhauls the state’s nursing home assessment and reimbursement methods by transitioning to a Patient Driven Payment Model and increasing the base per diem rate by $7 to a total of $92.25. Under the current RUG-IV assessment model, nursing homes are incentivized to over-prescribe certain services, such as rehabilitative services, to increase their Medicaid reimbursement. The Patient Driven Payment Model more accurately accounts for clinically relevant factors, and brings Illinois in line with the federal Medicare model.

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Legal agreement with two transparent hands shaking over itSPRINGFIELD– State Senator Jacqueline Collins successfully championed a new consumer protection measure, this time tackling predatory arrangements in litigation finance between legal funding companies and consumers.

“When a person has to seek legal remedy for an injury or wrongdoing, their ability to live comfortably hinges on financial stability,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “We have to make sure companies offering aid through legal funding transactions do not extort the people they serve under the guise of helping them stay afloat during difficult times.”

Litigation finance occurs when a legal funding company buys a portion of a plaintiff’s upcoming settlement to directly help the plaintiff make ends meet in exchange for repayment plus interest upon the claim’s success. The new law signed Friday creates the Legal Consumer Funding Act and places restrictions on these lawsuit funding agreements, which are meant to help a person get through their day-to-day life without missing vital expenses such as rent, utilities, medical expenditures and other necessities while they pursue legal remedy.

Though Illinois allows litigation financing, the Legal Consumer Funding Act requires legal funding companies to be licensed in the state and establishes punishment for violations of the law. Additionally, these types of agreements are subject to Senator Collins’ Predatory Loan Prevention Act placing a 36% annual interest rate cap on all consumer loans.

“These regulatory methods prevent legal funding companies from charging exorbitant amounts and preying on the vulnerability of consumers,” Collins said. “Promoting integrity among financial legal companies helps maintain the equitable practices I’ve been fighting for as a legislator.”

The new law took effect immediately.

Civil protestCHICAGO– State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), an anti-violence advocate disheartened by yesterday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, issued the following statement about gun violence and the tragedy of performative action:

“Yesterday’s mass shooting tragically reminds us of the need to meaningfully address the crisis of gun violence in our nation. Nineteen students and two teachers were murdered, and more civilians were injured because of an individual’s access to a deadly firearm and his intention to kill.

“This has been going on far too long, and our communities are in need of healing. Our country is in desperate need of reform. The adversity I faced in moving comprehensive anti-violence measures through the Illinois General Assembly is a reflection of a much larger issue: that state and national leaders are too readily swayed by the idea that a person’s right to have a gun defeats a person’s right to live in a safe, supportive environment.

“My heart yearns for a day in which people do not have to live in fear of these unspeakable acts of violence, and I am devoted to making the changes that will put a stop to this senseless violence. We’re all tired of learning about fatal tragedies plaguing our nation every day, but still our willingness to act fails to echo the sentiments of people across the country who believe our nation’s gun control efforts have had no effect on reducing violence. It’s time our actions match our words and we end this public safety crisis in America.”

3-D PrinterCHICAGO– State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) led the General Assembly to pass a measure that was signed into law by the governor Wednesday banning the creation, sale and distribution of unserialized firearms to address the growing dangers of ghost guns and gun violence.

“Despite the adversity I faced to push this legislation through the General Assembly, I am extremely pleased to see the implementation of such instrumental legislation,” Collins said. “This new law will help protect our communities in all corners of the state, all of which can be subject to gun violence.”

Technology developments have encouraged the spread of assemble-to-shoot firearms, which pose extreme dangers to public safety. Ghost guns lack serialization and are able to skirt police investigations because of it, making their presence in communities a great threat to Illinois residents and businesses.

Though President Joe Biden has enacted a national policy that cracks down on the manufacturers of ghost guns, the language presented by Senator Collins will phase out these weapons by ensuring even individual possessors and distributors of ghost guns are held accountable to the law. This law will especially help Illinois’ vulnerable populations such as communities of color and low-income families, who often see higher rates of armed violence.

“Firearms are the most non-discriminating form of weaponry in our communities because their impact is not driven by race, status or background,” Collins said. “With the help of Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and State Representative Kam Buckner, I was able to create and push a policy that will have lasting positive effects on the people who call this state home.”

Having taken effect immediately upon the governor’s signature, the new law requires every existing ghost gun to be serialized and imposes penalties for violations.

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