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New State Laws Benefit Persons With Disabilities

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Gov. Bruce Rauner celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act over the weekend by signing five new laws relating to persons with disabilities.

Effective immediately

HB 4049 -- An Act Concerning Persons with Disabilities: This Act shall be construed to make amendments to provisions of State law to substitute the term "persons with physical disabilities" for "the physically handicapped" or "the physically disabled"; "persons with disabilities" for "the handicapped" or "handicapped persons" or "handicapped individuals" or "the disabled" or "disabled persons" or "disabled individuals"; "persons with developmental disabilities" for "the developmentally disabled" or "developmentally disabled persons" or "developmentally disabled individuals"; "permanent disability" for "permanently disabled"; "total disability" for "totally disabled"; "total and permanent disability" for "totally and permanently disabled"; "temporary total disability" for "temporarily totally disabled"; "permanent total disability" for "permanently totally disabled"; and "disabling condition", as appropriate, for "handicapping condition" without any intent to change the substantive rights, responsibilities, coverage, eligibility, or definitions referred to in the amended provisions represented in this Act.

Effective Jan. 1, 2016

HB 235 -- An Act Concerning Insurance: Amends the Illinois Insurance Code. Requires accident and health insurance policies in Illinois to cover charges incurred, and anesthetics provided, in conjunction with dental care that is provided to a covered individual in a dental office, oral surgeon's office, hospital, or ambulatory surgical treatment center if the individual is under age 19 and has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or developmental disability.

HB 3158 -- An Act Concerning Health: Creates the Down Syndrome Information and Awareness Act, which requires the Department of Public Health to make available up-to-date, evidence-based written information about Down syndrome and make this information available to persons who render prenatal care, postnatal care, or genetic counseling to parents who receive a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

SB 226 -- An Act Concerning Education: Amends the School Code, authorizing the State Board of Education to work with school districts to inform all students with developmental disabilities and their parents or guardians about the Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services database. Also requires the Department of Human Services and State Board, subject to appropriation, to develop and implement an online training program for pre-admission screening and independent service coordination agencies to train at least one person in every public school to register eligible students with the database waiting list for services.

SB 1383 -- An Act Concerning State Government: Creates the "Achieving a Better Life Experience" or "ABLE" account program to encourage and help saving private funds for the purpose of supporting persons with disabilities in endeavors to maintain health, independence, and quality of life, and to provide secure funding for disability-related expenses on behalf of designated beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, federal and State medical and disability insurance, the beneficiary's employment, and other sources. Provides that the State Treasurer shall be primarily responsible for the plan but shall work with the Illinois State Board of Investment. Allows the State Treasurer to enter into agreements with other states to either allow Illinois residents to participate in an ABLE account plan operated by another state or to allow residents of other states to participate in the Illinois ABLE plan. Requires the designated beneficiary of an ABLE account to be a resident of Illinois or a resident of a contracting state.

To read the full text of these laws, click on the highlighted bill number above.

Other action on pending legislation

Last Thursday, Gov. Rauner signed eight bills that take effect immediately and 11 that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. He also vetoed one bill because it duplicated another bill already signed into law.

On Friday, he signed five laws with immediate effect and seven laws that take effect next New Year’s Day.

The highlighted words above will access lists of the legislation signed into law. More information on each law is available by entering the bill number (e.g., HB 163 or SB 57) in the appropriate search box at www.ilga.gov

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