Dear Neighbors,

Guess who’s back! Early in the pandemic, for those who were able, working remotely was essential to ensure that we all remained safe and healthy. Fortunately, due to advancements on and vast distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, many of us have been able to return to work. I am excited to announce that we are back in Session! This means that legislators will be back in their offices at the Capital and attending Session in-person; please click here to watch Session live.

While Session will be in-person, committees will still remain virtual; please click here to watch committees. Now that we are back in Session, I was able to pass my priority bills; these bills include the Aging-Mandated Reporters Bill (HB3918), the Police Pension Reform Bill (HB126), the Equitable Restrooms-All-Gender Bill (HB3195), the Know Before You Owe Education Loans Bill (HB2746), and the Higher Education Feminine Hygiene Bill (HB641). Many of these bills are discussed in greater detail later within the newsletter, so please continue reading if you are interested in learning more about them. However, I will briefly mention the Higher Education Feminine Hygiene Bill (HB641). Passed out of the House on April 15th with bipartisan support, this bill requires universities to make menstrual hygiene products available in university bathrooms at no cost to their students, staff, and faculty.

On Saturday, April 24th, my office and state Sen. Rachelle Crowe’s office hosted a Shred Day/Electronics Drive at Edwardsville High School. This was an opportunity for residents to safely and securely shred confidential documents. This event also doubled as an Electronics Drive. We worked with PC's for People and accepted computers and accessories; mobile devices; home offices items; home entertainment; and servers and data centers. Electronics’ memories were cleared and donated to those in need within our community. We will hold another Shred Day/Electronics Drive in September. Thank you to all who participated!

Do you have any questions or comments regarding my newsletter or website? Do you have any legislation or committees that you are interested in learning more about? Do you want to know more about an upcoming event? Your feedback is extremely important to me. Please follow this link to fill out the survey!

Best,

Katie Stuart

State Representative 112th

On April 23th, the CDC and FDA recommended resuming the use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. According to the CDC, nearly 7 million doses have been administered in the United States. For those that still have more questions regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, can visit the CDC Johnson & Johnson FAQ page. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna are all available to the public. It is important to get vaccinated to slow down the spread.

All Illinoisans age 16 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. To find where the closest vaccine location is, check the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response Vaccination Location Finder. When clicking on the website, you are able to put in your zip code or town and the map will show you the closest vaccination site to you. Importantly, many vaccination sites are still requiring appointments. Once you have found a location through the vaccination finder, you will be able to click the website link to sign up for an appointment. 

Pfizer announced that they conducted clinical trials for their vaccine on 12-15 year olds. The data from the trials was submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pfizer is awaiting  FDA approval for Emergency Use Authorization before vaccines can be given to 12-15 year-olds.

Redistricting Hearing Recap

On April 19th, I attended the Redistricting Hearing in the Metro East. This hearing allowed those within the community to provide public input on where Illinois’ House district lines should be drawn. To clarify, it is only the House’s district lines that are being redrawn. Additionally, this process coincides with the census. However, sometimes census data is not available by the time that the district lines must be redrawn. In this case, we utilize data from the 5 year census and data from the American Survey. If you are interested in being involved in the redistricting process but were unable to make it to the hearing, you can draw your own maps with House Democrats' Public Drawing Portal or email your ideas to redistrictingcommittee@hds.ilga.gov.

Coffee with Katie

On Monday, May 10th, I will be hosting another Coffee with Katie. This will be held from 10:00 - 11:00 on Zoom. During Coffee with Katie, I will update those attending on local and state issues. Click here to join!

“No Child Wet Behind” Diaper Bank

Soup-n-Share’s “No Child Wet Behind” Diaper Bank has no start or end date; you can utilize their services at any time! Donations are accepted at 6654 Edwardsville Crossing Dr. Edwardsville, IL 62025 and Carol Stolze Agency, 105 South Pointe Dr. Edwardsville, IL 62025. To donate, you can drop off diapers at either of these locations or order diapers online and ship them directly to Soup-n-Share, located at 1 Caine Dr. Madison, IL 62020. Additionally, appointments are open for those who need to pick up diapers; click here for more information regarding appointments. Pick-up will be from 11:00 - 3:00 on the second Wednesday of the month for last names A-L and from 11:00 - 3:00 on the third Wednesday of the month for last names M-Z. Pick-up is located at 1 Caine Dr. Madison, IL 62020. Click here for more information regarding drop-off and pick-up instructions.

As I mentioned earlier, we are now back in Session - this will help accelerate the legislative process back to its normal pace as well as our return to a world that looks closer to what it did pre-pandemic. I have been using the opportunity to push bills that will help improve our community. I’ll share a few pieces of legislation that have passed and which I believe will help to achieve these goals. They’ll become law if they pass the Senate and receive Governor Pritzker’s signature.

First, the Police Pension Reform Bill (HB126), would allow many law-enforcement personnel additional flexibility with respect to their pensions. It would allow such employees to transfer service accumulated in their Illinois Municipality Pension Fund plan to a downstate police fund. Because employees using downstate police funds contribute at a higher rate, employees making this kind of transfer would be required to pay the difference. Additionally, this bill would enable those employees who have previously terminated service with the IMRF and accepted a separation benefit to reinstate those credits by repaying the IMRF the value of the separation benefit (with interest).

The Equitable Restrooms-All-Gender Bill (HB3195) is another bill for which I serve as the Primary Sponsor. An amendment to the Equitable Restrooms Act, would allow, but not require, for the designation of all-gender multiple-occupancy restrooms. All-gender single-occupancy restrooms are already allowed for by the Equitable Restrooms Act, so the change by this amendment is that multiple-occupancy restrooms would be able to be designated as all-gender.

All-gender multiple-occupancy restrooms would face a few requirements in that they will need to be recognized by appropriate signage and include stall dividers and urinal partitions (if there are urinals in the restroom). Finally, the bill would require that, if a facility were to construct or alter up to 50% of the existing restroom and designate it an all-gender multiple-occupancy restroom, it would need to satisfy the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, restrooms must include a small, covered trash can in each toilet stall, a vending machine for women’s health supplies, and a baby diaper changing station.

The final bill that I’ll mention here is HB3138, which would allow the office of marshal for the Supreme Court to hire court security officers and authorize those officers to carry a weapon to, from, and at their place of employment and arrest according to their official duties. It would require these officers to pass a basic training course before carrying weapons or arresting in their capacity as a court security officer. It was passed through the Consent Calendar, a mechanism to pass bills that are agreed upon by all interested parties and face no opposition.

*More events may be added later. See website for updated calendar.

Email: repkatiestuart@gmail.com

Facebook: Representative Katie Stuart's Facebook

Website: https://repstuart.com

District Office: 2105 Vandalia St. Unit #16, Collinsville, IL 62234

Phone: (618) 365-6650

Hearing directly from residents allows me to focus my efforts and better represent our community to Springfield. If you have questions or comments about state or local issues, upcoming events, or this newsletter, feel free to let me know. You can fill out the survey here. Thank you for all of the support and feedback!