silverstein-alcpowder-passesSPRINGFIELD–The Senate Public Health committee approved a proposal today to ban powdered alcohol in Illinois and to set penalties for its sale. Powdered alcohol is a relatively new product already proving to be dangerous, particularly for minors.

State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) is the sponsor of the proposed ban, Senate Bill 67.

“Alcohol powder has the potential to cause a surge in the number of cases of alcohol poisoning,” Silverstein said. “Access to powdered alcohol by minors susceptible to binge drinking and people inclined to attempt date rape creates new risks to the public.”

Any crystal substance of powder containing alcohol is considered “powdered alcohol.” The powder may be dissolved in liquid such as soda or juice or sprinkled on food. It can be eaten or snorted without mixing.

A violation of this law would be a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 42 bills have been introduced in 26 states this year to ban powdered alcohol. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) introduced a federal ban, calling it potentially “the Kool-Aid of teenage binge drinking.”

Senate Bill 67 now awaits debate on the Senate floor.

ira-smok-carsSPRINGFIELD – Legislation creating a penalty for adults who smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 18 was approved in the Senate Public Health Committee today. State Senator Ira Silverstein (D–Chicago) is the sponsor.

“If adults choose to smoke in their homes or vehicles, they choose for themselves alone. However exposing children to smoke in a confined setting where they cannot protect themselves is dangerous and causes life-long health problems,” Silverstein said. “As with child restraint seats and seat belts, we are obligated to protect children from known risks.”

The plan, Senate Bill 729, creates an up-to $100 fine for any motorist who smokes tobacco, marijuana or any other combustible substance in a car with a person under the age of 18. Smoking in cars with children is banned in seven states, Puerto Rico, and numerous nations around the world.

“Children have a higher risk from second-hand smoke for respiratory diseases, asthma, bronchitis and cardiovascular disease,” Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association told the committee. “Toxic levels of smoke in cars can be far greater than in a home.”

Several states have already enacted smoke-free car laws: Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Utah and Vermont.

The proposal will now be considered on the Senate floor.

silverstein-budg-reax-021815Today I made the following statement after the budget address from the governor:

“Governor Rauner’s budget address was premised on deep cuts to Illinois, including seniors. I am particularly disturbed by his cuts to programs that assist our elderly. The Community Cares Program keeps seniors in their homes and out of long-term care environments. His plan reduces eligibility, which will cut seniors from the program.

“The additional proposed cuts to Medicaid and mental health programs would also harm many senior citizens, whose health challenges may extend beyond simply aging.

“I cannot see how the governor proposes these destructive cuts while having called for a more compassionate Illinois.”

handcuffsSPRINGFIELD – The choking death of 43-year-old Eric Garner by NYPD officers has led police departments, cities and states to review how and why police use force. State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) recently introduced a proposal to restrict police from using chokeholds.

“Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way maintaining order and protecting our families. This plan helps guarantee that police have clear guidelines for when and how they use force,” Silverstein said.

In addition to restricting chokeholds, the proposal limits how police use other tactics that restrict a person’s breathing. Officers would be restricted from positioning suspects so their breathing is reduced unless necessary to overcome resistance and obtain control of a person or to protect themselves or others from injury.

Police would also need to monitor an arrestee and seek medical attention if needed.

The proposed law does allow officers to perform chokeholds in cases where deadly force is justified.

Chicago aldermen introduced a similar proposal last month.

The plan, Senate Bill 65, now awaits debate in the Senate.

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