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Illinois Convenes MS Task Force on February 5

Legislation stemming from the National MS Society's 2013 Unified State Policy Agenda to create an MS Task Force in Illinois was signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Aug. 31, 2013. The Task Force held its inaugural meeting on February 5, 2014, and will meet quarterly until December of 2015, at which point it must submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly, along with any policy recommendation

Senate Bill 1640 established, within the Department of Public Health, an MS Task Force charged with seeking solutions to address the unmet needs of individuals living with MS through collaboration between state agencies, the medical community, and the Society. There are 16 members of this Task Force, all appointed by the Illinois Director of Public Health. The members include designees of key state agency directors, neurologists, RNs with MS certification, a designee of the Society, representatives of service or support providers, individuals living with MS, and other public members.
 
The Bill was sponsored by the Senate President John Cullerton, together with 27 other Senate Co-Sponsors – nearly half of the Senate in all. In the House,  sponsors included Rep. Ann Williams and Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.  The Bill was well received during initial hearings and passed unanimously in both houses after minor tweaks at the request of the Department of Public Health. 

Are you interested in being an MS activist? If so, contact Jeremy Barewin with the Greater Illinois Chapter at jeremy.barewin@nmss.org or 312.421.4500. 

The MS Project Instant Win Illinois Lottery Ticket

To coincide with MS Awareness Month this March, the Greater Illinois Chapter is pleased to unveil its 2014 Illinois Lottery $2 instant-win ticket, “The MS Project” with 100% of net proceeds to benefit the National MS Society! Since 2007, the annual lottery tickets have raised more than $6 million for MS research in Illinois--not to mention awareness!

The Illinois Lottery Instant Ticket for MS concept was made a reality through the hard work of volunteer MS activists from the Greater Illinois and Gateway area chapters who collaborated with advocacy specialists to craft legislation and see the “Scratch Out MS” bill signed into law in October 2007. Proceeds from the instant ticket fund competitive local research grants, with the first grants awarded in 2009.

Grants considered for funding must pertain to the repair of damage caused by acquired demyelinating disease of the central nervous system; and must develop and advance the understanding, techniques and modalities effective for maintaining function, mobility and strength through preventive physical therapy or other treatments and restoration of function. Research recipients are selected only through the standard peer-review process established by the National MS Society's home office and Illinois Department of Public Health.

Gas Station Accessibility Law Takes Effect

Illinois HB4866/SB1238, signed into law in 2012, took effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The new law requres all Illinois gas/fill up stations to display at least one ADA compliant motor fuel dispenser with a direct telephone number to the station that allows a disabled operator of a motor vehicle to request refueling assistance. The new law gives people with disabilities greater access at gasoline service stations within the community 

HB4866/SB1238 was developed in collaboration with the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois, the Illinois Secretary of State’s Disability liaison, the Illinois Assistive Technology Project, Access living and the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living.

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