Pritzker signs LGBTQ-inclusive jury service non-discrimination legislation

CHICAGO — On Aug. 9, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that will protect LGBTQ Illinoisans from discrimination in jury service, according to Equality Illinois. “Serving on a jury is a fundamental obligation of American democracy. Now, like other pro-equality states, Illinois will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jury service,” said Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for LGBTQ people. “This new law will bring our judicial system nearer to eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal protection under the law.

Illinois Safe Schools Alliance merges with Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago

CHICAGO — After almost a year of integrating operations, the Boards of Directors for Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (the Alliance) are delighted to announce their merger. Going forward, the Alliance will be a program of PHIMC. The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2018, expressing their intent to merge. Since then, PHIMC and the Alliance have worked together to consolidate daily operations, unite strategic goals, and create a strong, dynamic partnership. Last month, in a unanimous vote, leaders of both organizations approved the merger.

New law bars discrimination of LGBTQ people in assisted living

SPRINGFIELD — On Aug. 9, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that bars discrimination against LGBTQ people in senior and assisted living facilities. The law states that no minority group as defined under the Illinois Human Rights Act shall be the subject of discrimination by an owner, licensee, administrator, employee or agent of an assisted living facility. The law goes into effect immediately. The bill was passed in May.

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Illinois Insurance Department joins others states opposing attacks on trans healthcare

CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Insurance has joined other state insurance departments in opposing proposed changes to rules that protect healthcare access for transgender people. Illinois Insurance Director Robert Muriel joined 17 other insurance commissioners in signing a letter voicing their opposition to the Trump administration’s move last week. “Illinois is committed to protecting consumers and fostering an inclusive insurance marketplace. No one should be discriminated against, especially when it comes to access to healthcare,” Muriel said in a press release. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 23% of transgender people avoided going to the doctor when sick or injured out of fear of discrimination in the past year and 33% of transgender people who did see a health care provider in the past year were harassed, denied care, or even assaulted.

Pritzker signs LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum bill

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed HB 246 over the weekend, which ensures that LGBTQ history will be taught in Illinois Schools. The bill was an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education and a broad coalition of statewide and local educational, civil rights, health, and civic organizations. It would require the inclusion of LGBTQ historical contributions in any textbooks purchased through block grants from the state. Any group listed under the Illinois Human Rights Act would be highlighted. It goes into effect on July 1, 2020.

Protests at either end of Illinois over immigration, racism

CHICAGO/CARBONDALE — While not coordinated, there were two separate protests at the extreme ends of the state, speaking out against the immigration crackdown and white supremacy. WSIU, a Carbondale NPR station, reported that the Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project showed support for the residents of El Paso on Wednesday. The radio station said the group delivered a letter and held a picket asking U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) to condemn the white supremist rhetoric and policies coming from the White House. Becca Tally told WSIU that the group wanted Bost to make a statement. “That is necessary for the people that are here residing in his district to know that he wants to serve and protect everyone of us no matter what race, religion, creed or national origin that we are from,” she said.