CannabisSPRINGFIELD – Citing safety provisions and local autonomy, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) voted in favor of legalizing adult-use cannabis in Illinois.

House Bill 1438 would legalize adult-use cannabis consumption for adults 21 years or older. The bill details where revenue will be allocated, product safety regulations, social equity measures and expungement procedures for convictions dealing with small amounts of cannabis.

“If you purchase cannabis from the illicit market today, there is no surefire way for you to know what you are getting,” said Gillespie. “You could get a product that is laced or diluted with something harmful. By legalizing cannabis for adult-use, we can regulate the potency and quality of the product and ensure that consumers know exactly what they are purchasing. These safety regulations will save lives.”

Under the bill, local governments have been afforded with the autonomy to decide how cannabis businesses operate in their community, or to disallow them. Local governments will be responsible for zoning ordinances, public consumption ordinances and may opt-out altogether if preferred.

“Providing local governments and employers with the autonomy to decide how to deal with the cannabis industry is important,” said Gillespie. “Employers may still have zero tolerance drug policies for their businesses and choose whether or not to allow consumption on their property.”

House Bill 1438 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will go to the House for concurrence.

Category: News

Social WorkerSPRINGFIELD – Students seeking a master’s degree in social work would be allowed to take their licensing exam sooner under a bill sponsored by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that passed the Illinois House this week.

“There is a devastating shortage of social workers in Illinois,” said Gillespie. “Streamlining the licensing process will allow students to search for jobs in communities that need their expertise.”

Under current law, individuals seeking to be licensed as a social worker must first graduate with a master’s degree in social work. Senate Bill 1888 would allow them to take the exam prior to graduation in order to streamline the process.

Senate Bill 1888 is an initiative of the National Association of Social Workers and passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

“This is such a critical bill to address the workforce shortages we are having throughout the state, but particularly in rural areas,” said Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs for the organization’s Illinois chapter. “If we can get social workers licensed quicker, we can get these practitioners into our agencies quicker to provide the needed mental health care in such demand.”

Senate Bill 1888 awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Category: News

SenatorGillespieSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House approved State Senator Ann Gillespie’s (D-Arlington Heights) plan to create the 21st Century Employment Grant Program to address employment gaps in Illinois’ manufacturing, health care and technology industries today.

“Employers need us to establish a pipeline of skilled workers for manufacturing, health care and technology careers. This measure will help us do that,” Gillespie said. “Career and technical education is a priority of mine, and I am excited to advance this important legislation.”

Senate Bill 1919 would create a statewide career and technical education (CTE) framework for identifying the skills employers are seeking on an ongoing basis and would award grants to CTE programs in those disciplines. The program seeks to establish an ongoing pipeline of highly trained workers in the manufacturing, healthcare and innovative technologies fields.

Gillespie’s proposal allocates funds to community colleges and high schools that train students for a career and teach them in-demand professional skills. Each program receiving a grant must provide students with industry-recognized certifications upon completion.

An advisory board of educators, business groups and labor leaders would determine the needs of communities and establish training programs to fill their employment gaps.

The state-funded program would also be supported by private contributions.

“This will provide incentives for people to stay in Illinois and enrich their communities by being productive members of the workforce,” Gillespie said. “It will also bring more businesses to Illinois when they see we are prioritizing ongoing investments in a trained workforce.”

Senate Bill 1919 awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Category: News

ApprenticeSPRINGFIELD – A study on the expansion of apprenticeship programs in Illinois introduced by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) passed the General Assembly today.

If signed into law, Senate Bill 2024 would require the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to find out where the state could expand apprenticeship programs and issue a report by June 1, 2020.

“Training or higher education after high school is no longer an option, it’s a necessity,” said Gillespie. “Young people in our state are being pushed toward higher education and the incredible amount of debt that comes with it, even when it might not be their best path to success. I want to make on-the-job training programs more available to them so they can find a good-paying job without being saddled with student loans for the rest of their lives.”

A study done by the Institute of Education Science of the U.S. Department of Education found that 91 percent of registered apprentices find employment after completing their program with an average starting wage above $60,000. Additionally, the study found that a majority of apprentices complete their program debt-free.

“Apprenticeships are good for workers and for businesses,” said Gillespie. “Apprentices can get the skills they need to be successful and enter the workforce ready to take on the duties of their job. During my time in the Senate, I’ve made it my mission to expand these opportunities to young people looking for alternatives to higher education.”

Senate Bill 2024 is Gillespie’s first piece of legislation as a State Senator. It awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Category: News

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Springfield Office:
121A Capitol Building
Springfield IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-4471

Arlington Heights Office:
171 W. Wing St., #202
Arlington Heights IL 60005
Phone: 847-749-1880