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Central Illinois Headlines – April 15, 2024

Service honors William Patterson

URBANA – A memorial service for STEM educator William Patterson had sorrowful moments, but also dancing, laughing and singing. Hundreds attended the ‘celebration of life’ at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday. The 58-year-old passed away earlier this month. Patterson grew up in Urbana, earned a Ph-D and brought STEM activities to under-resourced neighborhoods around Central Illinois. Because Patterson was a big fan of hip-hop music, there was an after party with a DJ after the formal memorial service. – Mae Antar/IPM News

School bus renamed for William Patterson’s effort to bring STEM to under resourced communities.

Chicago shooting kills 8-year-old girl and wounds 10 people including small children, police say

CHICAGO (AP) — Eleven people were shot including an 8-year-old girl who was killed in what Chicago police believe was gang-related violence on the city’s South Side. Police updated the number of victims Sunday morning to 11 from eight the night before. The victims were standing outside at a family gathering when gunfire erupted around 9 p.m. Saturday. The 8-year-old girl was fatally shot, while a 1-year-old boy and a 8-year-old boy were each shot multiple times and listed in critical condition on Saturday night. A 9-year-old was hospitalized for a graze wound. Deputy Chief Don Jerome says the adult victims were between the ages of 19 and 40.

Lawmakers may update biometric law

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers are moving to update the state’s biometric privacy law. Facebook was sued under the law in 2015 when it tagged people in photos without their consent. It settled for $650 million because each tag was considered a violation – more than a million Illinoisans were paid hundreds of dollars. Democratic State Senator Bill Cunningham of Chicago has a measure that would change that. Violators would be punished the first time they take a person’s data – but not every time.

“Certain businesses, I believe, have been unfairly targeted by some of the lawsuits that have been brought forth. Everyone should be held accountable for not following the law, but it’s important that the punishment fits the crime,” said Cunningham. 

The measure passed the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House. The law’s main goal would stay intact – companies must get permission before using fingerprint scans or facial recognition to gather information. – WBEZ

Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood services – including preschool funding, early intervention and day care licensing – are currently overseen by three different state agencies: the State Board of Education, Department of Human Services and Department of Children and Family Services. If also passed in the Illinois House and sent to the governor for his signature, Senate Bill 1 would consolidate programs into a new Early Childhood department over the course of two years.  – Capitol News Illinois

Social workers carry naloxone 

A bill that would give social workers and their employers the legal scope to carry and administer medications like Narcan to clients in crisis moved from the Senate to the House on Friday. More than 3,000 Illinoisans died from opioid overdoses in 2022, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. But naloxone, the generic form of Narcan, can quickly reverse an overdose and allow a patient time to seek further care.

Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs for the National Association of Social Workers said social workers are sometimes part of crisis response teams and “are frequently the first point of contact for individuals experiencing an overdose.” 

Because of this, proponents of Senate Bill 3779 said allowing social workers to carry and administer naloxone could save lives. The measure would expand legal protections already in place for civilians and other first responders to social workers and their employers so they can administer naloxone without fear of legal retribution. 

Institutions, such as schools and hospitals, can choose to equip their social workers with naloxone. They would need to train eligible employees on how to properly use the medication and develop procurement and storage policies to do so.  – Capitol News Illinois

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Urbana Mayor Marlin confirms she won’t seek third term

Democrat Diane Marlin is confirming what she has been talking about for more than a year: she’ll step down as Urbana mayor when her current term ends next spring.

“After 8 years on City Council and 8 years as mayor, 16 in city government, is a good long run,” Marlin said in an interview with Illinois Public Media.