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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A proposed law that could save a college student's life is now in the hands of the Governor.

If approved, students could fill out a release of information form to give parents access to their mental health records.
The law was inspired by the Predmore family from Bartonville. They lost their son Chris to suicide last year. He was a freshman at I-S-U.

State Representative David Leitch introduced the legislation and today it cleared the Illinois General Assembly.

It now goes to the Governor's desk for his signature.
Rep. Leitch serving on the panel discussion for infrastructure investment issues in Peoria today. Thanks to Director Blankenhorn and Illinois Department of Transportation for hosting this conversation about improving our transportation infrastructure in a long-term, sustainably funded way in Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD… State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) announced he was ‘proud’ of the decision made by Governor Bruce Rauner to restore $26 million in funding cuts and reserves on human services and public health funding for the remainder for Fiscal Year 15.

The cuts and reserves were issued under Executive Order 15-8 on April 3rd and affected programs including the Autism Program, burial for the indigent, developmental disability funding, epilepsy funding, some mental health programs, and others.

The cuts and reserves were necessary due to the FY 15 budget passed by Democrats last year being out of balance with expected revenues.  The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) announced this week that they expect an additional $300-500 million in extra revenue from last year, allowing Governor Rauner to restore funding to these important programs through June.

“As a member of the Human Services-Appropriations Committee, I understand these issues very intimately,” said Rep. David Leitch from Springfield on Thursday.  “I am very thankful and proud of Governor Rauner for announcing this decision and for his continued stewardship of a very tough financial situation.  Everyone is trying to do the very best they can with the result of a state budget that has been mismanaged for many years.”

Leitch went on to say, “there are still many tough decisions ahead for the Fiscal Year 16 budget, but this is a positive step for people who really need help.”

Rep. Leitch can be reached at his Peoria Legislative Office at 309-690-7373.
Rep. David Leitch with Rep. Patti Bellock, Former Congresswoman Judy Biggert, Rep. Margo McDermed, and Rep. Ron Sandack on the House floor today.

SPRINGFIELD… State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) announced today that two bills he sponsored to improve mental health services in Illinois have both cleared the Illinois House.

HB 3599, which passed the Illinois House unanimously on Tuesday, creates the Student Optional Disclosure of Private Mental Health Act.  Under provisions of the act, students would be provided the opportunity to pre-authorize in writing the disclosure of certain private mental health information to a designated person.  The bill was suggested to Rep. Leitch by Kim and Mike Predmore of Bartonville.  The Predmores tragically lost their son, Chris, to suicide.  Mike Predmore urged passage of the bill in emotional testimony presented in the Judiciary-Civil Committee in March.  “We understand that not every student will take advantage of this opportunity, but if it helps save the life of even one student- it’s worth it and will help raise mental health awareness on college campuses in Illinois,” said Mike Predmore in his committee testimony on March 18th.

“This idea is simple, but very important.  This bill enables students to voluntarily pre-authorize release of certain information to a designee like a parent if they have ongoing mental health issues.  Now, when a student turns 18, such notifications are prohibited.  Under this bill, the student may pre-authorize the university professional to discuss the students’ health condition with those who need to be informed of their struggles or progress,” said Leitch from Springfield.  “This is especially important for college-age youth, as this is often the time of life when mental illness can surface.”

Leitch also passed a second bill on Tuesday to increase mental health services for older Illinoisans.  HB 3753, which passed 110-1-1, would integrate mental health services for older adults in primary care medical settings.  “Often, mental health issues for older adults are identified at a much lower rate than other adult populations.  Undiagnosed mental illness for older adults is a huge problem in our care delivery system.  OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria is already moving this direction, but this bill would authorize the Illinois Department of Aging to enact the same protocols,” said Leitch.

HB 3753 is supported by AARP, the Community Behavioral Health Association of Illinois, Illinois Coalition on Mental Health & Aging, Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging, as well as the Illinois Department of Aging. 

Both HB 3599 and HB 3753 will now go to the Illinois Senate for debate.  Rep. Leitch can be reached at his Peoria Legislative Office at 309-690-7373.

SPRINGFIELD… State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) joined other Central Illinois legislators in voting for the Fiscal Year 15 State Budget fix legislation aimed at addressing the $1.6 billion shortfall of the State Budget.  Without action, the state would run out of money next month to pay court reporters, prison guards, childcare providers, and other funding including assistance to developmentally disabled and mentally ill.

“I met with countless families affected by the impending cuts to daycare and community-based services.  Further, our Courts would grind to a halt if court reporters were not paid, not to mention the problems within our prison systems by guards’ pay halting.  What was critically important is that the legislature not jeopardize any federal matching funding and minimize the immediate risk to local government funding.

Leitch went on to say, “there is a lot of pain that still comes with this budget fix.  It would be an understatement to say this was nobody’s ideal solution, but it was needed to give Governor Rauner the ability he needs to manage the remainder of the FY 15 state budget.”

“I also want to thank Governor Rauner for being compassionate enough to recognize that the initially proposed cuts to autism funding, developmentally disabled services, and services to the mentally ill, were not prudent budget balancing ideas.  These are areas of the budget I have worked on very hard for many years and the Governor agreed they should be spared from the painful cuts occurring throughout the budget due to the ineptitude of the entrenched super-majority that passed this unbalanced state budget last year.”

House Bills 317 and 318 were the two bills passed on Tuesday to fix the funding shortfall in last year’s state budget in order to allow the state to pay bills through the end of June.  Both bills passed with bipartisan majorities and will now go to the State Senate where it is hoped they will pass this week.

Rep. Leitch can be reached at his Peoria Legislative Office at 309-690-7373.