Governor Quinn Signs Legislation to Expand Life-Saving Measures in Illinois Schools Print
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grant Klinzman   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 09:05

Expands Epinephrine Law to Protect Illinois’ Students in Life-Threatening Emergencies

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to sign legislation that will help protect Illinois’ students in life-threatening situations. The new law allows specially-trained school personnel to administer potentially life-saving epinephrine injections to help against serious allergic reactions. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect and improve the health and well-being of people across Illinois.

“We want our schools in Illinois to be high-quality places of learning and that includes making sure our students are safe,” Governor Quinn said. “In cases of severe allergic reactions, there is precious time to act and potentially save a life. This new law will provide more life-saving tools to protect all who attend, work in or visit Illinois’ schools.”

“Increasing access to life-saving allergy medication in schools is a simple yet critical safety measure to better protect our children’s health and safety, particularly at a time when dangerous food allergies are on the rise,” Attorney General Madigan said. “This law will allow trained school personnel to act quickly in the case of an unforeseen medical emergency.”

House Bill 5892 was an initiative of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and was sponsored by State Representative Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) and State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). The legislation allows properly-trained school personnel to administer an epinephrine injection, commonly known as epi-pen, when they believe a student, employee or school visitor is having an anaphylactic reaction. Previously, only school nurses could administer these injections to students. The law sets curriculum requirements to train school personnel and allows students to carry and administer their own epinephrine injections as well as their asthma medication with parental consent. The law is effective Aug. 1, 2014.

“Protecting our children both at school and their associated activities is a top priority,” Representative Michelle Mussman said. “This legislation provides our teachers, school nurses, volunteers and students with the tools and resources they need to provide for the safety of every child and adult in our school buildings.”

“More and more children are being diagnosed with food allergies, with peanuts, eggs, milk, soy and wheat as the most common culprits,” Senator Andy Manar said. “Ensuring timely access to this life-saving medication can mean the difference between life and death for a child.”

Governor Quinn is committed to bringing life-saving measures into Illinois schools. In 2013, Governor Quinn convened a School Safety Summit that included more than 50 top experts from across the state to develop short- and long-term actions to further safeguard Illinois schools. In June he signed a law that requires CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training for students in all Illinois high schools.

Governor Quinn also signed more school safety legislation, making safety drills mandatory at private schools, increasing school safety improvement funds and allowing public school districts to make updated emergency and crisis plans available to first responders, teachers, and administrators through electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops.

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