footballState Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) celebrated as his proposal that requires schools to offer catastrophic insurance coverage for student athletes passed the Illinois House on Monday.

 Inspired by Rasul “Rocky” Clark, Harris’ proposal ensures that student athletes will not be left without coverage if they sustain injuries that leave them paralyzed while representing their schools in athletics.

“These injuries are rare, but when they do happen it’s devastating for the student and their families,” Harris said. “These students have sacrificed everything for their schools, and they deserve access to health care.”

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Category: Press Releases

Harris051413 js 0211The Illinois YouthBuild Coalition (IYBC) is a statewide, non-profit program that trains young adults and juveniles for careers in carpentry and construction.  IYBC programs are located in Rockford, Bloomington, East St. Louis, Waukegan, Aurora, Lake County, Rock Island, Mt. Vernon, Springfield, Peoria, Cairo, Chicago, Godfrey and Harvey. 

Approximately 75 members from these programs met in the Capitol today to display ‘Aldo Leopold’ benches each team constructed to showcase job skills training. Members of the General Assembly will then vote on the best exhibit and award prizes to the winning teams.

With Sen. Harris: Julian Washington, Emmanuel Jeudy, and OAI Chicago Southland Director Mollie Dowling.

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State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) applauded the Senate on their vote to pass a union-backed proposal for pension reform.

President Cullerton’s Senate Bill 2404 gives new employees the opportunity to choose between a cost of living adjustment and retiree health care. It is a bipartisan proposal supported by the We Are One Coalition of unions and guarantees 90% funding of the pension systems by 2045.

“Although I was unable to be there, I’m happy the Senate was able to agree on this proposal,” said Harris. “These decisions are difficult, but the state cannot afford to wait to take action. Right now more money goes into pensions than into public education, and with this fair and bi partisan proposal we can get our state back on track."

Harris did not attend today’s session because this week his wife gave birth to their third child.

SB 2404 now waits to be heard in the House of Representatives.

For details about SB 2404, visit the Senate Democrat Caucus website here.

Category: Press Releases

Harris-042413br0328Every year, thousands of high school athletes represent their schools. But what's largely unknown to the public is that those schools have no responsibility to those student athletes should they suffer a catastrophic injury during a game and end up paralyzed.

State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) wants that to change. On Wednesday he convinced the Illinois Senate to approve legislation that requires schools to offer such catastrophic coverage for such rare, worst-case situations.

"Student athletes are held to a higher standard by their schools. It only seems fair to require those schools to be there for their student athletes,” Harris said. “It's unconscionable to me to think that a teenage athlete could get paralyzed during a game and be left with no health coverage."

The minimum policy for a school will cover $3 million in aggregate benefits or 5 years of coverage, whichever comes first, for injuries that result in medical expenses in excess of $50,000. All schools will have this insurance, except for those who already require athletes to have private insurance. Before this proposal, there was no requirement in Illinois that schools carry insurance for their athletes.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) already provides students with this catastrophic insurance for states tournaments. To extend this coverage for the entire season, officials estimate costs for schools to be less than $5 per athlete.

"Your level of health care shouldn't be decided by you team's win-loss record," said Harris.

Some schools already offer this insurance voluntarily. Rasul “Rocky” Clark was lucky his school had a plan to cover catastrophic injuries. Rocky, a running back from Blue Island High School, was paralyzed after suffering two broken vertebrae in his neck and a spinal cord injury, and was left a quadriplegic following the injury. However, his insurance ran out in 2012 and he died soon after.

Senator Harris has worked with Rocky’s mother to push for extended coverage of permanently injured high school athletes.

For more on this story, visit the senator’s website, www.senatornapoleonharris.com or facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/SenatorNapoleonBHarrisIII.

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