harris-clark-400State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) is sponsoring a measure inspired by student athlete Rocky Clark that protects high school student athletes who get severely injured while playing sports. The legislation would ensure student athletes are covered.

While playing in a football game for Blue Island’s Eisenhower High School on Sept. 15, 2000, running back Rasul “Rocky” Clark was paralyzed. Rocky received care for the next 10 years through a catastrophic medical insurance policy that was provided by his school. That coverage stopped in 2010 when Rocky’s care exceeded the $5 million cap on the policy.  Rocky died on Thursday, January 5, 2012.

“Every year, thousands of children across Illinois play high school sports. The unfortunate reality is that on rare occasion there are student athletes who are permanently disabled,” Harris said. “Currently, there is no requirement in Illinois that schools carry any kind of insurance to protect those children.”

Rocky’s mom, Annette Clark, joined Senator Harris in a Senate committee meeting on Wednesday. Annette traveled to Springfield to tell her story. She spoke about how hard it was to care for Rocky after his insurance ran out, and they even had to mortgage her house and quit her job. Annette is still mourning the death of her son, and hopes no other family has to go through this.

This measure, Senate Bill 2178, passed Senate committee and will soon be heard in the Illinois Senate.

For more on this story, visit the Senate Democrats website: http://www.senatedem.ilga.gov/index.php/caucus-news/feature-story-archive/3228-harris-moves-first-major-bill-to-protect-student-athletes-in-rocky-clarks-memory

Category: Press Releases

Harris-and-CollinsWith an effective law that assists many families facing foreclosures about to expire, State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) acted this week to extend the law for another three years. This measure gives struggling homeowners time to obtain counseling before losing their homes to foreclosure. 


“The housing crisis is not over yet,” said Harris, co-sponsor of the bill. “We need to allow families who have missed mortgage payments the time and opportunity to seek professional financial advice to keep them in their homes.”


Since this law was passed, more than 48,000 homeowners have received homeownership counseling. The 30-30-30 law requires lenders to send homeowners a warning 30 days after their missed mortgage payment and allow them 30 more days to seek counseling.  After the homeowner receives counseling, they have another 30 days to present a plan to the lender. If the borrower does not seek counseling or follow through with their plan, the lender can foreclose their house.

The measure, Senate Bill 56, has passed the Illinois Senate and is now waiting to be heard in the House of Representatives.

Category: Press Releases

State Senator Napoloen B Harris, III made the following statement after the governor's 2014 budget address today:

“While I give the governor credit for his proposal to grow Illinois and pay off old bills, I am very disappointed he didn’t address the fact that he proposes to cut funding for pre-K through 12 education by $400 million. But I support his proposal to expand early-childhood education, which will help children be more successful with their education.”

Category: Press Releases

Harris-021413js 0050“I’m excited that we were able to pass this in the Senate today. This proposal gives over 12,000 adults in my district access to health care and a primary doctor, cutting down on emergency room visits.  I look forward to further serving my district and to take the necessary steps to see that the needs of my constituents are met,” said State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor) following the Senate’s vote of 40 to 19 on Senate Bill 26.

Key components of Senate Bill 26:

  • All adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit ($15,415 for an individual) will be able to enroll in Medicaid starting January 1, 2014. Currently, adults are eligible for Medicaid only if they have disabilities or care for dependent children.
  • The federal government will reimburse Illinois for 100 percent of the costs of covering these newly eligible enrollees through 2017.
  • The reimbursement rate will decrease gradually after 2017 but stay at 90 percent after 2020.
  • If the federal government fails to reimburse the state at 90 percent or above, the newly eligible clients will become ineligible; Illinois will not be stuck with the bill.

Expected benefits include

  • Access to routine, coordinated care for 342,000 low-income adults
  • Fewer unnecessary and uncompensated emergency room visits
  • An influx of $1.1 billion in federal dollars in the first year and more than $12 billion in federal funds in the first eight years of the expansion
  • Job creation in the health care sector
  • $105 million in annual savings to the state as federal funds replace state expenditures on mental health, HIV/AIDS drugs and other areas of spending
  • A reduction in the burden on hospitals and local government currently caring for the uninsured
  • Better preventive care and mental health care for a vulnerable segment of the population
Category: Press Releases

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