Illinois Families For Midwifery -- homebirthishealthy.org
Illinois Midwifery Legislative Updates
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Illinois Midwifery Legislative Updates
2008 Legislative Updates

Year in Review -- 2008
The year 2008 was an eventful year. We worked hard to try to get through the House, negotiated with the nurses, and came to an agreement on educational requirements with the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing (ISAPN). The House Registration and Regulation Committee told us they wanted to see the full Rules and Regulations spelled out in the legislation, so we also came to agreement on that with the ISAPN, concerning specific practice protocols and rules surrounding emergency medications. In all, these Rules came out pretty well, and Illinois will have middle-of-the-road in terms of strictness, and good medications allowances to assure safety for mothers and babies planning a home birth.

While we were poised to try to move the bill in the November veto session, after reviewing all the angles, we and our sponsors decided it would be more prudent to wait until the new General Assembly starts in 2009.

A lot of people are wondering just how "dead" the bill (or cause) is, since we are not moving the bill in the 2008 Veto Session, and both SB 385 and HB6653 will, technically, expire when this General Assembly ends. Even thought it's disappointing not to pass a bill now, there still is later ... in the next General Assembly! The fact that we are not trying to push the bill through this Veto Session this year is actually a huge step forward for us, as a movement, because our sponsors care enough, and communicate with us well enough so that we are waiting until the time is right to call for a vote. In the past, we did not receive this type of guidance from our sponsor, but that's one of the most valuable things a good sponsor provides: safe steerage through the choppy waters of politics. So, this time, our sponsors gauged our chances given the current climate, and decided it would be prudent to wait. In the past, we've had so many bills that got voted down, year after year, that we had inherited a reputation of being a "losing cause." Every year our sponsor called a losing vote in committee. Now, we are building up more and more support, and our vote count is better than ever before, but not quite to the level that our sponsors can be confident enough to try to move the bill through the house. So, for now we are continuing to negotiate and lobby, so that we can return another day to finish this important work! This is not a death knell for licensing CPMs in Illinois!!! The one thing we have that our opponents never will is you. Much of our progress is directly due to your efforts in your home districts, and your trips to Springfield to meet with your representatives. You are still here, continuing to build a relationship with your state representative, so they can see that home birth is a reasonable choice that their own constituents make, that home birth parents are committed to seeing this through, and now you are helping us to reach out to more representatives than ever before! Think of this: in the year 2005, HB645 had just three sponsors, and received only six 'yes' votes with 17 'no' votes in the House Registration and Regulation Committee. Now, in 2008, we have 32 sponsors, and a record of passing the entire Illinois Senate with a vote of 51-7 (plus enough savvy to know when not to call for a vote)! We've come a long, long way, and we have a little further, so take a breath and get ready for the year to come!

2007 Legislative Updates

SUMMER BREAK
For the first time ever we avoided being voted down in the Illinois House Registration & Regulation Committee and were able to present testimony at a "subject matter only" hearing. Also for the first time, the Registration and Regulation Committee is continuing discussion about a direct-entry midwifery licensure bill! SB 385!


LATE BREAKING NEWS FROM SPRINGFIELD -- March 7, 2007
We are making progress! The members of the State Senate Licensed Activities Committee have heard from many of you who live in their distircts, and we have followed up with them in Springfield. They are opening their minds. If you haven't contacted your state senator yet, there is still time!

Our Mothers & Midwives Lobby Day was a hit. The Velander family was even introduced to the Senate Gallery during their time in Springfield.

We have another Lobby Day next week on Tuesday, March 13, followed by our hearing on Wednesday, March 14!

Feb 15, 2007
We have just received word that the Illinois State Medical Society is already lobbying hard against SB385! Before it's even been assigned to committee. So, please continue to support us by contacting your senator and consider making a donation so we can keep the lobbyist representing your interests in Springfield!

February 2007 General Update -- This is an exciting season for us. In addition to our regular bill submitted by State Representative Mary Flowers, we have submitted SB385. the Midwifery Licensure Act in the Illinois senate! This was achieved with the help of our lobbyist, who we have again contracted with, and our main sponsor, home birth dad, State Senator William Haine.

If you live in Illinois, please contact your state senator and ask him or her to co-sponser SB385, the Midwifery Licensure Act. Then email Pat what you did and if you received any questions or feedback! (This is an important step; we need to keep track of who's been contacted.)

As co-sponsors sign on to the bills, we will list them here, so check back. You may get to thank your state legislators for their support, rather than ask for it.

As of Tues., Feb. 13, 2007, we currently have the following sponsors (if your senator is listed, send a thank-you note):
  • William R. Haine (D), our main sponsor from the Alton area,
  • Martin A. Sandoval (D), a chief co-sponsor from Cicero/parts of Chicago
  • Iris Y. Martinez (D), a chief co-sponsor from Chicago, Logan Square/Avondale area (and West from there),
  • William Delgado (D), chief co-sponsor from Chicago, Logan Square, Bucktown, and Humboldt Park (and West from there),
  • William E. Peterson (R), chief co-sponsor from the Northwest suburbs, including Buffalo Grove, and
  • Jacqueline Y. Collins (D), a co-sponsor from the South Side of Chicago.

2006 Legislative Update
This year may have seemed slower year due to the nature of the session, a so-called "Emergency Session", which occurs every two years in Illinois, coinciding with the general election for the Illnois House. Fewer bills are submitted, and reelection campaigns take up a lot of time for the state representatives, so the Coalition chose not to submit a bill this session.

Although we didn't submit a bill, we did submit a resolution in the Illinois House, with the help of one of our newer sponsors, Rep. Paul Froelich (R - Schaumburg). This was a "sister" resolution and identical to the previously passed Senate Resolution (see 2005 update, below). However, in the Illinois House our resolution did not pass out of the "Rules" committee. In essence, it stalled before it was assigned to the proper committe to review it. This reflects a possible trend that began four years ago when the governor's office stopped issuing the CPM Resolution for the International Day of the Midwife, citing an alleged controversy of the topic. (refer to old IFFM newsletter ... more details to come)

Coalition representatives Michelle Breen and Colette Bernhard attended the Latino Caucus Conference! (check back for exciting details)

2005 Legislative Update
For the past several years, bills to license direct-entry midwives have been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly. These bills have never gotten out of committee. This year's bill was HB645 The Certified Professional Midwife Licensure Act. This would license midwives who hold a nationally recognized certification for direct-entry midwives. Once again the bill did not pass out of committee; we were actually relieved. This gives us two more years to build a broader base of support in the General Assembly before we have a full house vote!

Later in the session, we submitted and passed Senate Resolution 189 which recognized that homebirth is a healthy option and that the role of midwives should be included in the discussion of the state's ob/gyn crisis. This was a great victory for us! It felt good to have the General Assembly say "yes" to us. Now Let's keep that momentum going!
Your participation is CRUCIAL to getting midwives licensed!



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