Pritzker Calls For Federal Action On Guns, Supports Assault Weapons Ban – Shaw Local

SPRINGFIELD – Following a July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park that left seven people dead and dozens injured, Governor JB Pritzker is calling for a nationwide and nationwide ban on military-style assault rifles and of great capacity. magazines.

The governor has made those calls on national cable television and at the White House in recent days.

“While I support a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines at the state level, we urgently need federal regulation of weapons of war and large capacity magazines that are only used than for mass murder,” Pritzker said in a statement last week. . “Illinois is not an island, and even with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, our state is only as safe as the state with the weakest laws – many of which border the ‘Illinois.”

The weapon used in the Highland Park shooting has been identified as a Smith and Wesson M&p 15, a semi-automatic rifle that holds 30 round magazines of 5.56mm ammunition. The alleged shooter allegedly used three of these magazines in his attack at a July 4 parade, firing more than 80 shots in just a few minutes.

Although the letters “M&P” stand for “Military & Police”, it and others like it were widely available to civilians at sporting goods stores across the country.

The weapon used in Highland Park is also similar to weapons used in other recent mass shootings, including the May 24 shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, and the May 14 shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store that killed 10 people.

All of these weapons are modeled after the Colt AR-15, a semi-automatic version of a rifle originally designed for the military.

On Monday, Pritzker and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering were at the White House for an event with President Joe Biden marking the recent signing of the Safe Communities Act, the first major federal gun violence law in near 30 years old.

Later that day, Pritzker appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and reiterated his call for additional measures to control gun violence, including strengthening red flag and prohibition laws. state and federal assault weapons.

Gun rights advocates, on the other hand, argue that eliminating one type of gun from society will not address the underlying causes of gun violence.

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NEW IDPH DIRECTOR: Illinois will soon have a new director of the public health department after Governor JB Pritzker announced the appointment this week.

Dr. Sameer Vohra, a Springfield pediatrician, will still need state Senate approval to become the permanent replacement for former director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, who retired as director of the state health to run the Sinai Health System, a non-profit hospital.

Until then, he will serve in an “acting” capacity.

Vohra is a general pediatrician with degrees in law and public policy, with a recent focus on improving health outcomes in central and southern Illinois, according to the governor’s office. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where he received his MD.

Vohra said in a press release that he was touched by the announcement.

“Governor. Pritzker, along with the dedicated staff of IDPH, have served our state admirably during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “I am honored to lead this agency into the future, by continuing to protect us from emerging diseases, supporting our public health workers, and promoting wellness in all communities across Illinois.”

Vohra’s job, which will officially begin on August 1, comes with a salary of $185,673. He will then replace Amaal Tokars, an assistant to Ezike who has held the post since the departure of the former director. She will remain assistant director.

Vohra completed a residency in pediatrics and a Master of Arts in public policy at the University of Chicago, and holds a Juris Doctorate from the SIU School of Law, where he graduated first in his class. He completed his undergraduate studies at Northwestern University.

“Dr. Vohra is accomplished in every sense of the word,” Pritzker said in a statement announcing the appointment. “His experience and training transcend industries and domains, bringing a comprehensive perspective to this agency. leader of public and national health policy, I have absolute confidence in Dr. Vohra’s ability to continue to shape a stronger IDPH for the 21st century.

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EXECUTIVE ORDER: Governor JB Pritzker has continued to scale back his executive orders related to a 30-day COVID-19 disaster declaration since March 2020.

His latest executive order, issued Tuesday, July 12, reduced the level of testing required for unvaccinated healthcare workers.

Unvaccinated workers in skilled nursing facilities, homes for the developmental and other long-term care facilities will be required to test weekly only when levels of COVID-19 transmission are at a low. moderate level, and twice a week at substantial or high levels as classified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Testing is not necessary when transmission levels are low, according to the governor’s order.

For hospitals and other facilities, weekly testing is required when transmission levels are high, while no testing is required in low transmission areas.

On Thursday, the level of transmission of COVID-19, a measure based on new cases per 100,000 people over the previous seven days, was high in all of the state’s 102 counties, According to the CDC. The level was only considered “low” in 1.4% of the entire United States.

The latest executive order does not reissue vaccination mandates for emergency services personnel or higher education employees or students.

The mandates will remain in place in K-12 schools and daycares.

Pritzker’s latest disaster declaration runs through July 24, and he noted in a June 30 interview with Capitol News Illinois that he plans to continue issuing the commands while reducing their scope.

There were 1,342 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday evening, up about 200 to 300 from the same time last month, but still a far cry from the pandemic highs of January, when more than 7,000 Illinois were hospitalized . COVID-19 patients occupied 150 intensive care unit beds, also well below pandemic highs when more than 1,200 intensive care beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients.

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ABORTION SERVICES: Planned Parenthood affiliates in Illinois and Wisconsin said Thursday they have formed a partnership to expand abortion clinic services to Waukegan to help residents of Wisconsin, where abortion services are now prohibited.

The announcement came three weeks after the United States Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, who legalized abortion nationwide. After the court made that decision, an 1849 Wisconsin law that criminalizes abortion automatically came back into effect.

“We opened Waukegan Health Center in 2020 in anticipation of this moment,” Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said during a virtual press conference. “We expected Wisconsin to end access to abortion care as soon as Roe fell, so we were ready to give Wisconsin patients the care they needed.”

Under this arrangement, patients can still visit one of four clinics in Wisconsin to receive care before and after the procedure. But several Wisconsin clinicians, nurses and other staff are traveling to the Waukegan clinic to expand the capacity of that health center and other clinics in Illinois through telehealth.

Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said her organization anticipated the reversal of Roe v. Wade for years and had been working for several months to establish partnerships with out-of-state vendors.

According to Guttmacher Institutean organization that supports abortion rights, even after the original Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin imposed a number of procedural restrictions.

These included a 24-hour waiting period and state-directed counseling that included information designed to discourage a patient from having an abortion, a ban on the use of telemedicine to administer abortive drugs; and the requirement of parental consent to perform an abortion on a minor, among others.

Illinois, on the other hand, imposes virtually no legal restrictions on access to abortion services. A 2019 law known as the Reproductive Health Act declares access to abortion services a “fundamental right” under Illinois law. And last year, lawmakers repealed what was known as the Parental Notice of Abortion Act, requiring parents of minors seeking abortions to be notified before the procedure can be carried out.

For this reason, many Wisconsin residents seeking abortions have turned to out-of-state providers, including those in Illinois. But Kristen Schultz, director of strategy and operations for the Illinois branch, said that since the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, the number of Wisconsin residents traveling to Illinois for abortion services increased 10-fold.

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES COORDINATOR: Energy reform of the Climate and Employment Equity Act, passed last year, included the requirement that the state hire an electric vehicle coordinator within the Energy Protection Agency Illinois environment.

On July 1, Megha Lakhchaura was appointed to this position with a salary of $180,000 per year. She will lead the state’s effort to put 1 million electric vehicles on state roads by 2030 through a number of incentives in state law and the deployment of extensive charging infrastructure.

She previously served since 2018 as North America Policy Director for EVBox, an Amsterdam-based electric vehicle supply equipment company. Previously, she was director of policy for rooftop solar and battery storage provider Sunrun Inc., and was a utility regulatory analyst for the California Public Utilities Commission.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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