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July 13, 1999

Governor Signs Legislation Honoring Late-Senator Penny Severns; Approves Other Cancer-Related Initiatives

DECATUR -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation renaming the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund after Penny Severns, the late State Senator from Decatur.

Senate Bill 248, which officially renames the fund the Penny Severns Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund, is one of five bills signed by Ryan today to help raise awareness and fund research to combat various types of cancer.

"The leadership, dignity and courage of Penny Severns is truly inspirational," Ryan said. "Renaming this fund after Sen. Severns is a fitting tribute to a women whose voice and spirit have brought a new level of awareness and hope to women and families throughout Illinois."

The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund supports grants to conduct research related to the causes, prevention and treatment of breast and cervical cancer. Revenues for the fund are generated through a tax check-off on the Illinois income tax form. Since 1993 when the Research Fund was established, total taxpayer donations have averaged $122,000 annually. Last year, nearly 24,000 Illinoisans used the Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund check-off, raising more money than any other check-off fund. All donations are used for breast and cervical cancer research in Illinois. No money is used for administrative costs.

In addition to donations from taxpayers, the Research Fund receives an annual appropriation of $250,000 through the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood, a breast cancer survivor, initiated the state's efforts to memorialize Sen. Severns through the renaming. "Renaming this fund for Penny honors a woman who personified courage in the face of adversity," said Wood. "I commend Governor Ryan for signing this bill and honoring a woman who served as an inspiration to many of us diagnosed with breast cancer."

Senate Bill 248, which takes effect immediately, was sponsored in the Senate by Senators Christine Radogno, R-La Grange; Vince Demuzio, D-Carlinville; Duane Noland, R-Blue Mound; Dave Syverson, R-Rockford and Margaret Smith, D-Chicago. House sponsors were Representatives Julie Curry, D-Mt. Zion; Rick Winkel, R-Champaign; Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park; Renee Kosel, R-New Lenox and Judy Erwin, D-Chicago.

Other health-related measures signed into law today by Ryan:

  • House Bill 1155 creates an income tax check-off for the Prostate Cancer Research Fund. Sponsors include Representatives Terry Parke, R-Hoffman Estates; Mike Boland, D-East Moline; Howard Kenner, D-Chicago; Cal Skinner, R-Crystal Lake; and Gwen Klingler, R-Springfield and Senators Chris Lauzen, R-Aurora and Donne Trotter, D-Chicago. The legislation is effective immediately.

  • Senate Bill 685 establishes the Prostate Cancer Screening Program within the Illinois Department of Public Health. Under this legislation, entities funded through the program are required to provide screening and other services to uninsured or underinsured men of 50 years of age or older or uninsured or underinsured men 40 years of age or older who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer. Sponsors include Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago; Barack Obama, D-Chicago; Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago; Margaret Smith, D-Chicago and Emil Jones, D-Chicago and Representatives Susan Garrett, R-Lake Forest; Lou Lang, D-Skokie; Terry Parke, R-Hoffman Estates; Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview and Mary Flowers, D-Chicago.

    The legislation is effective subject to appropriation or other available funding.

  • Senate Bill 180 expands the promotional program of the Department of Public Health to bolster their efforts to raise public awareness about gynecological cancer. The bill also contains a provision requiring the Illinois Department on Aging to expand their health promotional program to target information regarding the dangers of HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases to persons over the age of 50. Sponsors include Senators Margaret Smith, D-Chicago and Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood and Representatives Lou Jones, D-Chicago; Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago; Connie Howard, D-Chicago; Shirley Jones, D-Chicago and Carol Ronen, D-Chicago. The bill is effective January 1, 2000.

  • Senate Bill 466 requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to work closely with the Cancer Information Service to promote awareness regarding ovarian cancer. Sponsors include Senators David Sullivan, R-Park Ridge, Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange; Judy Myers, R-Danville; Kathleen Parker, R-Northbrook and Duane Noland, R-Blue Mound and Representatives Rosemary Mulligan, R-Des Plaines; William O'Connor, R-Riverside; Bill Mitchell, R-Decatur; Dale Righter, R-Mattoon; and Ron Wait, R-Belvidere. The bill is effective immediately.

    "These bills are designed to combat cancer in one form or another," Ryan added. "I want to thank all those who worked to pass these measures and bring us one step closer to finding a cure for this tragic disease."

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