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Prep Yourself for the IL Legislative Session!

Our elected officials will returned to Springfield this week, we are off and running in the advocacy department on a new legislative session as well!
Before we jump right in and ask you to make those important phone calls and send those urgent emails to the legislature, here is a quick rundown of the issues we're going to be focusing on this legislative session.

· Prevent and Reduce ObesityHealthy Eating Active Living Act: Reducing the Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages

  • Secure a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and ensure that a portion of the state revenue generated by the tax is dedicated to health, obesity prevention and Medicaid funding.

· Prevent and Reduce ObesityProtect P.E. in Illinois Schools and Implementation of P.E. in Chicago Public Schools

  • Protect IL’s strong elementary and secondary school P.E. mandate from expected attacks and ensure the implementation of daily P.E. in Chicago Public Schools.

· Tobacco ControlProtect the Illinois Smoke-Free Air Act

  • Prevent any rollback of existing Smoke Free IL protections, notably in casinos and taverns.

· Systems of CareStatewide STEMI System of Care

  • Establish STEMI Systems of Care in line with the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Campaign via statewide legislation and work to secure state funding to assist local communities in purchasing automated external defibrillators, 12-lead EKGs, ambulances and other critical EMS equipment and infrastructure.

· System of CareRebuild Illinois’ EMS System

  • Rebuild Illinois’s EMS system by securing a stable, dedicated funding source for EMS and pursue an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for EMS providers.

· Acute Cardiovascular CareLauren’s Law Implementation

  • Ensure the implementation of Lauren’s Law requiring all high school students to learn CPR prior to high school graduation.

Sounds pretty ambitious, doesn't it? The American Heart Association believes that everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. That is our why. As always, we're going to need your help to be successful with these policy priorities, so as you look at the list above, ask yourself which of the issues fits in with your why.
Whatever the reason, if you’d like to get more involved and work hand-in-hand with us on any of these issues, please send me an email ( or drop me a line (414-227-1410) anytime!


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Lauren's Law Update

Schools across Illinois are making great strides towards implementing the Lauren Laman CPR and AED training law, passed earlier this year and signed by Governor Pat Quinn on June 5, 2014. The law makes quality CPR and AED training a required part of the existing, required-for-graduation health curriculum for all secondary school students in Illinois. AHA/ASA staff and volunteers have been proud to work with the Laman family in order to help create a fitting and life-saving legacy for their daughter, Lauren.

Check out this great article that ran in the October 5 Springfield State-Journal Register on the implementation of the law.

Defibrillator law less costly, not as difficult for schools than feared

School districts in Illinois for the first time this year are required to teach students how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator.

After early uncertainty about how to comply and what it might cost, area school officials said last week that it isn’t as difficult or expensive as feared.

"I think it’s one of the mandates that is good," said Rick Sanders, director of school support for the Springfield School District. "It’s not very expensive, and the payback could be potentially huge." Read more here.

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Illinois Schools Observe New Law Requiring CPR, AED Training

Check out the article below from the Kane County Chronicle putting Lauren's Law into action. (Photo credit - Sandy Bressner, Shaw Media)

George Laman, whose teenage daughter died six years ago after collapsing during a drill team practice at St. Charles North High School, hopes that a new, potentially lifesaving law she inspired is taken seriously by teachers and students.

"If you have an emergency situation, you don’t have time to think," the Campton Hills resident said. "If you pay attention, you have a much better chance of being successful."

Gov. Pat Quinn last month signed the Lauren Laman Bill into law, requiring all students in Illinois high schools to learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and to administer CPR. Continue reading here.

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Player's Life Saved by CPR and AED at Basketball Game

Just days after Gov. Quinn signed Lauren’s Law , requiring all Illinois high schools to offer CPR and AED training in the curriculum, a Porta High School student’s life was saved when his coach and bystander performed CPR and used an AED after he collapsed during a basketball game. Check out the great story from WICS below.

On June 5, Gov. Quinn signed Lauren's Law, a requirement for high school students to learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator. Two days after, a Porta High School student collapsed at a school event, and with the help of an AED, his life was saved.

"I've been around basketball and I played in college, watched it all the time, and I've never experienced anything like it," said Nick Rathgeb, varsity basketball coach at Porta High School.

Rathgeb was the first to reach his varsity player, Nick Atterberry, on the court after he collapsed seven minutes into a school basketball game.  Continue reading here

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Dr. Andrew Rauh submits Letter to the Editor on Lauren's Law

The celebration for Lauren’s Law, the CPR in Schools bill, continues!  Check out this great Letter to the Editor from Midwest Affiliate Board President and Illinois resident Dr. Andrew Rauh which was published in the Chicago Tribune last week.

As a cardiologist and president of the American Heart Association’s Midwest Affiliate board of directors, I’d like to applaud Rep. Dan Burke and Sen. John Mulroe for their support of the Lauren Laman Law, House Bill 3724. The bill, which passed the Illinois State Senate and is now headed to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature, ensures that all secondary schools in Illinois include CPR and AED training in their curriculum.

Lauren Laman was a high school senior in St. Charles when she went into cardiac arrest during drill team practice. While there was an AED in the school building, it was not used, and those around her didn’t perform CPR. Laman tragically passed away that day at the age of 18. The Lauren Laman Law creates a fitting legacy for her, and it will save lives in Illinois for generations to come.

We see proof of this law’s value again thanks to the Bell family of Elmhurst. Harry Bell, a high school junior, learned CPR at school, and when his father, Eric, went into cardiac arrest, he used those skills to save his life. Continue reading here

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Lauren's Law is on it's way to the Governor

We would like to share a bit of good news! Our bill to mandate that all Illinois high-schools add CPR and AED training to their curriculum, House Bill 3724, cleared its final legislative barrier earlier today when the Senate approved it 48 – 4.  HB 3724, which some of you may know as the Lauren Laman Law, will now be sent to the Governor’s office for signature later this summer (the Governor’s office is supportive of the bill). 

As you’ll recall, Lauren Laman was a high-school senior in St. Charles, IL when she collapsed from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in the school gym during dance team practice.  No one performed CPR as they waited for EMS to arrive, and while there was an AED in the building, it was not used.  We’ve been working with Lauren’s parents for about a year now to build a fitting legislative legacy for their daughter, and we are proud to say that as a result of today’s vote, we’re a lot closer to accomplishing that goal this afternoon than we were this morning. 

Considering the initial "no way, definitely not now, and maybe not ever" opposition we faced from various school administration lobbies, the degree of support this bill ultimately received is truly impressive.  That support is in large part a result of all the petition cards, You’re the Cure email actions, electronic witness slips, and in-person meetings generated over the past six months by that the Laman family, AHA/ASA volunteers, and partner organizations like the Illinois EMS Alliance. 

This has truly been a group effort, and it’s one we can all be proud of.  On behalf of the Laman family, the Bell family (who added their CPR survivor story to several committee hearings and helped legislators see that in-school training really does save lives), and all of our terrific partner organizations, thank you for your help in passing this life-saving legislation! 

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About Lauren's Law

On February 8, 2008, Lauren Laman was in the gym at St. Charles North High School practicing with the rest of her dance team when she went into Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). While an AED was available, it was not used, and while CPR was eventually administered, it was not sufficient. By the time EMS arrived it was too late, and Lauren died. Lauren was a senior at St. Charles North, with plans to major in dance at Northern Illinois University following her upcoming graduation.

In an effort to prevent future tragedies and to build a legacy for Lauren and for all who have lost their lives unnecessarily to SCA, Lauren’s parents, George and Mary, and her brother Matthew have begun a campaign to ensure that all Illinois high-school students are trained in CPR and AED use prior to graduation via House Bill 3724.

Introduced by Rep. Dan Burke, HB 3724 would undoubtedly help save lives in Illinois for generations to come. Cardiac arrest strikes approximately 424,000 Americans every year. For those who do not receive bystander CPR and/or AED assistance, the survival rate is just 10.4%. For those who do receive timely bystander CPR and/or AED assistance, the survival rate can rise above 50%.

It’s worth noting that schools would not need to provide traditional and time-consuming CPR and AED full certification course, but instead could provide a one-time, easy to teach, easy to learn 30-minute or less CPR and AED training course which includes a psychomotor-skill component – practice on a CPR mannequin. In fact, many Illinois schools already teach similar CPR and AED training coursed during PE, health, or other appropriate classes, and thus would already be in compliance with this new requirement.

School not already providing their students CPR and AED training could follow the implementation model being used successfully in many of the 12 states which already have CPR and AED training requirements. In this model, schools partner with local Fire and EMS services, hospitals, health education programs (i.e. college programs in nursing, EMS, etc.) to secure the loan of CPR mannequins and AED training modules. The training itself can be done via a video, via instructor (i.e. a local EMT or nurse), or even by a teacher who had previously received CPR and AED training, along with practice on CPR mannequins. Schools unable to find local partners could seek private grant funding or community financing in the rare event that local Fire/EMS partners are unable to help.


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Senate Committees pass two top-priority bills

It has been a successful day in Springfield, where two of our top-priority bills passed Senate committees earlier this afternoon! HB 3724, a bill which will make CPR and AED training a mandatory part of IL’s high-school curriculum, passed the Senate Education Committee, while HB 5742, a bill which will allow the state to recognize comprehensive stroke centers and fund the creation of a state stroke registry (among other things), passed the Senate Public Health Committee, clearing the way for final votes on both bills on the Senate floor in the coming weeks. 

 The Laman, and the Bell family, House and Senate Sponsors (pictured below) spoke at the Illinois Senate Education Committee hearing yesterday in support of the two bills.  It's worth noting that while this is a big step in the right direction and will make CPR/AED training according to AHA/ARC standards a mandatory part of the curriculum for schools, we'll still need to work via the rules process and likely via additional legislation in the coming years to go the final step and make it that training a graduation requirement for students.  

 Read more about this important bill in this Chicago Tribune article.

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Supporters of Lauren's Law

Proponents of this life-saving bill include:

American Heart Association

American Red Cross

Associated Firefighters of Illinois

Illinois AFL-CIO

Illinois Association of Retired Firefighters

Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network

Illinois College of Emergency Physicians

Illinois EMS Alliance

Illinois Fire Chiefs Association

Illinois Fire Inspectors Association

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance

Illinois Fire Service Institute

Illinois Firefighters Association

Illinois Heart Rescue Project

Illinois Professional Firefighters Association

Illinois Rural Health Association

Illinois Society of Fire Service instructors

Illinois State Ambulance Association

Lake County Health Dept.

McLean County Area EMS System

Northern Illinois Alliance of Fire Protection


Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium

Southern Illinois University Rural Medical

Transportation Network

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Lauren’s Law in the News

In December, we had some great media attention around Lauren’s Law, HB 3724, a bill that would require all Illinois high school students to be trained in CPR and AED use prior to high school graduation.  Please check out this great coverage and awareness below.  Then check our to learn more about the American Heart Association’s initiative to train the next generation of life-savers.

From the Aurora Beacon News
Lauren Laman Bill would require student training for CPR and defibrillator use - Aurora Beacon News.  Today (12/16) would have been Lauren Laman’s 24th birthday. Instead of celebrating what should be a happy occasion, her parents are urging legislators to require all Illinois high school students to learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED), something that might have saved her life.

Kane County Chronicle
Lauren Laman, a former St. Charles North High School student who died in 2008, has inspired a bill that would require Illinois high school students to learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator and administer CPR.

Fox News 32
Lauren’s Law – St. Charles family fights for first aid graduation requirement.

NBC News 5
A St. Charles couple lost their daughter because nobody knew how to use the Automated Electronic Defibrillator that was nearby. Now they’re trying to turn their grief into something that could save lives. Nesita Kwan reports.

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