HB 1779 Munoz

SPRINGFIELD - Biomarker testing — the medical technology used to determine medical risk factors like cancer — will be covered under state-regulated insurance plans, thanks to a measure sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) that was signed into law today.

“Patients looking to find answers about their health issues will now be able to without worrying about the costs,” Munoz said. “State-regulated insurance plans will cover biomarker testing, which helps figure out the right treatment at the right time to improve the quality of life for patients.”

A “biomarker” is a sign of disease or abnormal function that can be measured in blood, tissue or bodily fluid. In cancer care, biomarkers are often used to help determine the best treatment for a patient. Biomarker testing analyzes a patient’s tissue, blood or other biospecimen for the presence of a biomarker.

Insurance coverage for biomarker testing is limited and disparate, a fact Munoz said leads to inequities in care for cancer patients.

The new law requires group and individual accident and health insurance policies and managed care plans to include coverage for biomarker testing for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment.

“Communities of color and people with lower income face inequalities in our health care services,” Munoz said. “This gives all patients, no matter their income, access to these medical advancements.” 

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

ComputerCHICAGO – To expand digital access, Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) is urging local organizations to apply for the second round of state broadband grant funding.

“The COVID-19 pandemic further showed us how many communities struggle to gain access to the internet,” Munoz said. “I encourage local organizations to help us bridge the digital divide by applying for local broadband funding.”

The Office of Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program is designed to increase access, adoption and use of high-speed internet access through the lens of digital equity and inclusion. To further these efforts across all ten economic development regions of the state, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Broadband is launching the next READY notice of funding opportunity, with another $250,000 available for grants.

The Broadband READY program is part of a comprehensive Digital Equity Package to boost broadband capacity while addressing existing broadband equity gaps. The READY program and other investments to enhance community planning and equitable implementation will complement the Connect Illinois program, a $400 million plan to deliver universal access to high-speed internet statewide.

Funding can be used to expand immediate broadband connectivity, conduct outreach and engagement to identify current digital inequities and establish next steps forward. Its aim is to create a digital inclusion ecosystem through regional collaboration among institutions of higher education, planning councils, community and economic development organizations, schools, libraries, health care and local leaders and other related stakeholders.

“We rely heavily on the internet for work, school and to communicate with others,” Munoz said. “We need to address this issue head on to ensure people have internet that doesn’t fail them.”

The application deadline for the second round of READY grants is Oct. 4, 2021. Visit the Illinois Office of Broadband website for information on eligibility criteria or application assistance.

Munoz

CHICAGO – Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) has been appointed to the Illinois Veteran’s Advisory Council to address significant issues and concerns of Illinois veterans.

“As a veteran, I am proud to be appointed to the Veteran’s Advisory Council,” Munoz said. “One of my top priorities as a legislator has always been to protect and support veterans. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure veterans are taken care of.”

The council is empowered to review and study the issues and concerns that are most significant to Illinois veterans and advise the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs on how to address the issues and concerns.

The council reports to the governor and the General Assembly annually, describing the issues addressed and the actions taken during the year, as well as recommendations for future action. It also investigates the process for service members who return from active duty, including the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, disabilities and other issues members may face.

The Illinois Veteran’s Advisory Council is required to meet quarterly and be available to meet at the call of the chair, IDVA or the governor.

“I look forward to working with the members on this council to find what best benefits our veterans,” Munoz said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to support those who give the ultimate sacrifice.”

The 21-member body is made up of Democratic and Republican legislators from both chambers, veterans and appointed individuals.

The Illinois Veteran’s Advisory Council was created by House Bill 2973 of the 100th General Assembly.

Munoz HB 132

SPRINGFIELD – Minority and women-owned businesses would be accepted for participation in the state’s Business Enterprise Program if they have already been certified by Chicago or Cook County’s program under a measure sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) that passed the Senate Sunday.

The Business Enterprise Program was developed to ensure that businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities are awarded at least 20% of the total dollar amount of state contracts.

“Due to a variety of factors, minority-owned businesses are still often at a competitive disadvantage compared to other businesses,” Munoz said. “These businesses deserve the right to compete for state contracts on even footing.”

House Bill 132 requires the Business Enterprise Program to recognize and accept the certifications of businesses certified as minority-owned businesses or women-owned businesses by the city of Chicago, Cook County, or other entities approved by the Business Enterprise Program Council for purposes of participating in the program.

“These businesses are being forced to waste their time filling out multiple applications,” Munoz said. “It’s essential that we continue to remove the barriers minorities face in the economy.”

House Bill 132 passed the Senate unanimously.

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