SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is supporting a new bill that would help countless families with members battling Parkinson’s disease by creating a comprehensive education and safety program for the public.
“Parkinson’s disease affects tens of thousands of Illinoisans, but many people still don’t know very much about it,” Halpin said. “Patients with this illness and their families deserve to live in a community that understands some of what they are going through, and, more importantly, a community that can recognize the condition in an emergency situation and get help. We can provide them with that service, and do so at almost no cost to taxpayers.”
Halpin is hoping to pass House Bill 3247, or the Parkinson’s Disease Public Awareness and Education Act. This bill will create an education program to inform people about the causes and symptoms of the disease and train personnel such as first responders and social services to assist with the needs of Parkinson’s patients. It will also create and maintain a list of special services for diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s disease.
Halpin saw firsthand the devastating effects of Parkinson’s disease, working for Congressman Lane Evans, who battled the disease for nearly 20 years.
“Five years ago, the late Illinois Congressman Lane Evans, a man I was proud to call my mentor, passed away after battling Parkinson’s disease,” said Halpin. “When I consider how legislation like this could have made life more manageable for him and his family, and how the same is true of families across our state, it becomes clear to me just how important this bill is.”