Representative Dan Swanson’s March 1 Capitol News Update


  • House committees discuss Lyme disease
  • Bad Bill Watch
  • Trooper injured in Scott’s Law crash
  • Primary is March 19

House committees discuss Lyme disease

Last week in Springfield I was glad to help arrange a joint hearing of the House and Senate Public Health committees and the House Human Services Committee to meet with a panel of experts on Lyme disease in Illinois.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness which strikes about half a million Americans each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It initially presents flu-like symptoms, like fatigue, body aches and fever. Over time, effects can worsen to include cardiac and neurologic symptoms. Lyme infections can last for many weeks, long beyond those characteristic of flu or other illnesses. Early detection and treatment is important in fighting Lyme disease, but because its symptoms are so similar to flu and other more common illnesses, it is often initially misdiagnosed.

We heard from doctors, researchers and experts in the field of Lyme disease and tick research, as well as the parent of young child who had Lyme disease. The ticks which carry Lyme disease have been detected in more than 60 counties throughout Illinois, and they have been shown to be spreading into different areas of the state. The discussion included reports about how Lyme can be misdiagnosed and what can be done to help better educate public health officials to spot the early signs of the disease. One important point which came up was the need to dispel the myth that Lyme disease is not present in certain geographic areas.

It was a good discussion for policymakers and experts in the field and it did much to continue to raise public awareness of Lyme disease, its symptoms and treatment, and how Illinoisans can avoid the disease.

Find out more about Lyme disease here.

Bad Bill Watch

Every year there are thousands of bills introduced in the General Assembly. Many are good, some are bad. Unfortunately, a couple of bad bills have gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks.

The first is House Bill 4603, which would prohibit law enforcement from enforcing certain traffic safety laws. If this bill were to become law, police officers would not be able to make traffic stops for such violations as improper lane usage and certain speeding offenses. Stops for violations like these have sometimes led to police discovering much more serious crimes, such as the traffic stop for improper lane usage on an Illinois interstate which led to state police discovering someone they suspected was a victim of human trafficking.

That stop occurred the same week as the introduction of this bill. The State Police stated that “enforcement of minor traffic violations saves lives and empowers survivors.” Fortunately there was so much immediate outcry about this bill that its sponsor backed off. We will have to wait and see what other similar proposals might be coming in the future.

Last week we saw another bad bill get posted for a quick committee hearing. House Bill 1634 would require Illinois to adopt California’s strict vehicle emission standards. Doing so would put tremendous burdens on trucking firms, farms, small businesses, auto dealers and consumers. Thousands of Illinoisans spoke out in opposition almost immediately, and the hearing on the bill was quietly cancelled. We do not know if it will be coming back up again any time soon. I will keep you posted as session progresses.

The House was not in session this week, but we will be back in Springfield next week. I hope we see more of the good bills pass and the bad ones not.

Trooper injured in Scott’s Law crash

Readers of this newsletter will recall reading a short time ago about a bill I am sponsoring to increase awareness of Scott’s Law, the requirement that drivers approaching the scene of a roadside emergency to slow down or move over.

My bill would automatically fail anyone who misses the Scott’s Law question on the drivers license exam, but give them the option to re-take the test the same day if the only reason they failed was because of missing that question. It is an effort to educate and raise awareness, not to punish.

This week we saw the need for more awareness of Scott’s Law when an Illinois state trooper was injured on Interstate 80 when a driver apparently failed to move over, striking the trooper’s car. The trooper was treated and released at a local hospital, the driver was arrested.

According to the State Police this was the ninth Scott’s Law crash in 2024, and we are only two months into the year. Please be mindful of emergency workers and first responders on the roadside and drive safely when you see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles.

Primary election is March 19

The Illinois primary election will be held on Tuesday March 19, with races from President down to local county offices on the ballot. Early voting is already underway. Contact your county clerk’s office for information on early voting hours and locations. If you want to vote on election day, polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

This week a Cook County judge issued a ruling removing Donald Trump’s name from the ballot. A Colorado court issued a similar ruling months ago, and that Colorado case was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court three weeks ago. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Colorado case will also apply to the case in Illinois. Because ballots have already been printed and early voting is already underway, Trump’s name will still appear on Illinois ballots.

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