Sunday, August 26, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th).
Illinois school students may be getting a lot more cursive writing in their instructional diet this school year thanks to a measure spearheaded by state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, whose 7th District encompasses most of Proviso Township.
Welch sponsored House Bill 2977 last year, which requires public elementary schools in the state to teach at least one unit on cursive writing in their curriculum, according to a statement Welch released earlier this month.
Gov. Bruce Rauner had initially vetoed the bill, but the Illinois House and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto. The law took effect this summer, beginning with the 2018-19 school year.
“Reading and writing cursive helps students in many ways, from choosing their words more carefully to improving their writing quality and understanding of their topics,” Welch explained in the statement.
“I hope by requiring cursive writing in schools, students will be empowered to improve how they communicate and embrace new creativity in their writing and their learning,” he added.
More Welch measures now law
A raft of other measures introduced by Welch were also signed into law this month. They include a law that increases the availability of college aid money, a law that improves access to asthma emergency medication in schools and a law that regulates how children are restrained in car seats.
Welch was the chief sponsor of House Bill 5020, which expands the critical Monetary Award Program (MAP) that helps students in Illinois colleges and universities pay for school. The measure was signed into law by Rauner on Aug. 13.
“These MAP grants were often not funded during the budget impasse led by Gov. Rauner,” a statement released by Welch’s office explains.
“But Welch’s votes for a balanced budget and this legislation help ease the uncertainty by providing funding for the program and giving students who receive MAP grants one year a priority for the next year – effectively creating a 4-year MAP grant program.”
Another measure, Stock Asthma Rescue Medication in Schools (or SB 3015) allows schools to “keep their own supplies of asthma rescue medication and allowing school nurses and trained school staff to administer the medication at the first signs of respiratory distress,” a statement by Welch noted.
The measure was signed into law by Rauner on Aug. 3 and is now referred to as Public Act 100-0726.
“Across Illinois, more than 330,000 children have reported asthma; however, fewer than  percent of those children have their asthma under proper control,” Welch’s statement continues. “That means three out of four kids living with asthma are at risk of respiratory distress, leading to increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations.”
Welch’s House Bill 4377 requires any child younger than 2 years old, lighter than 40 pounds and shorter than 40 inches, to be properly restrained in a rear-facing car seat.
“Welch worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics for the change, to replace a murkier state law that only required motorists to provide an ‘approved’ safety seat for children under 8 years old,” a statement released by Welch’s office notes.
“We can never take chances when traveling on the roads, especially when it comes to our children,” Welch said in the statement. “This new law will send the right message to parents to turn the child around to ensure they are as safe as possible if an accident occurs.” VFP
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