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For the first time in Illinois history, victims of sex abuse in Illinois will soon be receiving the better care they deserve under a new law initiated by State Rep. Mike Unes.  The measure especially improves treatment for pediatric sexual assault victims by providing them greater access to emergency services from specialized clinics, such as Peoria’s Pediatric Resource Center.   It also aims to increase the statewide number of pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and physicians--which is currently very limited, particularly in downstate rural areas.

“Since day one, my goal has been to ensure that this most vulnerable population of victims that has been through unthinkable trauma, may obtain the care they need and deserve from the most qualified medical professionals,” said Rep Unes.  “While this bill enhances the quality of care for all victims of sexual assault, the greatest improvements will undoubtedly be for children.  This bill truly gives a voice to the voiceless, and raises the standard of compassion and care for those who need it the most.”

Throughout this two-year-long process, Rep. Unes has worked closely with hospitals, law enforcement entities, the Attorney General’s office, and local physicians in an effort to carefully craft and achieve this legal milestone for sexual assault victims in the State of Illinois.

“This legislation represents the very first of its kind in the state, and finally helps address the fact that the sexual assault of a child is inherently different from the sexual assault of an adult,” said Dr. Channing Petrak of the Pediatric Resource Center in Peoria.  “As a pediatrician who specializes in child sexual assault, I am tremendously grateful for the tireless dedication that Representative Unes has given to this long-overdue initiative.”

While both the Attorney General’s office and the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) have recognized that more nurse’s training in the area of sexual assault has been needed, past efforts have fallen short of achieving adequate levels of clinical expertise in many emergency rooms.  This law provides the necessary direction to make this issue a high priority, achieving greater levels of competent care and justice for these victims. 

“Working with others to help and protect our most vulnerable citizens is the cornerstone of public service,” said Unes. “It has truly been a privilege for me to fight for this legislation for the past two years.  Few issues as complicated as this have received the overwhelming and unanimous support enjoyed by this legislation, and it gives me the unique confidence that we truly got it right.  It's going to make a tremendous difference.”
State Rep Mike Unes’ bill (HB 4319) to help redevelop the former Hanna City Work Camp has officially become law. The legislation paves the way for redevelopment of this blighted area by permitting private investment in the now-vacant property for economic development purposes.

“This bill gives the county full control of the site, while providing a mechanism to seek private development opportunities upon its clean-up,” said Rep. Unes. “This common sense measure to invest in the property is a win-win for all involved.  Allowing for private investment should help pique the interest of potential developers and eventually grow the local economy.  In fact, my office has already received inquiries from interested parties looking to connect with the county about this property, and so I believe that the outlook is exceptional.”

The Hanna City Work Camp closed in 2002 and sat vacant for nearly 16 years. The former prison work camp was owned by the State of Illinois and was operated by the Department of Corrections. In 2009, the State conveyed the land over to Peoria County, but with strict limitations. The 40 acre site has remained vacant and blighted, largely due to regulations that prevented private investment.  This law will change that by allowing for the property’s private development, with 10% of any sale proceeds being paid back to the State of Illinois.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to Representative Unes for his efforts and persistent negotiation with the State on behalf of Peoria County,” said County Board Chairman Andrew Rand. “Putting this land to better use provides the great potential for creating economic opportunity for our county and its taxpayers.  It is our hope that the site will one day be home to either a not-for-profit entity, or some viable commercial enterprise.  This bill gives us the flexibility we have long required to accomplish that, and we are anxious to finally move forward on that initiative.”
Families of fallen service members now have one less burden when mourning the loss of their loved one.  A new law allows more flexibility to such families in terms of real estate leases.  The legislation, which was introduced by Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) allows surviving families to terminate their lease without penalty when their loved one is killed in action.

Rep. Unes vowed to assist military families after he met Kylie Riney, the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. Douglas Riney. She and her two young children needed to move back to Illinois from Texas after her husband was killed in action but her landlord required her to pay penalties for early termination of the lease.  The restrictions ultimately led to a weeks-long separation between Kylie and her two young children in the immediate aftermath of their father's death, a time when the family support system is so important.

“The goal of this legislation has been to ensure what happened to the Riney family will never happen to a Gold Star family in Illinois,” said Rep. Unes. “All members of our nation’s military and their families deserve the highest level of care and compassion in every circumstance, and I am proud to do what I can to make sure that we are upholding that standard.”
Landmark legislation led by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) to improve access to emergency room treatment for pediatric sexual assault victims cleared the General Assembly.

“The effects of a sexual assault can last a lifetime, particularly when the victim is a child,” said Rep. Unes. “Survivors, especially children, deserve specialized care that treats their physical wounds and those that cannot be seen as easily. This legislation is the result of more than a year of negotiations, and I appreciate leadership and advocacy for survivors. I urge the governor to sign this critical legislation.”

Access to pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and physicians is extremely limited—particularly in downstate rural areas--and this bill seeks to address that. House Bill 5245 sponsored by State Rep. Mike Unes, will ensure that pediatric sexual assault victims are able to receive timely care from health care professionals who specialize in providing treatment for children victimized by sexual assault.
Rep. Unes discussing the balanced budget with Denise Jackson from News 25
The Illinois House of Representatives approved Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) state budget today, pending the Governor’s signature, the bipartisan budget will take effect on July 1.

“I’m proud to report the House approved a balanced, bipartisan state budget,” said Rep. Unes. “The momentum from the passage of last year’s budget, which led to historic school funding reform, facilitated the continuation of the bipartisan process for this year’s balanced budget. This is the common sense process that I have been advocating for a long time. With the passage of this year’s FY 2019 budget, we will begin the new fiscal year with a full 12 month budget for the first time since calendar year 2014.”

The FY19 budget appropriates $38.502 billion, with Illinois’ revenue estimated at $38.520 billion.

Unes Legislation to Help Gold Star Families Heads to the Governor's Desk

The Illinois Senate approved my legislation on Wednesday to ensure families of servicemembers do not face additional burdens after losing their loved one in service to our country. The legislation (HB 4317) will allow families to terminate their lease without penalty when their loved one is killed in action.

I learned of this issue from Kylie Riney, the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. Douglas Riney. She and her two young children needed to move back to Illinois from Texas after her husband was killed in action but the landlord required her to pay penalties for early termination of the lease.

The goal of this legislation is to ensure what happened to the Riney family will never happen to a Gold Star family in Illinois. Even though to my knowledge this has not been an issue in our state, my bill will ensure what happened to the Riney family out of state will not happen to Gold Star families stationed in Illinois.

Senate Committee Approves Unes' Legislation to Improve Treatment for Child Sex Abuse Victims

On Wednesday, the Senate Human Services Committee approved my legislation (HB 5245) to ensure that child sexual assault victims are able to receive timely care from health care professionals who specialize in providing treatment for victims of child sex abuse.

Since day one, my goal has been to ensure this most vulnerable population of victims that has been through unthinkable trauma, may obtain the care they need from the most qualified medical professionals. This bill provides a voice to the voiceless, and confidence to their loved ones.
The Illinois Senate approved legislation sponsored by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) today to ensure families of servicemembers do not face additional burdens after losing their loved one in service to our country. The legislation (HB 4317) will allow families to terminate their lease without penalty when their loved one is killed in action.

Rep. Mike Unes learned of this issue from Kylie Riney, the widow of fallen soldier Sgt. Douglas Riney. She and her two young children needed to move back to Illinois from Texas after her husband was killed in action but the landlord required her to pay penalties for early termination of the lease.

“The goal of this legislation is to ensure what happened to the Riney family will never happen to a Gold Star family in Illinois,” said Rep. Unes. “Even though to my knowledge this has not been an issue in our state, my bill will ensure what happened to the Riney family out of state will not happen to Gold Star families stationed in Illinois.”