Illinois Senate Committee Approves Syringe-Purchasing Bill with Amendment
The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee last week voted 6-3 in favor of a bill (SB 155) that would allow adults to purchase sterile syringes at pharmacies without a prescription. However, before passing the bill, the committee added an amendment that would limit the law to four years and require the Department of Public Health to issue a report to the governor by Jan. 1, 2005, evaluating how HIV and hepatitis infection rates were affected by the legislation. According to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, which is supporting the bill as amended, the legislation would "prevent hundreds of HIV infections each year." The advocates say that the evaluation requirements will provide evidence that would "build support to make the law permanent" (AIDS Foundation of Chicago release, 3/9). Two weeks ago, the Human Services Committee of the Illinois House approved a version of the bill (HB 923), putting the issue before the full House. Last year, the House passed a similar bill with "substantial bipartisan support," but the Legislature adjourned before the Senate could act on the bill ( Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.