Policy Development/Legislation

Policy development is one of the three core functions of public health according to the National Institutes of Health. Since 1994, the Cook County Department of Public Health has researched and analyzed public health policies and has advocated for the adoption of science-based public health laws, rules and regulations.

Current Legislative Priorities

Food Handling Regulation Enforcement

HB1546 (Rep. Kelly Burke): For over a year, a subcommittee of professionals and organizations representing public health and the private food industry in Illinois partnered to discuss and research ways to reform and improve the process for the Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC) and safe food handling generally. SB 2961 contains the FSSMC Subcommittee’s agreed upon reforms. The bill strengthens required training for Food Service Sanitation Managers by updating the number of training hours to 8 and requiring re-certification with an exam every 5 years. The shift is towards a corporate model with ongoing training. Illinois would meet national standards and adopt an approach that leads to improved food handler compliance with established food protection measures. A new requirement would be phased in that ensures all front line food handlers receive training to prevent food-borne illness, which is critical. The FSSMC Subcommittee will reconvene to work with the state to develop training materials to support smaller businesses for this purpose. If SB2961 is enacted into law, it is the belief of the proponents that Illinois will have the most robust and comprehensive food safety education and training program in the country while providing the flexibility employers require.

CCDPH Position: Support
Status: HB1546: 05/24/13 Re-referred to House Rules Committee

Local Health Protection Grant

HB1290 (Rep. Gabel), SB1451 (Sen. Delgado): Appropriates $17,100,000 to the Department of Public Health from the General Revenue Fund for local health protection grants for health protection programs. Effective July 1, 2013.

CCDPH Position: Support
Status: HB1290: 08/09/13 Re-referred to House Rules Committee; SB1451 02/06/13 Senate Assignments Committee

Medically Accurate Health Education Act

HB2675 (Rep. Lilly): Amends the School Code and the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act. Makes changes to provide that each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12 shall include instruction on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Makes changes to provide that all classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual intercourse in grades 6 through 12 shall emphasize that abstinence from sexual intercourse is a responsible and positive decision and is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually. Makes changes to provide that all classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual intercourse in grades 6 through 12 shall satisfy specified criteria. Provides that an opportunity shall be afforded to individuals (not just parents or guardians) to examine the instructional materials to be used in the class or course. Provides that the State Board of Education shall make available resource materials. Provides that school districts that do not currently provide sex education are not required to teach sex education. Provides that if a sex education class or course is offered in any of grades 6 through 12, the school district may choose and adapt the developmentally and age-appropriate, medically accurate, evidence-based, and complete sex education curriculum that meets the specific needs of its community. Provides that the Comprehensive Health Education Program shall include the educational area of evidence-based and medically accurate information regarding sexual abstinence (instead of the area of sexual abstinence until marriage).

CCDPH Position: Support
Status:  Public Act 98-0441 (Illinois Bill HB 2675): 08/16/13 signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Protect the Medical Privacy of Illinois Families and Students from HIV/AIDS Stigma While Respecting the Rights of School Officials and First Responders

HB61 Amendment (Reps. Ford, Harris, Flowers and Feigenholtz): Amends the Communicable Disease Prevention Act. Makes changes to the provision concerning children of school age who are reported as having been diagnosed as having AIDS or HIV. Provides that the information contained in the notification to be required of the Department of Public Health with regard to a child enrolled in a public school in kindergarten through fifth grade who is diagnosed as being infected with HIV must not be recorded in the child's permanent record. Provides that if the information is in the child's permanent school record, the information must be purged from the child's record before the child enters the sixth grade. Provides that if the child is enrolled in a public school, the principal shall disclose (instead of disclose the identity of the child) to the superintendent of the school district in which the child resides and specifies that the disclosure shall be that a child has been infected with HIV. Provides that all provisions of the AIDS Confidentiality Act shall apply, including penalties for violation of that Act. 

CCDPH Position: Support
Status: 05/23/13 passed both houses

Tanning Facility Permit Act

HB188 Amendment (Rep. Gabel): Amends the Tanning Facility Permit Act. Provides that a tanning facility may not permit any person less than 18 years of age, regardless of whether the person has the permission of a parent or guardian, to use tanning equipment or a device defined as equipment that emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation used for tanning of the skin, such as a sunlamp, tanning booth, or tanning bed that emits electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the air between 200 and 400 nanometers. Provides that "tanning equipment" includes any accompanying equipment, such as protective eyewear, timers, and handrails, and does not include certain devices. 

CCDPH Position: Support
Status: 05/20/13 HB188 passed both houses

Previous Legislation


  • SCHOOL IMMUNIZATION RATES POSTED: HB 5013 (Rep. Gabel, Sen. Steans): All schools in Illinois are currently required to submit immunization data to the State Board of Education. HB5013 requires schools to make publicly available the immunization data they submit to the State Board of Education. Parents have a right to know their school’s vaccination rate, especially for those parents who cannot vaccinate their child due to a medical contraindication. Transparency of a school’s immunization status is an additional measure to ensure schools are meeting the 90% immunization benchmark.

    CCDPH Position: Support
    Status: Public Act 97-0910


  • NURSING HM-INFECTION CONTROLHB1096  (Steans) Infection control nursing homes. Requires all nursing homes to have a staff member with a background and training in infection prevention.  Staff will develop infection control polices and guidelines.

    CCDPH Position: Support
    Status: Signed by Governor Public Act 97-0107
  • REGISTER TITLES-TORRENS-REPEALHB1379  (Trotter) Torrens – lead poison prevention. Moves up abolishment of act to 2014 from 2037and makes available approximately $8 million in funds for lead poison prevention programs at CCDPH and CDPH.

    CCDPH Position: Support
    Status: Signed by Governor Public Act 97-0118


Blood-borne Disease Prevention/Nursing Homes: SB2601 (Trotter, Gabel) CCDPH initiative requires long-term care facilities to screen incoming patients for risk factors associated with Hepatitis B, C, and HIV. Individuals identified as high risk will be offered Hepatitis B immunization or testing for HIV/Hepatitis C.

CCDPH Position: Support
Status: Signed by Governor Public Act 96-1259


To improve food sanitation practices and prevent outbreaks of foodborne diseases, PDCU initiated successful legislation requiring all municipalities in Suburban Cook County to inspect retail food establishments within their jurisdictions.

To increase funding for lead poisoning prevention, PDCU drafted and worked to pass legislation requiring excess funds in the County Torrens Fund, be directed to lead poisoning prevention program activities.

PDCU, as part of a coalition of injury prevention advocates, supported failed legislation that sought to require riders of motorcycles wear helmets.


To address a significant gap in our food recall protocol, PDCU drafted legislation requiring all food pantries to register with their local certified public health department. This new law enables CCDPH environmental health staff to communicate directly with food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency food centers during food recalls.

To prepare for and effectively respond to potential bioterrorism events, CCDPH Community Preparedness and Coordination Unit have worked closely with the education community to identify emergency pharmaceutical distribution sites. The PDCU drafted and help pass legislation requiring all Illinois community colleges to make their facilities available to local public health departments and the American Red Cross during public health emergencies.


Policy staff drafted successful legislation to abolish the Tuberculosis Sanitarium District of Suburban Cook County and integrate the program into the CCDPH communicable disease control service unit. Both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and ASTHO (The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials) recommended integrating HIV, STD and TB prevention control programs into one public health program. A stand alone TB program was outdated and inefficient. The legislation abolished the local TB tax levy and transferred all assets and liabilities to CCDPH.

As a member of a statewide coalition, PDCU played an integral role in the passage of the Illinois Smoke Free Act which prohibited smoking in all public work places.


To address health risks related to the transmission of blood borne diseases during tattooing, Illinois law required individuals obtaining tattoos to be prohibited from donating blood for one year unless the tattoo shop was licensed and inspected by a local public health department. Illinois blood banks requested our assistance to enact legislation requiring tattoo shops to be licensed and inspected by certified local public health departments. CCDPH policy unit worked closely with Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium (NIPHC) to amend the legislation to ensure that LHDS received adequate compensation for their inspectional services.


PDCU drafted an update to the Cook County Mobile Home and Mobile Home Park Ordinance which strengthened the code to improve public health and fire safety standards. Staff worked closely with local Fire Chiefs to revise to the code.

As a member of the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco, policy staff supported a successful legislative campaign to reverse the home rule preemption in the Illinois Clean Indoor Air Act. This legislation led numerous municipalities to enact local clean indoor air ordinances.


CCDPH licenses and regulates manufactured housing communities in unincorporated areas and in municipalities without a local law. In the spring legislative session, the manufactured housing industry / park owners, passed legislation that weakened our ability to increase fire safety regulations in more than 30 mobile home communities in suburban Cook County. Our policy staff worked closely with a coalition of mobile home park residents, local fire officials, and the Illinois Municipal League to support a gubernatorial veto of the legislation and succeeded in preventing an override in the Illinois Senate.

The policy unit drafted legislation requiring all self service displays of cigarettes to be located behind a counter to prevent youth access through theft. CCDPH worked closely with the Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco (ICAT) on this successful legislative initiative.


To prevent IDU cases of HIV / AIDS, policy staff worked with a coalition led by the Chicago AIDS Foundation to adopt successful legislation authorizing retail pharmacies to sell syringes without a prescription.

To prevent automobile related deaths and injuries, policy staff supported successful legislation making failure to wear a seatbelt a moving violation.


Following a CDC recommendation, policy unit drafted and secured adoption of legislation requiring pet shops to educate consumers about the health risks of reptile associated salmonella infection. Illinois became only the fifth state in the nation to adopt such regulation.


In 1997, the policy unit helped draft the Cook County Youth Tobacco Control Ordinance. The ordinance requires licensure and inspection of all retail tobacco vendors in the unincorporated areas. Merchant caught selling to minors now face some of the stiffest penalties in the state including license suspension and revocation for repeat violations. The ordinance is considered a model by tobacco control advocates.


In response to the significant increase upswing in child and teenage smoking rates, staff actively promoted the adoption of a model youth tobacco control ordinance. Since the inception of the Reducing Youth Access To Tobacco (RATT) program, at least 60 municipalities in suburban Cook County enacted ordinances requiring the licensure of retail tobacco merchants.