ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Police Department and law enforcement agencies across Illinois are one step closer to having the ability to carry EpiPens following the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee's unanimous recommendation Feb. 6 for an amendment to the Annie LeGere Law to be voted on by the entire Senate.
State Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst, had filed an amendment bill, Senate Bill 2226, on Aug. 17, 2017, to the Annie LeGere Law to offer greater liability protection for medical professionals prescribing EpiPens to law enforcement entities, such as the Elmhurst Police Department.
"We cleared the first hurdle in getting this amendment passed," Nybo said in a phone interview Feb. 6.
The Annie LeGere Law enables police officers to be trained and equipped with epinephrine injectors, a drug that reverses the effects of anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction. EpiPen is a common brand of epinephrine injector.
The law became effective in January 2017, and it is named for Elmhurst resident Annie LeGere, who died Aug. 26, 2015, from prolonged anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction. She was 13 years old.
Nybo said he spoke with DuPage Couny Board member Pete DiCianni, who had assisted in the DuPage County Sheriff's Office's receipt of EpiPens and training, and Shelly LeGere, Annie's mother, the afternoon of Feb. 6 to inform them of the progress.
"At this point, I don't anticipate that we're going to have any obstacles on this one," he said.
State Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Lisle, is part of the Judiciary Committee. Connelly also was a sponsor of the 2015 House Bill 1, which required state and local law enforcement to carry Narcan in an effort to stem the tide of the heroin epidemic. Nybo said Connelly's work on that bill was inspirational for the EpiPen legislation efforts.
"Sen. Connelly's been a very helpful advocate on this issue, and we appreciated his support this afternoon," Nybo said.
Nybo said Shelly LeGere and the Annie LeGere Foundation's advocacy, DiCianni's efforts with the DuPage County Sheriff's Office, and his own work in Springfield with community members and interest groups helped get the committee to adopt the bill and bring it to the Senate floor.
"My hope is that sometime, as soon as possible, we're going to have an improvement to the Annie LeGere Law that's going to allow us to expand the opportunity for police officers to carry this life-saving medication," Nybo said.
The bill's progress now depends on its passage by the Senate, the House of Representatives and then the governor. Nybo has asked state Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, to support the bill in the House.
"People always think of politicians fighting with each other, but we're actually getting stuff done down here working cooperatively," Nybo said. "So I'm really proud of that."