KANKAKEE – In 2023, House Assistant Minority Leader Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) was appointed to three different task forces to improve public safety in Illinois. This year, she has been appointed to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Workgroup, the Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women, and the Recruiting & Retaining Public Employee Firefighters and Paramedics Task Force.
“I’m honored to be part of these groups to help tackle critical public safety issues in Illinois,” said Leader Haas. “Suicide prevention, saving missing women from dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations, and ensuring we have enough first responders to appropriately address emergencies, cover a broad range of issues that all connect through public safety. I’m looking forward to examining these issues and solutions with my colleagues.”
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Workgroup became effective in June 2023 with the responsibilities of reviewing existing information about the first year of the 988 call center operations in Illinois, other states’ models and emerging best practices, governmental infrastructure in other states to promote 988 sustainability and quality, and more. Illinois launched the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in July 2022.
The Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women went into effect on January 1st, 2023. This task force must examine and report on the systemic causes behind violence that Chicago women and girls experience, appropriate methods for tracking and collecting data on violence against Chicago women and girls, governmental practices that impact violence against these victims, and measures to reduce violence and help victims, victims’ families, and victims’ communities prevent and heal from violence that occurs against Chicago women and girls, among other ideas and data.
The Recruiting & Retaining Public Employee Firefighters and Paramedics Task Force was created to identify solutions to the shortage of eligible applicants for the positions of firefighters and paramedics. The group must examine barriers to recruitment and retention of these first responders, steps the state can take to assist local governments in recruiting and retention, how Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants can be utilized in these efforts, and more.
“I’m looking forward to diving into these issues and promoting legislation for the greater safety of 79th District constituents and all Illinoisans,” Leader Haas continued. “I will get to work to help produce substantive and prescriptive reports that inform state agencies and help them take appropriate action to address these problems and help keep lives safe.”
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Workgroup must submit a report to the General Assembly regarding their findings by December 31st. The Task Force on Missing and Murdered Chicago Women must submit a report annually on or before December 31st beginning in 2024 to the General Assembly and the Governor on their work. The Recruiting & Retaining Public Employee Firefighters and Paramedics Task Force must submit its final report to the General Assembly and Governor by January 1st, 2024, dissolving upon its filing.
Leader Haas is a member of the Appropriations – Health & Human Services, Human Services, and Prescription Drug Affordability Committees. She is the Republican Spokesperson for the Health Care Availability & Access and Mental Health & Addiction Committees. She is also a member of the House Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) and the Legislative Medicaid Working Group. She has served as a social worker in her communities for over 30 years and is the CEO of the Helen Wheeler Center for Community Mental Health.