CHICAGO –Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation authorizing eligibility for grants to schools, universities and other facilities to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED). House Bill 1058, sponsored by State Representative Daniel J. Burke (D-Chicago) and State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Cicero).
“Defibrillators save lives. I’m pleased to sign this law making sure both indoor and outdoor facilities are safer for the athletes, participants and fans who enjoy them,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
HB 1058 is a follow up bill to HB 1279 (PA 95-0447) which required all indoor facilities to have AEDs on site. When taking action on HB 1279, the Governor used his power of amendatory veto (AV) to change part of the legislation. At the request of the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, and with full support of the bill’s sponsors, the Governor AV’d the bill to ensure all indoor and outdoor park district facilities are covered by the law. The AV was accepted by the General Assembly by overwhelming margins this in February and March.
“AED availability is an important issue, and increased accessibility to the devices will make an immediate impact on saving lives. I am grateful that Governor Blagojevich and the General Assembly continue to recognize the importance of protecting the citizens of Illinois,” said Sean Wieber, a former Northwestern University football star and strong supporter of both bills.
According to HB 1279 (PA 95-0712), the defibrillator must be stored in an accessible building within 300 feet of the outdoor facility and the building’s entrances must have signs with directions to the AED. If there is not a building within 300 feet, the supervisor of the activity must make sure a defibrillator is available during the event or activity.
HB 1279 was also known as the R.A.W. Initiative, after Northwestern University football player Rashidi Wheeler who died during practice in 2001. It was determined that if an AED had been onsite, Wheeler’s life could have been saved.
The bill is effective immediately. The Illinois Department of Public Health administers Heartsaver AED fund. The grant program is subject to appropriation.