A bill allowing Illinois to compete with neighboring states by again growing Industrial Hemp was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on Saturday.

Senate Bill 2298 was sponsored due to general declines in agricultural commodities in recent years.  Supportive groups, including the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, believe industrial hemp could help farmers supplement any losses they have incurred.

Industrial Hemp is a different plant variety than cannabis which is harvested to produce Marijuana.  Industrial Hemp growing was a staple industry in Illinois, and especially Central Illinois, several decades ago.  Under current federal law, states can enact industrial hemp laws if the plant is grown for purpose of study, and those growing the hemp be licensed by the State to do so.

“Kentucky has been very successful in growing hemp for the past three years,” said Rep. Swanson following the Governor signing SB 2298, which Swanson co-sponsored.  “This has brought additional revenue and business to the agricultural community and now occupies over 12,000 acres by 243 growers in the Commonwealth in 2018.  The return per acre is between $700-1,200/ acre.”

“This allows our agricultural community an additional, diversified crop and many other business opportunities throughout Illinois,” Swanson continued

74th District residents can learn more about legislation sponsored by Rep. Swanson during the Spring legislative session at his website at www.repswanson.com.


A bill requiring the Illinois Department of Public Health provide all newborns with screening tests for the presence of spinal muscular atrophy was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on Tuesday in an important step to detect and treat the leading genetic cause of infant death.  SB 456 was signed into law as Public Act 100-864.

“Spinal muscular atrophy is a neuromuscular disease in which patients can lose the ability to walk, eat, and breathe,” said Rep. Dan Swanson (R-Alpha), Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.  “SMA can be treated, but to be most effective it must be detected early.  Adding this screening to the newborn panel should help drive down this leading genetic cause of death for babies.”

“The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently added spinal muscular atrophy to its list of recommended newborn screening,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah.  “In light of this recent acceptance, as well as new therapeutic options for the disease, we look forward to implementing this test for newborns in Illinois.”

The bill, which amends the Newborn Metabolic Screening Act, will add the new screening test by 2020 to a panel of tests that now includes screening for a number of disorders, deficiencies, and diseases prevalent with newborns.  Newborn screenings began in Illinois in 1965.  Each year, more than 700 babies are diagnosed through newborn screening, according to the Department of Public Health.

Four states have adopted newborn screening for SMA, with Indiana passing legislation in early May.  Rep. Swanson brought local families with loved ones suffering from SMA to Springfield to testify in support of the bill during the Committee Hearings on SB 456 earlier this Spring.

Representative Swanson enjoys hosting a pizza party and recognition event for each of the Swanson Super Readers Club participants throughout his district.

Super Readers Party in Aledo

Super Readers Party in Princeton.

Super Readers Party in Galesburg. 

Super Readers Party in Kewanee.

As a military veteran Rep. Dan Swanson brings a unique perspective to Springfield. He understands better than most that many of the brave women and men who honorably served their country now find themselves in need of our help.

To that end, Rep. Swanson has been a champion of Veterans issues since taking office. On Sunday, Veterans & Gold Star Families Day at the Illinois State Fair, Governor Bruce Rauner held a ceremonial bill signing for several measures Swanson sponsored to assist those who serve us in the United States Military.

Included in the measures signed into law are:
  • House Bill 4212 provides a mechanism for law enforcement to immediately respond to a missing veteran or active duty service member. Under Swanson’s bill, law enforcement can issue a Silver Alert for a missing veteran or active duty service member. Like an Amber alert, the public will be notified in an effort to quickly locate the missing person and perhaps save a life. 
  • House Bill 4332 makes it easier for honorably discharged to receive the “Veteran” designation on their driver’s license by expanding the documentation acceptable to prove status. 
  • House Bill 4848 requires health care providers to provide one free copy of a patient’s medical records if the patient is an indigent homeless Veteran and the records are being requested for supporting a claim for federal Veterans’ disability benefits. 
  • House Bill 4849 ensures that the Illinois Department of Military Affairs is within full compliance of the Master Cooperative Construction Agreement and federal fiscal law as it pertains to distribution of funds for capital improvements and rehabilitation construction costs. 
“I am thankful for the Governor signing these important measures to assist our veterans and our military,” said Rep. Dan Swanson. “Those of us who served know how important this work is in ensuring those who served and those currently serving are cared for to the best of our abilities.”

With over 28,000 active duty military members based in Illinois and many more Veterans living in Illinois, Rep. Swanson is proud of working on behalf of this population.

Rep. Dan Swanson thanked the Governor on Friday for signing Senate Bill 2527, a measure Rep. Swanson sponsored in the Illinois House to remove the cap on the number of dual-credit courses in which Illinois students may participate.

“Local high school students in Knox County brought forth this idea after running up against caps on dual-credit courses,” said Rep. Dan Swanson.  “In a competitive global economy, Illinois students should not be limited in taking dual-credit courses, as long as the instructor is a qualified Illinois instructor.”

Senate Bill 2527 will increase access to dual-credit courses to Illinois students.  This change will allow students to get more of a head start on college, boost our community colleges, and reduce the overall cost of higher education for students. 

“These courses are an extremely effective, as well as cost-effective option for many students.  I am thankful that local students brought forward this idea and I was happy to serve as Chief Sponsor in the Illinois House after my Senator, Chuck Weaver, passed this legislation in the Senate.”

The Illinois Association of Gifted Children stood alongside local students in advocating for this change in current law.  The Illinois Community College Board is responsible for oversight and review of dual-credit programs.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 2527 on Friday, August 9th at Richwoods High School in Peoria.