House denies bill to allow noncitizens to become pharmacists in Illinois
Sen. Iris Martinez's (D-Chicago) hope for so-called "Dreamers" won't become a reality anytime soon after her measure to allow non-U.S. citizens to obtain a pharmacy license in Illinois was rejected by the House on May 19.
SB308 had passed the Senate in late April. The measure would have removed restrictions in the Pharmacy Practice Act that has prevented such licensure, as pharmacists are the only profession under the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) umbrella that require proof of immigration status.
IDFPR already issues a number of professional licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), also known as Dreamers, because they have Social Security numbers.
Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) supported the measure, arguing SB308 would simply codify an existing practice.
“SB308 would simply state that the state is opting out from federal requirements and allow these people to receive licenses," he said. "It would also remove language from the Pharmacy Practice Act that requires citizenship before people can receive licenses."
But others, like Rep. Steven Andersson (R-Geneva), questioned the wisdom of enacting the bill.
“What does the 'opt out with regard to federal law' mean, and why do we need that if we were to pass this bill?" he asked.
Guzzardi replied that a state has to pass a law in order to provide benefits to people without citizenship.
“In order to clarify and make sure there’s certainty on this issue, we want to affirmatively state it in statute to allow IDFPR to continue that practice,” Guzzardi said.
Senate Bill 308, an initiative of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational fund (MALDEF), lost in the House vote, 46-50.
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