Peggy Cowling AWHONN Illinois Legislative Coordinator

AWHONN on Capitol Hill, 2024

Nurse advocates from across the United States attended AWHONN on Capitol Hill recently in Washington D. C. The members visited government representatives to discuss legislative issues with the support of the AWHONN Legislation Center. Close to 100 nurses attended the conference and completed advocacy visits at the Capitol.

Three bills reviewed this session included:

  1. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S. 2415)

This bill will reauthorize federal support for state-based maternal mortality review committees, which review pregnancy related deaths to identify causes and make recommendations to prevent future mortalities.

  • The Community, Access, Resources, and Empowerment (CARE) for Moms Act (H.R. 5568 & S.2846)

This bill will create grant programs to establish state-based collaboratives to improve health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women and their infants as well as supporting the maternal health workforce, promoting access to prenatal and postpartum care, and providing additional resources to mothers and infants.

  • The PREEMIE Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S. 1573)

This reauthorization bill will provide funds through 2028 to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue research and educational outreach concerning the causes of preterm labor and how to improve outcomes for preterm and low birth rate infants.

While on Capitol Hill AWHONN members visited with lawmakers or their staff. Illinois was represented by Peggy Cowling, RN, Legislative Coordinator and Mary Dawn Koenig, CNM, PHD who visited the offices of Representative Sean Casten (D-IL 6th District) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to share our experiences on how each bill would impact health outcomes.

Advocacy work should not be limited to this one event, lawmakers appreciate the ability to connect with nurses who bring issues of concern as it plays a crucial role in shaping policies and ensuring that important issues receive attention.  Nurses throughout the state can contact their elected officials by mail, email, written letter or in person visit to bring specific issues of concern to legislators, Remember, nurse advocacy is about amplifying the voices of vulnerable populations, promoting their rights, and ensuring they receive dignified, compassionate care. Each nurse’s advocacy journey is unique, but collectively, these efforts contribute to a more just and inclusive healthcare system.

House Bill 1468: Call for Witness slips

What are witness slips?

Witness slips are part of the legislative process in Illinois, and today, they are often used as tools for organizations to engage advocates in the legislative advocacy process. They come into play as bills are debated and voted upon in substantive committees.

Call for witness slips. 

The Illinois Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) is asking that individuals file witness slips for HB1468 prior to a subject matter hearing that is scheduled for April 14th at 10:00am.

  • HB 1468 is one step forward to addressing maternal and infant mortality in IL.
    • HB 1468 creates a formal pathway for IL to design a system for the implementation of Family Recovery Plans (Plans of Safe Care) using a statewide multidisciplinary task force– this model has been used successfully in other states.
  • HB 1468 lifts existing punitive policies affecting families with substance use disorder:
    • Juvenile Court Act:  Removes positive toxicology during pregnancy and at delivery from this Act.
    • Adoption Act: Removes positive toxicology during pregnancy and at delivery from this Act.  
  • HB 1468 ensures the safety of mothers, infants and children, improves the opportunity for preservation of the family unit, and works toward compliance with CAPTA/CARA.

You can file the witness slip here:

You can read the full text of the bill here:

posted 4/10/23


The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules has posted new rules for comment on Free Standing Birth Centers. Rules can be reviewed at the link below. Public comments will be accepted through 3/27/23.   

Link to Birth Center Rules in Register here (page 1,846):

How to submit a comment:

Please send to Attn. Tracey Trigillo, IDPH Rules Coordinator, via mail, phone, or email

  • Mail: Department of Public Health, Lincoln Plaza 524 South 2nd Street, 6th Floor Springfield, IL 62701
  • Phone:  (217) 782-1159
  • Email:  [email protected]

posted 2/28/2023

Legislation Update


The new year is well underway and along with the New Year comes a new legislative session. The U.S. 118th Congress and the State’s 103rd Illinois General Assembly began the 23/24 session in January. The session will run through May. During this session, bills will be introduced, debated on and put to a vote, as nurses and members of AWHONN we have the opportunity to influence that vote. We invite you to become involved and advocate for bills to influence AWHONN key issues.

 The legislative posts for the spring session will provide information on how to contact your legislators, what federal bills AWHONN is supporting along with concise rationale and speaking points for your reference.  At the state level, we will monitor similar bills that influence the work of nursing or the care of our patients. If needed, we will offer a virtual meeting to discuss the issues and put together an advocacy plan for the Illinois membership.  Advocacy can be as simple as a phone call to your legislative officials asking for support or sponsorship of certain bills, a signature on an E-Petition or a visit to the office for a conversation.

Included below are tools to help the member find the representatives from your area, links to the federal and states legislative bodies to read about upcoming bills, and a calendar of events. We hope you find these tools useful in your future advocacy work.

Find your representative:

If you are unsure of who represents your area at the state level, use this link from Illinois Policy: 

 Find and contact your Illinois state senator, house representative or Chicago council member | Illinois Policy.

To find your federal senators and representatives visit the AWHONN Legislative Action Center:

 Advocate – AWHONN

Visit Advocate – AWHONN for more information on national legislation, such as

  1. AWHONN Key Issue or priorities for 2023
  2. Registration for AWHONN on Capitol Hill: 2-day education session on public policy and advocacy, held in Washington D.C. in April.
  3. Abortion Advocacy Resources.

For more in depth information visit Here you will find free public access to all three branches of the government including calendars of in-house sessions.

The 2023 State of Illinois calendar of in-house sessions can be found at: Illinois General Assembly – House Schedules ( ..

Check back to see where you can lend your voice to promote nursing and maternal child health.

Simone and Peggy