call us312-335-9470

200 West Adams, Suite 2475, Chicago, IL 60606

Recent blog posts

shutterstock_1303768399.jpgFor those looking to enter the fields of private alarm contractor, private detective, or private security contractor, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) offers licensing exams twice a year in September and March. To assist those who are preparing to take a licensing exam, Williams & Nickl, LLC is again offering study-review sessions. We have helped hundreds of past participants successfully achieve their licenses.

The next scheduled date for all of the examinations is Wednesday, September 07, 2022, with an application deadline of July 22, 2022. However, the testing company strongly recommends submitting your application in sooner.

Our prep classes will take place on the following dates:

...

shutterstock_1749895004.jpgFor those who are looking to enter the field of dentistry and become a dental hygienist, you must first go through the required training and meet a variety of other requirements to obtain a dental hygienist license. The understandable fear of any potential licensee is to have their application denied by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). If you have a past criminal conviction, you may receive a Deficiency Checklist from IDFPR asking you to provide information on the conviction as part of the application review process. If you have received a Deficiency Checklist, you need to contact the lawyers at Williams & Nickl, LLC.

License Application Obstacles for Dental Hygienists

If you have received a Deficiency Checklist from IDFPR, you may not know how to respond or even whether your conviction is disqualifying. This notice does not mean your application has been denied, but not responding does put your application in jeopardy. Among the reasons that you may receive the notice is that you have been found guilty of a felony, a misdemeanor in which the essential element is dishonesty, or a crime that is directly related to the practice of dental hygiene. Being convicted of any crime on this list will not automatically bar you from obtaining your license, but the conviction should have been disclosed on your initial application. Some of the convictions that IDFPR will not consider when evaluating your license application are convictions related to cannabis possession or sale, traffic offenses except for DUI or reckless homicide, trespassing, or vandalism.

Our firm can help provide you with guidance on the appropriate next steps. If necessary, we can draft a letter of response to IDFPR that answers their questions and makes the case for why your license should be approved. By waiting too long or attempting to respond on your own, you are putting all of your hard work at risk.

...

shutterstock_171921827.jpgPeople across the state rely on real estate brokers, more commonly known as agents, every day when they are buying or selling a house, condo, townhouse, or other property. They trust that agents will act ethically and keep high standards of professionalism. These ethics and standards are enforced by the Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board, which regulates licenses for those in the real estate industry, including real estate agents, managing brokers, and leasing agents.

Professional and Personal Infractions Can Cause Licensing Issues

There are a wide variety of reasons that a complaint may be filed against a real estate agent. Some involve professional infractions, while others reflect the personal behavior of the individual. The actions related to an agent’s professional business that could cause disciplinary action include:

  • Accounting or recordkeeping irregularities, including not keeping records available for review

    ...

shutterstock_746383330.jpgThe state of Illinois has enacted several pieces of legislation designed to address the growing opioid crisis. The bills were signed last week by Governor Pritzker, and three bills, in particular, are of interest to pharmacists and other medical professionals who handle opioids on a daily basis.

Opioid Legislation to Prevent Overdoses and Expand Resources

Senate Bill 2535 requires pharmacists and medical professionals who write prescriptions for opioids to inform the patients of the drugs’ addictive nature. They also must give the patient the option to receive a drug that may be used to reverse opioid overdoses, also known as an opioid antagonist. This bill takes effect on January 1, 2023.

House Bill 4556, which is effective immediately, allows pharmacists and other medical professionals to distribute testing strips for fentanyl. These strips and other testing supplies can often be classified under the law as drug paraphernalia. This will allow health care facilities, including hospitals and pharmacies, to store these important supplies without the fear of being prosecuted. The strips can quickly determine the presence of fentanyl in a substance and prevent accidental overdoses.

...

shutterstock_243010870_20220602-170034_1.jpgWith the trust that doctors and pharmacies are given to prescribing controlled substances, they also have a responsibility to ensure that the substances are being used for legitimate medical purposes. Physicians and pharmacists may fall under investigation for drug diversion if they are suspected of facilitating prescription drugs to be obtained, shared, or transferred inappropriately. This can be for their own personal use, the use of their patients, or by outside individuals. These investigations can lead to discipline to their medical license as well as criminal charges. Any medical provider who has been accused of drug diversion should contact an experienced medical license defense attorney to discuss their options.

Potential Causes of Drug Diversion Suspicion

Given the risk of drug abuse from prescription drugs, drug diversion cases are taken seriously by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). There are a variety of different circumstances that can cause a physician or pharmacist to be investigated for drug diversion. These can include:

  • Selling narcotics or opioids to individuals for non-therapeutic uses, also known as operating a pill mill

    ...

shutterstock_1133220323.jpgIn the latest budget for the state of Illinois, licensing fees are waived for frontline health care workers for the state fiscal year 2023, which runs from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. This includes licensing fees for nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, and social workers. The waiver covers initial applications for licensing as well as renewals.  

Appreciation for Frontline Healthcare Workers

In an effort to show appreciation for the frontline workers still battling the COVID-19 pandemic after two long years and in recognition of the financial burden many have faced, Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed that license fees will be waived for nearly 470,000 frontline healthcare workers. The budget was approved in February and takes effect on July 1.  

If you hold more than one license through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), you will be granted a waiver for each application. There are certain variances to license renewal schedules that have been granted to ensure all possible workers will be able to benefit. Refer to the IDFPR website for more details. Nurses who qualify include registered nurses, APRNs, full practice APNs, APRN controlled substance nurses, and full practice APN controlled substance nurses. 

...

shutterstock_1478187425.jpgEven before the global pandemic, the field of veterinary medicine was full of daily pitfalls and long-term challenges. The last two years have brought about a multitude of changes in how veterinarians operate their business and what is demanded of them by their customers. Some challenges are new, and some have merely been accelerated. 

Trials Facing Veterinarians

As they look to establish their practice or stay current and competitive in their field, veterinarians must balance new and existing obstacles. Here are some of the top challenges facing veterinarians and veterinary practices. 

Staff attrition and burnout - It can be difficult to keep a veterinary practice running without highly trained and dedicated staff. Working with animals every day can be a physically demanding and emotionally draining job. Every level of staff deals must provide customer service and care to individuals who often have deep emotional ties to their pets. This can be especially true for pet owners who have developed even closer bonds with their pets coming out of the pandemic. There continues to be a high turnover rate for licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and staff at veterinary practices. 

...

shutterstock_1668328987.jpgFor any individual to legally own a gun or ammunition in Illinois, the state requires that they obtain a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card. While the actual process of applying for a FOID card is simple, if you have a criminal record that includes a felony conviction, you face additional challenges. At Williams & Nickl, LLC, we can help you understand the requirements of qualifying for a FOID card with a felony conviction and work to restore your gun ownership rights

Impacts of a Felony Conviction on Gun Ownership in Illinois

With a complete application, a copy of your driver’s license, a recent picture, and a $10 fee, most Illinois residents over the age of 21 can receive a FOID card. While other factors may prevent individuals from obtaining their FOID card, including a history of mental health problems or substance abuse concerns, a felony conviction can have the most lasting impact on your application. Once you are convicted of a felony, you automatically lose your ability to have or obtain a FOID card. In order to restore your eligibility, you must demonstrate to the State Police Director or a county court judge that you meet the following criteria:

  • No violent or forcible felony convictions in the last 20 years

    ...

shutterstock_200278673.jpgMany women choose to use midwives during the birth of their children. However, until recently, Illinois did not provide separate licensing for midwives. Currently, only registered nurses who underwent additional training and met certain requirements have been recognized as nurse-midwives in the state. Under legislation signed by Governor Pritzker in February, midwives without nursing degrees will be able to gain licensing. The new law will take effect on October 1, 2022.

Illinois Midwife Licensing Basics

After October, licensed midwives will have the right to provide care for women before, during, and after deliveries outside of a hospital setting as long as the pregnancies and deliveries are deemed low-risk. They will also be able to provide women with other forms of medical care, including well-woman care, care and supervision during pregnancy, performing pap smears, and screening for STDs.

In order to provide this prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care, midwives will need to meet qualification standards, education, and training. They may also be subject to disciplinary steps and malpractice claims.

...

shutterstock_1701457318-1.jpgThe opioid epidemic in the United States has become a "hot button" issue not only with federal prosecutors but among families at the dinner table. Nearly half a million people have died of opioid-related overdose in the last 20 years. The opioid crisis has touched many people personally, whether it is a family member’s struggle with addiction or their own. Highly relevant in the conversation of opioids is the duty of care of physicians when prescribing and the numerous cases of abuse of that duty through the operation of so-called ‘pill mills.’

Two pending cases in the Supreme Court of the United States brought by two physicians previous convicted of overprescribing opioids, (Kahn v. United States and Ruan v. United States) ask the court to contemplate whether a uniform criminal standard should be applied to physicians in opioid cases that permits a ‘good faith’ defense for accused physicians. Currently, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 holds that doctors cannot prescribe opioids and other controlled substances unless there is a prescription for a legitimate medical purpose as determined by a physician acting in the usual course of his professional practice.

The phrase ‘legitimate medical purpose’ has given rise to different interpretations by federal appellate courts. Some federal appellate courts hold that physicians can be convicted for prescribing opioids regardless of the ‘legitimate medical purpose’ so long as the prescriptions were uncommon or not permitted by standards of accepted medical practice.

...

shutterstock_1518039839.jpgWhenever one hears the terms “mortician,” or “funeral director,” the image our mind conjures is that of a black-clad male figure. However, since 2017, there has been a marked increase in women taking up the mantle and changing the industry.

Historically, caring for the deceased and preparing their bodies was considered women’s work. Going as far back as Ancient Greece or even the Civil War, women conducted the death rites, primarily in the home. Shrouding women or midwives would cleanse the body and prepare it for burial. Women were seen as more intuitive and emotionally sensitive to the bereaved’s needs, making them a more natural fit for the role. It was only when funerals and embalming became a career in the late 19th century that women were forced back into traditional domestic roles.

In a business that has historically been slow to embrace change, the wave of women working in funeral homes is changing the stereotype of the man in the somber black suit. They have often had to fight social stigmas and old-fashioned mentalities: women can’t lift coffins, women shouldn’t be exposed to embalming chemical while pregnant, etc. Despite the prejudice, women have continued to enter deathcare, especially as the industry itself is currently shifting the way it approaches funerals.

...

shutterstock_171030227.jpg“We’re in the middle of a battle, and we need reinforcements,” the Governor said in his call to action. “Come back and join the fight.”

Illinois was among those states counting on retired (or even soon-to-be retired) medical personnel to stave the onslaught of COVID-19 cases in hospitals and to administer much needed vaccines. In early 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker slashed through the bureaucratic red tape by waiving state licensing fees, expediting license renewals and extending soon-to-be-expired licenses for healthcare professionals.

(Active license reinstatement waivers are scheduled to expire May 31, 2022, per the 12/20/21 IDFPR Proclamation.)

...

shutterstock_258405011.jpgStarting in 2022, the Illinois State Police (ISP) Firearms Services Bureau (FSB) has debuted a new way of getting information relating to a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) or Conceal Carry Permit (CCL) applications. Changes to the ISP FSB Portal include new notification options, as well as self-serve Kiosks at three locations.

“The Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau is working diligently to ensure the statutory changes to the FOID Act will benefit the people of Illinois,” stated ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “This opt out option will make it easier and quicker for the public to receive notifications regarding their FOID card and/or CCL,” concluded Kelly.

The notification options include receiving emails or text messages instead of the traditional letter through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Many people who have applied for a FOID or CCL never receive their letters. Others spend months or years waiting on a response. The notification system provides a more reliable way of receiving information on the status of an application.

...

shutterstock_344377493.jpgWhile nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals have been heavily exposed to compassion fatigue during the wave after wave of COVID-19, funeral directors have not been among those studied. Yet, those working in deathcare have been subject to the same risks for compassion fatigue as other caregivers.

 Compassion fatigue is an emotional and physical drain for those working closely with anyone dealing with pain and/or suffering. It consists of two main factors: burnout and secondary trauma. Burnout can come through frustration with the work environment. Compassion fatigue has also been called a burnout specific to caregivers. Secondary trauma refers to the repeated exposure to painful details of the lives of patients, which can be intensively exhausting for caregivers. Failing to recognize the symptoms and get some form of mental care can lead to more serious mental health issues such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those on the front line of COVID-19 have already seen this as a recurring phenomenon among caregivers in stressful situations. Among those ranks are funeral directors who often fall by the wayside and are given less attention than their medical healthcare counterparts.

 Funeral directors have been interfacing with bereaving families throughout the pandemic. On top of the pain of losing a loved one, many traditions, ceremonies, and gatherings have been denied to the grieving. Showing empathy to clients is a core part of the deathcare business, but COVID-19 has changed the way many funeral directors approach their job, being deprived of even extending a comforting hand. Along with wanting to provide strength to those in mourning, deathcare workers must balance their professionalism with the same fears the general public has: fear of contagion, fear of carrying the virus home to loved ones, fear for their co-workers. There are relatively few studies on the mental health of funeral directors. The studies that have been performed, showed that funeral directors run a higher risk of developing mental health problems like depression. The pandemic has caused cumulative exposure to stressful incidents, a high number of funerals, longer working hours, and the many difficulties to maintain the quality of work as before all may have an impact on mental health.

...

shutterstock_1893274216.jpgSnow brings with it plenty of fun events: skiing, sledding, building snowmen, snowball fights. However, Veterinarians say it can also bring with it serious health concerns to pets, especially dogs. If you’ve ever seen a dog hopping or limping down a snowy sidewalk, whimpering at the heels of their human, the culprit is very likely rock salt (sodium chloride).

Chicago winters are especially harsh. We vacillate between warm winter days and polar vortex storms. When the snow begins, people are quick to throw down the rock salt. It is a necessary evil. Rock salt helps melt down snow and give traction. As it melts, the salt-water slush resulting from the melting of snow the salt crystals can attach to the animal’s paw pads and cause irritation and burning. It can also lead to inflammation, soreness, and bacterial infections.

Rock salt is doubly dangerous to dogs. They may end up licking their paws in an effort to remove the discomfort between their paws. Ingesting rock salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, seizures, erratic behavior, disorientation, extreme tiredness, an unnaturally intense third, or excessive drooling or salivating. If you see any of these warning signs, call your vet if you suspect there is a problem. Your vet will likely deliver intravenous medication/fluids and monitor your pet to ensure the condition does not worsen. In extreme cases, dogs could even slip into comas or die as a result of ingesting too much sodium chloride.

...

shutterstock_566594038.jpgBig news! IDFPR just changed the law governing basic training requirements for Private Detectives, Private Security Contractors, and Private Alarm Contractors AND their employees. It is effective 01-01-22. We break the law down by profession. Note that Fred and I wrote these new training provisions at the request of several private detectives and guard industry associations.

 

Private Detectives (PD)

...

shutterstock_1251170581.jpgLast spring, Illinois dispensary workers and consumers noticed there was mold in a popular brand of pre-rolled marijuana joints. State regulators determined that numerous batches were potentially contaminated. The Chicago Sun Times “watchdog” section broke the story on December 10, 2021.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the licensing agency for Illinois marijuana dispensaries and their employees. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Act) provides for the controlled legalization of adult-use cannabis in Illinois. Pursuant to the Act, IDFPR is charged with implementing and administrating multiple aspects of the program, including the licensing and oversight of dispensing organizations, dispensary agents, and agent education providers.

Despite its statutorily mandated oversight responsibilities, IDFPR never told the public about the mold infestation. Instead, IDFPR opted to send an email to dispensary operators which discretely instructed them to quarantine a cannabis flower product made by a certain producer. Dispensaries were left with a quagmire of compliance and liability issues which were compounded by IDFPR’s inaction and lack of guidance.

...

shutterstock_1817934827.jpgThe Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s (IDFPR) license renewal procedures recently underwent a conversion to permit online filing. As a result of the conversion, IDFPR was late in the initiation of accepting license renewals from several licensed professionals, including: 

  • Certified Public Accountants/Registered Certified Public Accountants

  • Cosmetologists

    ...

shutterstock_114938944-1.jpgThe Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, whose function is to consider any objection to an applicant's eligibility to obtain a Concealed Carry License (CCL), recently explained the various factors causing delay in issuing new licenses.  

A board member testifying in front of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee provided insights regarding the delay in the processing and review of hundreds of CCL appeals. The Board member offered valuable insight stating that sometimes the delays are the result of a lack of evidence and other materials provided by the objecting law enforcement agency.

The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board is responsible for reviewing as many as 600 objections per month. Because of the sheer volume of applications, approvals are often delinquent. Teleconferencing has significantly improved the Board’s efficiency, but use of technology can only relieve the backlog so much.

...

shutterstock_1454438033.jpgThe Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that felons may apply for restoration of firearms civil rights and describes the discretion granted to the director and courts when making their determination. 

Recently, the Supreme Court of Illinois issued its opinion in Evans v. Cook County State’s Attorney, 2021 IL 125513. Evans considered whether Section 10 of the FOID Card Act – which establishes a process for relief from firearms disabilities – automatically and permanently makes this relief unavailable to convicted of felons. The Supreme Court of Illinois determined that Section 10 of the FOID Card Act was intended to be a mechanism for firearm civil rights restoration for some convicted felons. 

Evans was convicted of two felonies in 1994. Both were related to the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. Evans applied for a FOID card in 2018 but was denied. The Illinois State Police’s (ISP) justification for the denial was based on federal law. The ISP argued that Section 922(g)(1) of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm when that person “has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” 

...
Back to Top