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Interesting bills

Thursday, Feb 20, 2014

* You don’t see bills like this one every day. Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Sen. Michael Hastings want to provide a path back to driving privileges for those who have been convicted four times for DUI. From the synopsis

Provides that certain persons ineligible to re-apply for a license may instead apply for a restricted driving permit after the expiration of 5 years from the effective date of the most recent revocation, provided the person proves by clear and convincing evidence a minimum 3 years of uninterrupted sobriety from alcohol and other drugs and the successful completion of all rehabilitative activity recommended by a properly licensed service provider. Provides that the Secretary of State shall cancel a restricted driving permit issued under the conditions if the holder fails to comply with ignition interlock device requirements and that the person shall be ineligible to re-apply for restricted driving privileges.

* Sun-Times coverage

Michael Geever, one of the 5,000 people Nekritz estimates her bill affects, testified in favor of her legislation.

Geever, now a deacon at Lamplighter Bible Church in Roselle, said he’s been a changed man ever since his spiritual awakening lifted his obsession to drink and do drugs. Nevertheless, Geever must adjust to a life without driving privileges. […]

Lt. Donnie Pridemore, of the Fulton Police Department, testified in support of the bill, saying he’s seen people—including his own alcoholic brother—turn their lives around. […]

Rita Kreslin, executive director of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, said she supported the legislation in light of the permit eligibility requirements listed in the bill.

Interesting as well that AAIM is for it.

* Speaking of Sen. Hastings, his “revenge porn” bill has been getting a lot of publicity. From the Tribune

The idea is to curb the major embarrassment people suffer when their scorned ex-boyfriends or girlfriends post raunchy photos and videos of their former partners as a way to get back at them.

A new proposal filed at the Capitol would make it illegal for people to take to the Internet with such content without consent. Sponsoring Sen. Michael Hastings likened the posting of such pictures after bad breakups to “harassment and the worst type of cyberbullying.”

The legislation is needed because Illinois statutes fail to protect people who posed for racy pictures and videos while in a private relationship, only to have their “trust broken,” said Hastings, D-Orland Hills.

Under the measure, it would become a felony to post nude and sexually explicit pictures of another person without his or her permission. The bill also would make it a crime to require a fee to get pictures removed from a website. The maximum penalty would be up to three years in prison and a $25,000 fine, though judges would have discretion to impose lesser punishments.

* But

Mary Dixon, from the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois, said the wording of the bill might not stand up to the protection of free speech guaranteed in the First Amendment.

Dixon said laws could regulate free speech, but they must be “carefully and narrowly tailored,” something she said Hastings’ bill could work on by including language on malicious intent and emotional harm.

Despite the concerns voiced by the ACLU, Hastings disagreed and defended the wording of the bill, saying it’s hard to prove malicious intent.

“I happen to agree with the senator that it is difficult to prove intent,” said John Carroll, from the state’s attorney’s office. “I do think that there is a drastic need for this bill.”

OK, this is a real problem that needs to be addressed, but why call it “revenge porn” if intent has nothing to do with it? Isn’t revenge a clear intent?

* Sen. Don Harmon has a bill that would provide a permanent funding stream for the state’s chronically underfunded Poison Control Center

Harmon’s plan would tap into a fund filled by fees that cell phone companies charge users to pay for 911 services. At first, the cell companies used the money to build out 911 technology so that it patched cell phones into the closest emergency dispatch centers, but most of that work has been done and money has been piling up in the fund. Harmon would use 2 cents per user (the total fee is 6 to 8 cents) to pay for the Poison Control Center.

Of course, Harmon isn’t the only one who has noticed that money quietly amassing. Some of it already has been used to help pay administrative expenses of the Illinois Commerce Commission. Now, 911 centers would like some of that money to make their own improvements.

But for panicked parents making that 2 a.m. call, the Poison Control Center is probably the place that would get their votes.

Those parents would probably call 911 first, so shouldn’t we make sure those call centers are adequately funded with all that money piling up as well?

* And finally

Legislation sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington that makes it clear sex offenders must report to law enforcement when they lose a job, cleared the Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee Wednesday.

Barickman says Pontiac Police and the McLean County State’s Attorney’s office brought a quirk in the current law to Barickman’s attention.

Currently although state law requires sex offenders to report a “change” in employment, there was a recent appellate court ruling that said losing a job is not the same as a change in employment. This bill aims to clarify an ambiguity in the existing law.

We really do have a bizarre appellate bench in this state.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - Nonplussed - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    Rich: Sometimes we do have an odd appellate bench; sometimes we don’t. I remember Frank Mautino complaining that the Illinois Supreme Court had deemed a Veteran’s preference in state hiring as “absolute”. What the good representative didn’t say was that the court was simply interpreting the language in front of them, written by the GA, and that the GA lacked the courage to change it after the court decision.

    Poor draftsmanship leads to bad laws and bad decisions.


  2. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    ===complaining that the Illinois Supreme Court===

    I wasn’t referring to the Supremes. I think they usually do a pretty good job.


  3. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Rich,

    The appellate ruling is not quite as bizarre as you might think. Changing jobs is usually voluntary; losing a job is often involuntary (business closure or layoff for example). So I can see why the judge drew the distinction.


  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    …And one reason they do a good job is they overturn a whole lot of truly goofy appellate-level decisions.


  5. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    I’m normally pretty cool with the idea of rehabilitation, but… four DUIs?

    I’m sorry. A large part of this state is served by public transportation. Move there.

    In the Navy we defined alcohol abuse as having your alcohol use affect your social or professional life.

    If you didn’t get the message after three DUIs, I’m sorry I don’t care if you find Jesus and Joseph Smith’s golden tablets. You’re someone who can’t control his/her use of intoxicating substances.

    No.


  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    ===losing a job is often involuntary===

    It’s still a change in job status.


  7. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    Turn your life around on the CTA.


  8. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Rich,

    The English language has so many ways of saying the same thing that it leads to a lot of ambiguity in the legal world. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.


  9. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    === why call it “revenge porn” if intent has nothing to do with it? ===

    Good point.

    === Those parents would probably call 911 first ===

    Excellent point.


  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    I’m glad Mr. Geever has had a spiritual awakening. Be joyful.

    But society has a right to protect itself. A driver’s license is not a right. Four DUI convictions represent an unacceptable risk to the public. Only Mr. Geever knows how many times he drove dangerously drunk and was not pulled over.

    Again, I’m glad he’s had an awakening. That’s a tremendous gift that not everyone in his situation is blessed with. Compared to that, a driver’s license means nothing. It will have to do.


  11. - A Modest Proposal - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me three times, shame on you. Fool me four times, shame on you. Fool me five times, shame on me. The point is you won’t get fooled again.


  12. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    === convicted four times for DUI ===

    Odd logic behind picking this arbitrary number.

    4 times = I may be redeemed, but 5 times = beyond all hope?

    If the focus is on giving people a chance to start fresh after turning their life around, it makes more sense to base this on a time limit since the last DUI.

    For example, 0 DUI’s in 10 years = chance to get your license back.

    Someone is either at a better place in life or they are not. That exact number of times you got busted for a DUI is irrelevant to whether or not you have successfully made that change in life.


  13. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Illinois throws people in prison for relatively minor offenses for long sentences.

    Last I knew there were still torture victims incarcerated based on confessions obtained through torture.

    Reducing the draconian nature of criminal justice for these people makes sense.

    A few White people can’t control their drinking and think it’s beneath them to take the bus and all of a sudden they’ve got members of the General Assembly willing to put our lives at risk.

    No. No. No.


  14. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Illinois throws people in prison for relatively minor offenses for long sentences.

    Last I knew there were still torture victims incarcerated based on confessions obtained through torture.

    Reducing the draconian nature of criminal justice for these people makes sense.

    A few White people can’t control their drinking and think it’s beneath them to take the bus and all of a sudden they’ve got members of the General Assembly willing to put our lives at risk.

    No. No. No.


  15. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    On the DUI bill, does Illinois ever require ignition locks for repeat offenders? You know, the thing you have to blow into before the car can start?

    My wife is from Omaha, which isn’t known for its public transportation. Heck, they only have like 5 taxis in the whole town, and those are at the airport. But Omahans like to drink. In prodigious quantities. Seems like every person I met there had at least one DUI, and more than one wasn’t uncommon. If you get a DUI in Omaha, you have to get an ignition lock, even if it’s a first offense. After 5-6 though, they do eventually lock you up. And if you’re in an accident, you can count on doing some jail time.

    I’m not excusing the behavior (there but for the grace of God go I), but there is a simple technology that can allow people to safely operate a vehicle. A drivers license is a privilege, but one that is a necessity for many people to remain employed. Sometimes losing a license is tantamount to losing a job.

    Something to consider anyway.


  16. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    In my own experience (before the days of the world wide web) when I was exposed to some chemicals in my eyes (the stuff Chemlawn used to spray on lawns) it was the urgent care facility I went to that called poison control. I suspect even with the web that is still the case today.

    So it may not be mom or data calling because timmy drank something, it may the place they take him to after he drank it.


  17. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Three years of sobriety is noteworthy. I would be in favor of allowing folks who meet these exacting criteria to be reinstated, but only be allowed a restricted drivers license for employment purposes only until an additional reasonable period of safe driving and sobriety continued.

    And Carl, I didn’t know only “White people” got DUIs. Thanks for painting with the broadest brush possible.


  18. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    It’s only “a few White people” who get DUI’s and are capable of turning their lives around?

    Wow.

    Last time I checked, people of all skin colors are capable of improving their lives, just as they are all capable of making terrible decisions.

    Just, wow.


  19. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    US society hands out particularly harsh prison sentences. The people who get hit with long prison sentences are disproportionately Black, Latino, Native American and poor Whites.

    There is very little effort to change this system.

    But you take away the drivers licenses of a few politically connected White folk who find Jesus then there’s a bill to give another chance.

    No.

    It’s not reasonable. It’s not fair. It’s not good public policy. It’s not safe for the citizenry.

    If they have to go through a period of three years of organizing their lives w/o a drivers license they can do it for the rest of their lives.


  20. - RonOglesby - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    Sorry 4 DUIs… 4. Not one “mistake”. Not 2 or 3. 4…
    4 times CAUGHT driving while intoxicated. I dont know. You want to have compassion for those that have truly changed. But you also have say when enough is enough. And I think 4 times is more than enough. Commit one violent crime lose your gun rights for life. Get caught driving drunk 4 times and get your privileges to drive back? Both are cases of society protecting itself. And I am not sure I am against that.


  21. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    If suspending or revoking a person’s driver’s license was all it took to ensure a person with multiple prior DUIs did not drive or drive drunk again, then I would agree with the Carls of this world.

    Unfortuantely, for those of us living in the real world, the loss or suspension of drivers license does not stop a person from driving or driving drunk.

    Many severe alcoholics have jobs and whether its “beneath them” or not, may not have access to a bus(think every non-metropolitan area south of I80). Such persons may well have families and paying child support.

    Whether its a BAIID and/or a treatment court setting, it is cheaper and promotes greater public safety to allow a path for such persons to legally drive unimpaired along the roadways with the rest of us.

    I have no problem excluding from the class of potentially eligible persons anyone who has injured or killed someone as a result of a DUI.
    For the rest, I would classify alcohol as the drug addiction it is and work to solve the problem rather than pretend it will go away on its own

    To those knee jerk people who say no to such ideas, I envy the black and white world you live in compared to the many shades of gray in mine.


  22. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    I’ve known Hastings for some years and I really don’t know where these idiotic laws he’s proposing are coming from. He obviously is looking for higher office, and you can bet if this legislation passes someone who would’ve lost their license will kill someone else when they get drunk again. He’ll have MADD and every other drunk driving opponent picketing him at every event.

    How many “Four time loser” votes does he exepct to get? The only winner here will be the trial lawyers who’ll make hay on this. BTW, did he get his law degree yet?


  23. - Belle - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    I am all for forgiving people but 3 or 5 or 20 years (without drinking) does not mean the behavior is banished forever. Unless it is all in one day, 4 is a lot of DUI’s so I say no. It is too many really bad, dangerous decisions.


  24. - fed up - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Interesting today Chicagos police dispatch for parts of the city went down thanks to deferred maintence maybe some 911 money would help rahm out.


  25. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 5:38 pm:

    When there are articles like this:
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-02-19/prussing-others-want-state-raise-cellphone-911-fee.html

    I’d hold off on transferring money. Let’s get 911 centers the financing they need, and maybe get E911 throughout the state before diverting money to other purposes no matter how noble the purpose may be.


  26. - John Boch - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 6:14 pm:

    Nekritz wants to give career DUI drivers yet *another* crack at killing or crippling you, me, and our loved ones again?

    That’s a cruel joke.

    What’s next? Allowing child sex offenders to regain teacher’s licenses?

    John


  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 7:00 pm:

    === Arizona Bob ===

    2 years in the Senate, they do bills about porno; 13 years in the House they do DUI laws…. those legislators get kind of boring as time goes along. Hope Hastings keeps his focus. (I think Rich may have inadvertently added Hastings name next to Nekritz)


  28. - Way Down Here - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 9:24 pm:

    Everybody seems to be missing Tommydanger’s point. Taking someone’s license away is horribly ineffective at keeping them off the road. AAIM’s support probably indicates a grudging acceptance of this fact, and the thought that requiring them to have an interlock device is much better than forcing them to hope they don’t get caught driving.

    Few, if any, other states have the sort of true lifetime revocation that Illinois does. They might have something they call a lifetime ban, but allow a petition to restore driving privileges at some point. Anyone care to argue that Illinois roads are significantly safer than all other states?


  29. - Dad - Thursday, Feb 20, 14 @ 10:09 pm:

    I applaud Sen. Harmon’s bill…this is a smart way to reduce healthcare and EMS costs in IL. The poison center does and should work with 911 and EMS to help ensure we are not wasting resources on unnecessary ambulance trips and ED visits.


  30. - Jimbo - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 9:04 am:

    I’m curious why the state needs to know if they lose a job. If they get a different job, yes the state needs to make sure it doesn’t put them in contact with children or whatever. Losing a job just means they’ll be staying home. Since the state already knows where they live, what’s the big deal? So I understand why they need to provide employment details and their residence address, but really punishing them for not telling the state they lost their job is silly.

    I guess that maybe the State wants to get information about why they lost their job. I get that, but why not make employers responsible for reporting prohibited conduct by the offender? Seems that would be easier than investigating every time someone gets laid off. Not just easier, but very much cheaper.


  31. - Way Down Here - Friday, Feb 21, 14 @ 4:40 pm:

    MADD supports HB4206 as well.

    http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/25722696-474/dui-bill-another-chance-safer-roads.html


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