* Press release…
Illinois requires less accountability be a gun dealer than a dog groomer, Senator Don Harmon said Tuesday while defending a commonsense proposal to license gun dealers at the state level in an effort to curb Chicago violence.
Harmon’s Senate Bill 1657 would allow Illinois to license gun dealers and encourage better business practices while holding corrupt dealers accountable as authorities try to get a handle on the violence epidemic that continues to plague Chicago neighborhoods. Gun dealers also must be licensed by federal authorities.
The proposal passed out of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee Tuesday in a 7-5 vote after a great deal of debate about whose responsibility it is to monitor gun dealers and find solutions to gun violence.
“Gun violence in Chicago is a huge problem. For people to sit around in the Capitol and say, ‘Let someone else take care of it and enforce the laws on the books,’ is incredibly frustrating,” said Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat. “Twenty-six other states license gun dealers. This is not breaking new ground. It’s a modest proposal. It’s harder to be a dog groomer or a hair stylist in Illinois.”
Senate Bill 1657 would establish two types of licenses: dealer and dealership. A dealer would be any person engaged in the business of selling, leasing or otherwise transferring firearms; a dealership would be a person, firm, corporation or other legal entity that does the same.
Applicants for each license would have to meet a series of requirements before receiving a state license. Violating the terms of the license can resulting in penalties.
The legislation also would establish a gun dealer licensing board to recommend policies, procedures and rules under the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which would license gun dealers.
“I want to be clear: There is no evidence that the gun violence problem is being caused by law-abiding gun owners. We need to focus on the real problem, which is illegal guns getting into the wrong hands,” Harmon said. “Somewhere between a gun manufacturer and a crime scene is a person who is pretending to be a law-abiding gun owner but is not. That is the problem this legislation seeks to address.
“Senate Bill 1657 does nothing more than impose industry standards for best practices that should be observed by every gun dealer already but unfortunately aren’t.”
A recent study showed that 40 percent of guns used in crimes between 2009 and 2014 came from Illinois and that nearly 17 percent – or roughly 3,000 – of all guns used in crimes in Chicago were sold by just three of the Illinois’ more than 2,400 gun dealers. All three are near Chicago.
Two state senators are co-sponsoring legislation they say would stop Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration from outsourcing additional medical and mental health service jobs from state prisons.
This past week, 124 nurses employed at 10 state prisons learned that they were being laid off and their jobs privatized. In Southern Illinois, that includes 13 nurses employed at Menard Correctional Center, and 13 at Vienna Correctional Center.
They were notified by Illinois Department of Corrections that their jobs will end on June 15.
* Press release…
The Lincoln Land Chapter of ABATE of Illinois has several concerns with HB2747, the Safe Autonomous Vehicles Act being considered in the Illinois House of Representatives today.
The bill as proposed does not have any requirements for independent testing of the systems used by autonomous vehicles to detect and avoid other vehicles. It also does not address different vehicle sizes, such as motorcycles, and testing of the systems to detect those as well.
Recently, there have been several incidents with Uber’s fleet of autonomous Volvos operating in the Bay area and in Arizona. Uber was caught operating without proper permits in San Francisco after footage of their autonomous vehicle running a red light was posted online. An eyewitness account states that the vehicle was in auto driving mode and took off across the intersection after initially stopping at the red. It is believed fog was a factor in the incident. Uber vehicles have also been spotted weaving across bicycle lanes, endangering those riders. In Arizona, an Uber autonomous vehicle was unable to avoid collision with a wayward driver. Even though the other vehicle was at fault, Uber grounded their fleet. This raises questions about the autonomous vehicle’s ability to account for abnormal traffic situations.
A 2013 NHTSA study shows that 51% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved collisions with motor vehicles, and 74% of collisions are front end collisions. Too often motor vehicles pull into the path or turn in front of motorcyclists often with fatal consequences. This is the cause of the “Look twice, save a life” campaign for motorcycle awareness throughout Illinois.
Uber’s current fleet meets the requirements of HB2747 as written. Given the documented incidents that have already occured with these vehicles, and the safety risk posed by faulty detection systems to motorcycles, ABATE insists that these vehicles be able to detect motorcycles from all directions, in traffic situations, and at various speeds before being allowed on Illinois roadways. We further insist on requiring independent testing to verify that these systems are able to meet these requirements. Additionally, ABATE would like to see the operator and owner of the vehicle liable for any traffic incidents that occur while the vehicle is in autonomous mode.
As pork producers exploit weak laws to build and expand large hog confinements across rural Illinois, neighboring farmers have complained their rights are being trampled while waste spills poison local streams and sickening gases ruin families’ lives and property values.
But after years of frustration and legislative inaction, lawmakers on Tuesday announced four new bills that would tighten Illinois’ lax environmental protections and give local citizens more input in the permitting process, as well as standing to challenge the massive facilities in court.
The bills, proposed in response to the Tribune’s August investigation, “The Price of Pork,” would represent the first significant reforms to Illinois’ 1996 Livestock Management Facilities Act, which has been criticized for failing to keep pace with the dramatic growth of swine confinements. Holding thousands of pigs and sometimes producing millions of gallons of manure annually, the operations now account for more than 90 percent of Illinois’ $1.5 billion in annual hog sales.