* AFSCME press release…
Responding to a wave of assaults on state employees including child protection workers, mental health caregivers, juvenile justice specialists and correctional officers, the largest state workers’ union—the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME—is backing new legislation to require state government to track and report employee injuries and related lost work days.
Recent high‐profile incidents—including the murder of a DCFS investigator and the stabbing of a supervisor, staff badly beaten at Chester Mental Health Center, and violence in prisons and juvenile justice facilities—have turned the spotlight on worker safety in four state agencies: Children & Family Services, Corrections, Human Services and Juvenile Justice.
Sponsored by Senator Mike Hastings, Senate Bill 3075 would provide data to help the General Assembly and other policymakers discern the scope of the problem and develop ways to reduce violence. Companion legislation (House Bill 4895) has been introduced by Rep. Mike Halpin.
State workers who have been injured on the job will testify along with AFSCME officials when the Hastings bill is heard in committee tomorrow (Tuesday, April 17).
* Speaking of that murdered DCFS investigator…
A state bill aimed at delivering a harsher punishment for battering a Department of Children and Family Services or Adult Protective Services worker isn’t likely to be heard by legislators this year.
House Bill 4586 was introduced in February by state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, in response to an attack on veteran DCFS worker Pamela Knight, 59, of Dixon in September.
The bill ups the battery charge to felony aggravated battery, punishable by four to 15 years in prison if the batterer, using anything other than a firearm, knowingly attacks a DCFS worker who’s performing his or her official duties, batters a worker to prevent the performance of those duties, or batters a worker in retaliation for performing those duties, causing great bodily harm or disfigurement. […]
This week, the bill was referred to the Judiciary Criminal Committee before being funneled to the Sentencing, Penalties and Criminal Procedure Subcommittee, where McCombie said it unfairly will be buried without consideration for the rest of the year.
As subscribers know, the Dems killed the bill last Friday because it enhanced penalties, and they’re quietly killing lots of those bills this year.
* Local editorial…
We believe McCombie’s bill is a common-sense response to the horrible attack on Pam Knight.
That’s not how the Democratic majority on the Judicial-Criminal Committee saw it.
Politics most certainly played a hand in the bill’s defeat. Had the victim lived in a Democratic district close to or in the city of Chicago, the drumbeat for lawmakers to act would have been resounding.
But because the brutal beating occurred in far-off Northwestern Illinois, the Democratic majority found it easier to look the other way.
* Other bills…
* Committee advances bill allowing pharmacists to dispense birth control pills without a prescription
* Illinois lawmakers to vote on local net neutrality
* Bill aiming to shift state jobs back to Springfield clears House panel
* More Sports Betting Laws In 2018? Some Legislative Calendars Are Getting Short As Bills Are Left Hanging
* Walker’s Bluff Resort Project Hits A Snag
* Second Amendment supporters gather at Capitol to speak out against gun control
* GOP Senators “spit on Phyllis Schlafly’s memory” by voting for the ERA, family leader says