The bills that comprise the Reproductive Health Act are just the sort of counterpunch that demonstrators and other concerned citizens are demanding. Yet despite the national uproar, the proposals are still languishing in committees with a little more than a week to go until the end of this legislative session. And Pritzker, who campaigned as a champion for choice, has stayed on the sidelines.
The proposals underscore women’s rights to make “autonomous decisions” about whether to remain pregnant. They repeal the Parental Notice of Abortion Act of 1995 that requires minors to inform a parent or legal guardian or get a waiver from a judge before having an abortion. They lift restrictions on late-term abortions and require private insurance plans to cover abortion services.
And, as chief House co-sponsor Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, emphasized to me in an interview Tuesday, the measures repeal dormant statutory provisions calling for criminal penalties against abortion doctors and allowing localities to effectively ban abortion clinics by imposing medically unnecessary requirements on them.
“Those laws were passed long ago and then blocked by the courts,” Cassidy said. “But they didn’t go away. They’re still on the books. An adverse federal court ruling could reinstate them immediately.”
In early March, opponents blasted the Reproductive Health Act as “extreme” for turning access to abortion into “a positive good in Illinois law.”
That was before the nation saw repeated examples of what extremism on abortion really looks like, and before we took the full measure of the harsh intentions of abortion’s most determined foes.
* Capitol News Illinois…
Senate Bill 1966 was advanced to the full House on Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee on a vote along party lines. Sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Willis, an Addison Democrat, an amendment to the bill would require new FOID card holders and those renewing their license to provide a fingerprint. It also would increase application fees from $10 to $50, and reduce the time a license is valid from 10 years to five years.
Willis said the purpose of the bill is to “keep up” with FOID revocations and create better communication between local and state law enforcement agencies.
“One of the reasons that we saw that revocations were not followed up as best as they could was because there was no money in resources to be able to do that,” Willis said.
State Police Lt. John Thompson testified Tuesday about the challenges his agency faces with the limited funds it receives for FOID revocation enforcement.
He said the fee of $10 for 10 years isn’t enough to sustain the nearly 1,000 applications the department receives daily.
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst asked Willis if she had concerns about the state managing a database with millions of gun owners’ fingerprints.
“I think it makes the state safer, in all honesty,” Willis said.
“Would you support mandatory fingerprinting for all citizens in Illinois?” Windhorst asked.
“If it makes the state safer, yeah,” Willis replied.
State Rep. Art Turner, D-Chicago, raised concerns about FOID fee essentially going from $10 for 10 years to $100 for the same amount of time.
“You could make a criminal out of a person who doesn’t get it renewed if they can’t afford the price at the time,” Turner said. “That’s a light bill. That’s groceries.”
* Other stuff…
* SIU Board could soon be among most student-dominated in higher education: Legislation introduced by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, to give votes to both student members on the SIU Board of Trustees — one from the Carbondale campus, one from SIU Edwardsville — is on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk after clearing the House and Senate, Stuart announced Monday.
* Illinois House OKs bills regulating drivers’ headlight modifications and digital activities
* Airport tenants could be prosecuted for delinquent taxes
* Illinois Charter School Battles Coming To A Head As Bill Advances