Legislation prohibiting law enforcement from conducting background checks on those attending public meetings unless they pose a security risk passed the Senate.
“For years, folks were showing up to Chicago Police Board meetings for their civic duty and every citizen who showed up experienced a background check,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago. “That’s a violation of so many people’s rights.”
Peters referenced a 2019 Chicago Tribune report that found law enforcement officials have conducted background checks on those who attended Police Board meetings since at least 2013.
Republican Sen. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, said law enforcement who’ve tried to keep people safe now “have to try and prove what their motivation was or what their intent was.”
“I truly do not understand how law enforcement could be prohibited from protecting us by doing simple background checks when someone comes into a meeting,” Bryant said.
* Center Square…
Lawmakers are in the process of changing a recent tax credit program for the development of data centers, but some worry the proposed change hijacks the successful program to favor union interests and could drive jobs out of state.
The Data Center Tax Credit Act was enacted with bipartisan support two years ago. The credit has been touted by the governor, Democrats and Republicans alike for attracting billions of dollars of private investment in the state and thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs. […]
The House amendment that passed 65-42 with one voting present clarifies what is considered a data center, including opening it to facilities that operate within five miles from each other, and requires green building certificates for the entities seeking the credit, among other changes.
But another provision was recognized as controversial by amendment sponsor state Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights. He said the proposed change requires entities seeking a credit or seeking renewal of a credit to have a “labor peace agreement” he said would have the employer agreeing to not hinder any attempts for workers to unionize.
“It is not a unionization mandate, but it could lead to that through a fair and open, normal election process,” Walker said. “Employees might well vote to be part of a union …”
But Republicans criticized Walker’s amendment to the Senate bill as changing rules on data centers looking to develop in Illinois mid-stream.
* Another bill…
The Illinois House unanimously passed a bipartisan juvenile justice reform Saturday that outlaws the use of deceptive interrogation techniques on minors.
The measure, contained in amendments to Senate Bill 2122, makes confessions by minors in custody inadmissible if they were obtained by “a law enforcement officer or juvenile officer (that) knowingly engages in deception.”
The bill was introduced in the House by Chicago Democratic Rep. Justin Slaughter and was also sponsored by two Republican former prosecutors, Minority Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, and Rep. Patrick Windhorst, of Metropolis.
“There have been a hundred wrongful convictions in Illinois predicated on false confessions, minors make up 31 of these cases. Research, experience and common sense tell us that minors are between two and three times more likely to falsely confess the crimes they didn’t commit,” Slaughter said.
* Center Square…
A bill providing legal protections for a person who reports a drug overdose is headed to the governor’s desk.
The Illinois Senate Saturday passed “Alex’s Law” by a 40 to 16 vote. The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Laura Ellman, D-Naperville, said the legislation is about saving lives by ensuring that people who seek emergency assistance for an individual experiencing symptoms of an opioid overdose will not be arrested for any crime related to the use of drugs at the scene.
“If somebody seeks medical attention for someone who is overdosing, it won’t affect their pretrial release or furlough so long as evidence of a violation was acquired as a result,” Ellman said.
The bill was inspired by 25-year-old Alex Green of Naperville who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2018. Green was with others at the time of his overdose, but they dropped him off at a gas station and fled fearing persecution. Officers who arrived on the scene were not able to identify what had happened until it was too late.
* This was a fun debate…
Student athletes at colleges in Illinois could get sponsorship money under a bill advancing at the statehouse in the final days of session.
State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, passed an amendment, 95-18, Saturday to Senate Bill 2338. It must now head to the Senate for concurrence before the end of session May 31.
“It creates the Illinois Student Athletes Endorsement Act,” Buckner said. “Generally, it allows student athletes in Illinois to earn market value competition for the use of their name, image or likeness, or voice, while enrolled in a post secondary education institution.”
The measure also allows them to hire counsel and an agent if they find it necessary.
* Capitol News Illinois…
Elementary school children in all public schools in Illinois would be entitled to at least 30 minutes of unstructured playtime each day under a bill that passed the state House on Saturday.
That’s only half the amount of playtime that the original bill would have required as it passed out of the Senate. The original bill also would have applied to students from kindergarten through eighth grade, but the bill was narrowed as a concession to opponents that included groups representing teachers, principals and administrators.
Even with those changes, Senate Bill 654, which some have dubbed the “right-to-play” bill, cleared the House by the smallest allowable vote total, 60-52.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Robert Peters and Rep. Aaron Ortiz, both Chicago Democrats who recalled their own time in school without being allowed recess time.
* And yet another press conference…
House and Senate Republicans stood outside the governor’s office Saturday demanding Gov. JB Pritzker veto the maps Democrats passed Friday.
GOP members say Democrats drew their own districts and used flawed data instead of waiting for the 2020 Census data. Of course, Pritzker campaigned on a goal for independent redistricting and told voters he would veto any map made by lawmakers, lobbyists, or staff.
Many groups feel the map doesn’t reflect the diversity of Illinois. Still, the governor is expected to sign the maps anyway.
“It is a rejection really of those people, whether it’s minority groups, good government groups, any of those,” said Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods). “It is a rejection of that in favor of one thing and one thing only. And that is partisan advantage for his own party.”