* Rep. Kelly Cassidy touts a few of her new bills to constituents…
HB4164: Allows that a member of the General Assembly may visit the institutions, facilities, and programs of the Department of Corrections, upon request of the member, for the purpose of inquiring into the affairs and conditions of the Department. Currently, the law only allows this access to the Governor, and legislators must seek permission to visit which doesn’t allow for effective oversight.
HB4671: Will prevent juveniles under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice from being sent to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice due to failing rehabilitation treatment. It takes many people multiple attempts to get clean and address their sobriety issues. Finding a way to offer an alternative to jail for minors with solely drug offenses will help solve the underlying issue. Jail is not a forever solution and can just cause more strain on our systems while creating potential future offenders who could have turned their life around if given appropriate responses to treatment challenges
HB3659: Our Mandatory Supervised Release system is often a series of tripwires leading to reincarceration without much meaningful programming to assist with re-entry. To better focus the limited services available, this bill proposes removing mandatory supervised release as a condition of release for Class 4 felonies (the lowest level felony), allowing prioritization of services for higher need offenders.
* Center Square…
As Illinois law stands today, parents can be charged with neglect if they leave children under the age of 14 home alone – even for a short time. The law is rarely enforced.
State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, told The Center Square that people want the law changed.
“I have lots of constituents who have reached out to me about this,” Scherer said. “It’s causing a lot of hardship on our working families.”
She filed legislation in House Bill 4305 that will lower the home alone age in Illinois to 12.
A new bill is looking to raise the legal age to get married in Illinois.
Soon, people under the age of 18 may not be able to walk down the aisle in the Land of Lincoln.
Age 16 is currently the youngest age you can tie the knot in Illinois, but you have to have parental consent.
Lawmakers say this is dangerous because as long as a parent signs off, the son or daughter can’t object to that union.
The bill is HB4704.
…Adding… Rep. Barbara Hernandez is also working on a child marriage bill. HB4588.
* Press release…
State Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, today introduced HB4699, which will make it possible for a person who wants to relinquish a newborn baby to call 911 and ask for a first responder to take the infant to safety, with no questions asked.
The new bill would amend Illinois’ Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act, which allows an unharmed newborn, up to 30 days old, to be handed over to staff at a hospital, emergency medical care facility, police station, firehouse, college/university police station, or Illinois State Police district headquarters, without fear of prosecution.
“When a baby is born in desperate circumstances, we need to do everything we can to make it possible for a new mother to relinquish that infant safely, legally, and responsibly,” Costa Howard said. “Just a few weeks ago, an infant died of exposure after being left outside an unstaffed firehouse in Chicago. With this bill, we can prevent that kind of tragic loss by making it possible to call a first responder to come in and take the baby to safety.”
Under the bill, a 911 dispatcher could send a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical technician to respond to a call from a parent who is unable or unwilling to travel to a firehouse or other designated location to relinquish an infant.
“Since the Safe Haven law went into effect in 2001, 148 babies have been relinquished safely,” said Dawn Geras, one of the founders of the Chicago-based Save Abandoned Babies Foundation. “Sadly, there have been 90 illegal abandonments since then, and more than half of those infants died. We hope this new law will help to prevent any more needless infant deaths.”
Costa Howard said she hopes this bill will bring more public attention to the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. “We need to make sure that people know this law saves infants’ lives and also protects parents from potential criminal charges,” Costa Howard said. “Together, we can find safe new homes for these babies and bring new help to people in crisis.
* Press release…
State Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, introduced a bill earlier this month requiring Illinois schools to teach Native American curriculum beginning in the 2023 – 2024 school year. The bill aims to require the teaching of Native American curriculum in order to inspire students to respect the dignity of all races and peoples and to forever abandon discrimination.
“This legislation will ensure that our students learn about the Native American experience and contributions to the development of our country,” said West.
The legislation takes steps to guarantee that curriculum developed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will be informed by federally recognized Native American tribes and individuals, especially those with ties to Illinois and the Midwest. The curriculum developed by ISBE will be implemented by school districts and will be monitored by the regional superintendent of schools for compliance.
“This legislation is a first step towards ensuring we are teaching our children how to properly respect the heritage and culture of Native Americans,” West added.
House Bill 4548 was filed on January 13th and is currently awaiting assignment to a committee.