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It’s just a bill

Thursday, Mar 23, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ACLU of Illinois…

Thank you for asking about the ACLU of Illinois’ position on HB2123, which creates civil liability for “digital forgeries” (deepfakes). While we acknowledge the real harm that is caused by deepfakes, particularly those of a sexual nature, this bill language creates a sweeping new cause of action against a relatively new form of communication that will have the real impact of chilling or silencing vast amounts of protected speech.

House Floor Amendment 1 does make improvements to the original bill language, but does not address the core of our concerns. With the exception of sexually explicit deepfakes, which cause a unique harm, these cases can and should be brought under existing tort law, including defamation and false light. Existing tort laws include decades of precedent and First Amendment protections for political speech, parody, and artistic expression that a new civil remedy fails to provide. Political speech, in particular, is considered highly protected speech and would be actionable under this legislation. This should be a concern to all of us.

Lastly, the remedies, which include temporary restraining orders and immediate takedown of speech prior to a final verdict, are, as drafted, an unconstitutional prior restraint (judicial suppression of material without first determining if it is unlawful). The First Amendment severely limits the ability of the government to do this.

We have been in conversations with the sponsors and proponents and have suggested alternative language options, including to specifically address the unique harms caused by deepfakes of a sexual nature. We hope that we can continue those conversations to address harmful deepfakes within the boundaries of the First Amendment.

Newly adopted House Amendment 3, we’re told, does not change the organization’s position.

* Sen. Robert Peters…

“Individuals sentenced to probation should be afforded the same liberties as ordinary citizens, as long as the liberties are unrelated to the circumstances that landed them on probation,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Alleviating restrictions on cannabis drug use under supervision for those on probation is a positive step toward true reform.”

Currently, a court can order a person on probation to refrain from using drugs, including substances such as alcohol and cannabis that are legal in Illinois.

Senate Bill 1886 stipulates a court cannot order that a person on probation, conditional discharge, or supervision refrain from having cannabis or alcohol in his or her body unless the presence of an intoxicating compound is an element of the offense charged or the person is participating in a Problem-Solving Court.
“By definition, probation means a person is released for good behavior under supervision,” said Peters. “A person who has demonstrated good behavior shouldn’t be punished for engaging in legal activities.”

Senate Bill 1886 passed the Senate Executive Committee and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

* SB2260, also from Sen. Peters, is heading to the Senate Floor

With the intention to expand upon domestic violence laws, State Senator Robert Peters passed a measure through committee on Wednesday to protect victims of gender-based violence.

“Current domestic violence laws unfortunately have loopholes that can cause incarcerated survivors to get their resentencing request dismissed,” said Peters (D-Chicago). “Expanding upon current domestic violence laws and including protections for victims of gender-based violence helps survivors during their fight for freedom.”

Under current law, relief from judgement following a domestic violence incident is applied when the survivor’s offense was related to having previously having been a victim of domestic violence.

Senate Bill 2260 expands the relief from judgment process for resentencing to include certain offenses committed by a victim of gender-based violence who was unable to present evidence of gender-based violence at trial.

“Supporting survivors of gender-based violence advances true social justice,” said Peters. “Incarcerated survivors should be given a clear path to request resentencing.”

Senate Bill 2260 passed the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.

* Bills passed by Gen Z legislators

Two of the youngest members in state legislature history had their first bills pass in the Illinois House this week.

Reps. Brad Fritts and Nabeela Syd, both 23 years old, had bills move to the Senate. House Bill 2963 from Fritts, R-Dixon, passed unanimously on Tuesday and pertains to his hometown’s park district authority to install and operate solar panels at its facilities.

Syed, D-Palatine, received bipartisan support for House Bill 3643 on Wednesday. The bill establishes that students 17 years or older will have their individualized education program plans tailored to promote voter registration. IEP plans are for students ages 3 to 21 who have been diagnosed with disabilities or developmental delays, according to the state board of education.

Some House Republicans expressed concern about involving educators in voter registration. The majority, including Coffey, did support the bill.

* Sen. Tom Bennett advances his bill to remove roadblocks for teachers…

The Illinois Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to advance legislation from State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) that would remove one of the biggest issues stopping prospective teachers from making it to the classroom. His legislation would suspend the current edTPA requirement, a much-criticized evaluation program that has regularly been cited as a major factor in the worsening teacher shortage. […]

Under current law, prospective teachers are required to pass the edTPA requirement to complete their education program. The edTPA standard has been criticized for being difficult, inaccurate in predicting future performance, expensive for education students, and for taking too much time away from in-classroom training. The requirement has also been blamed for keeping diverse teachers out of classrooms.

Senate Bill 1488, filed by Bennett, would waive the edTPA requirement through August 31, 2025. The legislation would also create the Teacher Performance Assessment Task Force, which would be tasked with developing a new evaluation system for teaching students. The task force would be required to present its findings no later than August 1, 2024.

* Rep. Manley…

* This bill is in the Rules Committee. Press release…

KIDS TOO, commonly known as the Me Too movement for kids, announced today that they are joining forces with other child advocacy organizations to demand that Illinois Legislators pass HB 3290. This legislation, sponsored by Representatives Katie Stuart, Jehan Gordon-Booth, Amy Elik and Michelle Mussman, is designed to criminalize educators who commit a sexual act toward students ages 18-22 attending classes at a public or nonpublic secondary school.

Educator sexual abuse is pervasive in schools across America, with 1 in 10 children experiencing sexual misconduct by a school official before graduating from high school, according to the US Department of Education. Illinois made news headlines in 2018 regarding its largest school district, Chicago Public Schools, when the high volume of sexual abuse cases and misconduct by educators in CPS was revealed.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was created to serve as an independent oversight body for Chicago’s public, contract and charter schools. Among other focus areas, OIG investigates allegations of sexual misconduct, releasing annual reports with insights on allegations, handling of cases and outcomes. In addition, Faith’s Law legislation and its trailer bill, signed by Illinois Governor Pritzker in 2021, ensures training for educators about grooming tactics and allows school districts to request and receive more in-depth educator employment histories.

In Faith’s Law, however, one loophole for predatory educators did not get closed and still remains: Current Illinois law allows sex between teachers and students older than 17. HB 3290 seeks to close this loophole; last week, however, HB 3290 was assigned to the Rules and Regulations Committee, often known in lawmaking circles as the place where bills are sent to never see the light of day.

* Rep. Canty…

Members of law enforcement, firefighters, and correctional officers who sustain a catastrophic injury in the line of duty will be able to select any health insurance plan provided by their employer under a bill passed by state Rep. Mary Beth Canty, D-Arlington Heights.

“Our first responders put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep our communities and our families safe. When the worst happens, we are morally obligated to support these heroes to the greatest possible extent,” Canty said. “This bill helps first responders who’ve suffered catastrophic or fatal injuries in the line of duty pay for the health care and treatment they need.”

Currently, under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act, local governments are only required to pay premiums for “basic” health insurance plans, even if it is not the most favorable plan for the injured, and even if the injured was on a different, more expensive plan at the time of injury. House Bill 3249 would require public employers to offer employees eligible for health insurance benefits under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act who face a catastrophic injury the choice of any health insurance plan available to currently-employed full-time law enforcement, correctional or correctional probation officers, or firefighters.

“This bill is a common sense solution that treats our first responders with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Canty said. “I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this essential legislation, and I urge the Senate to pass this bill and support first responders across Illinois.”

House Bill 3249 passed the House with no opposition, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.


  1. - Teacher Lady - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 1:21 pm:

    ==Some House Republicans expressed concern about involving educators in voter registration. ==
    Teachers are already involved in voter registration.
    Those who teach the government classes, which are required for HS graduation, have been registering their eligible students to vote for years.

  2. - Suburban Mom - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 2:18 pm:

    ===Some House Republicans expressed concern about involving educators in voter registration. The majority, including Coffey, did support the bill. ===

    And once again the Illinois GOP shows that it does not consider my disabled child to be a full human being with the right to vote. How many times is the Illinois GOP going to attack disabled children? I’m really sick of it.

  3. - historic66 - Thursday, Mar 23, 23 @ 5:02 pm:

    I’d be curious to know the specific concerns the house GOP members have with involving teachers in voter registration. I have a pretty good guess, but, as a high school teacher, I’m curious to see exactly what they’re fearful of.

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