In August, the governor signed into law several Democratic Senators’ initiatives to protect Illinois children, enhance the quality of life and protect public safety.
The following were among those signed into law.
- Strengthen current sex offender laws: Senators Kimberly Lightford and John Mulroe joined Senator Sullivan in sponsoring key legislation strengthening current sex offender laws. House Bill 5330 makes it more difficult for a sexually violent person to be released from a prison or mental institution. It also increases the mandatory amount of time a sexually violent person must serve in an institution prior to being eligible for parole. In additional, House Bill 5280 adds intentionally luring a child to the list of crimes that will land someone on the sex offender registry.
- Caylee’s Law: “Caylee’s Law,” was sponsored by Democratic Senator Ira Silverstein, along with Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins, Mattie Hunter and Iris Martinez, in response to the recent death of Caylee Anthony. Caylee was last seen on June 15, 2008, but her mother, Casey, waited a month before alerting the authorities to Caylee’s disappearance. “Caylee’s Law” makes it a felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report the disappearance of a child within 24 hours of the child going missing and also makes it a crime to fail to report the death of a child.
- Adopt-A-Park Program: Democratic Senator Iris Martinez, along with Senators Gary Forby, Michael Frerichs, Mattie Hunter, Ed Maloney and Tony Munoz co-sponsored legislation creating the Adopt-A-Park program for state parks. The program allows volunteers to aid in the maintenance of understaffed parks by removing litter and offering services such as mowing, trail maintenance or repair projects. This program will help keep Illinois’ state parks safe, clean and family-friendly.
- The Toxin Free Toddler Act: The Toxin Free Toddler Act, sponsored by Senator Ira Silverstein, prohibits manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers from selling any children’s food or beverage containers that contain bisphenol A (BPA). The law was drafted in response to medical studies that have linked BPA to diabetes, heart disease and the impaired function of the brain, uterus and prostate. Early exposure to the chemical can seriously harm young children.
- Volunteer Emergency Responder Appreciation Day: Senator William Haine sponsored a new law designating Volunteer Emergency Responder Appreciation Day as the third Thursday in May. The commemorative day will be dedicated to the remembrance of fallen volunteer emergency responders, like volunteer firefighters, and to honor those who are currently or have formerly volunteered as emergency responders. The legislation also creates volunteer emergency responder license plates, the proceeds of which will be used to help purchase equipment for volunteer emergency crews, as well as to hold an annual appreciation, memorial and commemoration ceremony and to fund scholarships for children and spouses of volunteer emergency responders killed in the line of duty. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect us and our children every day.
- Increase requirements to obtain a FOID card: Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, as well as her Democratic colleagues Senators Dan Kotowski, Iris Martinez and Donne Trotter sponsored legislation that helps ensure perpetrators of domestic violence, the mentally ill and individuals with active restraining orders are not able to legally possess or obtain a firearm. The bill also adds several protections for lawful firearm owners such as reducing the penalty for a person whose FOID Card has expired for less than 6 months and allowing new residents 60 days from the date they receive an Illinois driver’s license or ID card to obtain a valid FOID Card. The legislation also creates a religious exception to the FOID card photograph requirement, which addresses longtime concerns of the Amish community. Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and the mentally ill is one more step toward keeping our children safe.