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The Majority Report 04/29/18 - Tobacco 21, bump stock ban pass Senate

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Senate approves Morrison’s Tobacco 21 initiative

Sen. Julie MorrisonState Senator Julie Morrison’s proposal to raise the legal age to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products in Illinois was approved by the Senate last week.

The measure would make Illinois the sixth state to raise the smoking age to 21.

“We know that adults rarely pick up a cigarette for the first time, making it so important to reduce access to tobacco for teenagers,” said Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat.

“The more we can limit the availability of tobacco for teens, the lower the chance they have of developing a lifetime addiction that disproportionally affects the adolescent brain and costs state government billions of dollars annually.”

More than 300 towns across the country have raised the smoking age, including 24 Illinois municipalities, such as Chicago, Highland Park, Buffalo Grove, Evanston and Peoria.

“In addition to dramatically increasing public health protections, over time this proposed legislation would save millions of dollars in health care costs in the state of Illinois,” said Kathy Drea, vice president of advocacy for the Senate Bill 2332.

“We strongly encourage the Illinois House of Representatives to follow suit and support this legislation, which is proven to protect the most vulnerable members of our population, our children.”

 


Senate Democrats make progress on gun safety initiatives

Sen. Kwame RaoulThe Senate approved a measure making bump stocks and trigger cranks illegal in Illinois, and a plan to add state licensing of gun dealers was reintroduced.

State Senator Kwame Raoul’s legislation outlawing bump stocks and trigger cranks drew bipartisan support in the Senate, as support grows nationally for stricter gun laws. The measure still needs approval by the House.

“There are a lot of passionate voices on this issue, but one thing I hope we are all passionate about as lawmakers is keeping the people of Illinois safe,” said Raoul, a Chicago Democrat. “This is a simple step, but one that has the potential to save lives.”

State Senator Don Harmon’s proposal to license gun dealers by the state gained new life when he reintroduced the measure as an amendment on an existing bill last week. The move came after he decided not to call a vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

Harmon said that although he was confident there were enough votes in the Senate for an override, the prospects in the House were less clear.

“While making this decision, I frequently reminded myself that victory is not overriding Gov. Rauner’s veto or winning any other political battle in the Capitol. Victory means protecting the people we represent from the senseless violence fueled by the ready availability of guns in our communities,” he said.

“…I am reintroducing the substance of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act as an amendment to an existing bill, Senate Bill 337, and I will begin work immediately on gathering support for the measure. Licensing gun dealers at the state level is a sensible step to reduce gun violence, and I will not give up.”

 


Lightford works to implement school resource officer training

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. LightfordAs the national call for more school resource officers grows, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford is working to ensure Illinois provides proper training for the all-in-one law enforcement, counselor and community liaison position.

The Senate approved Senate Bill 2925, which requires the Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to develop or approve a certified training program for school resource officers by Jan. 1, 2020.

“We want all school resource officers to have the proper training to be a supplement to our children’s education,” said Lightford, a Maywood Democrat. “They have tough jobs, and the only way to make them easier is setting training standards that prepare these officers for the situations they may face in a school.”

The legislation also allows law enforcement agencies to request a waiver of the training for any officers who may already be qualified as an SRO.

Read more.

 


Senate advances protections for immigrants who assist police

Senate President John J. CullertonImmigrants who are crime victims and who help police would be guaranteed that their immigration paperwork would be processed under a proposed law the Illinois Senate supported Thursday.

The goal is to encourage crime victims to come forward and work with police without fear of jeopardizing their immigration status. In return, police would be required to process immigration visa paperwork for these victims who assist with investigations.

Senate President John Cullerton sponsored the proposal. He noted that criminals don’t discriminate by immigration status.

“If undocumented immigrants report crimes and help police catch criminals, it will make our communities safer for everyone,” Cullerton said. “We all need to work together. This proposal is an effort to recognize and encourage that.”

Currently, there is no requirement that police assist with immigration paperwork, nor is there any deadline for completing the paperwork. As such, undocumented immigrants tend to not report crime for fear of being detained or deported.

Cullerton’s proposal attempts to change that by requiring police help immigrants who help police, and it puts in place a 90-business day deadline.

The proposal is Senate Bill 34, known as the VOICES Act. It follows last year’s TRUST Act, which spelled out that police in Illinois should not be doing the work of federal immigration agents.

Read more.

 


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