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The Majority Report 08/20/18 - New laws crack down on texting and driving, synthetic marijuana


Heads up: Texting and driving penalties to increase

Texting while drivingIllinois’ roads will be safer thanks to a new law pushed by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

Castro’s House Bill 4846 was signed into last week and takes effect July 1, 2019. It makes the first time a person uses a cell phone while driving a moving offense. Previously, the first offense was classified as a warning.

“This new measure will help save lives,” Castro said. “Sending one quick text while driving is dangerous. We have to work together to get the message across that texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.”

Read more about the new law here.




Morrison seeks solutions to failing DCFS system

Sen. Julie MorrisonState Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) convened the Senate Human Services Committee last week to seek solutions to the continuing problem of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) youth being held longer than medically necessary in psychiatric hospitals across the state.

“Abused or neglected children with mental health conditions should receive the care they need and transition to an outpatient or residential setting as soon as possible,” Morrison said. “Languishing in a psychiatric hospital can cause affirmative harm for a child. The state must do a much better job caring for these vulnerable children.”

Last August, Morrison passed a law requiring the DCFS to prepare and submit annual reports to the General Assembly regarding youth in care waiting for placements. The first report is due this December.

Read more about last week's committee hearing here.



Munoz law keeps guns out of the hands of individuals unfit to possess them

Sen. Tony MunozAssistant Majority Leader Antonio “Tony” Munoz’s (D-Chicago) legislation giving the Illinois State Police tools to better evaluate Firearm Owners Identification Card applications was signed into law last week.

“This measure provides the State Police the proper information for them to make the right decisions when it comes to administering FOID cards,” Munoz said. “It closes a loophole that was potentially putting guns in the hands of individuals who are unfit to possess them.”

Currently, individuals who have been a patient of a mental health facility within the past five years are ineligible to receive a FOID card. House Bill 4855 expands the definition of patient to include those who are placed in a mental health facility against their will, but ultimately not court ordered.

Read more about the new law here.



Collins' broader K2 ban becomes law


In the wake of a wave of deaths related to synthetic cannabis overdoses, a new law by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) will broaden the classification of such drugs, which often skirt the law through minute tweaks to their formulae.

“New restrictions on drugs always come with heavy implications, and this broadening of the ban on synthetic cannabinoids came about following careful deliberations,” Collins said. “Many synthetic cannabinoids are already illegal, but by broadening the criteria, we ensure that they can’t be made legal by small and potentially deadly changes to their chemical formulae. I’m glad we acted swiftly to fight this deadly drug.”

The measure, Senate Bill 2341, adds all synthetic cannabinoids to the Controlled Substances Act and makes synthetics subject to emergency controlled substance scheduling. Manufacturers will be subject to a Class 3 felony charge, while those charged with simple possession would face a Class 4 felony.

Read more about the new law here.


In case you missed it


Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Aquifer update: New legal measures part of ‘ongoing process' | News-Gazette

Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Ivory trading banned in Illinois | The Week

Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: Hanna city works camp site approved for development | Chronicle Illinois

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: New law aims to improve medical care for sexual assault survivors | Chicago Tonight WTTW


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