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Sullivan: Senate approves Darnell Memorial Highway designation

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 09:22 AM

From left: Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards, Senator Sullivan and Illinois State Police Capt. Robert Elliot pose for a photo after testifying for the “Deputy George V. Darnell Memorial Highway” in March.SPRINGFIELD – George Darnell, a Warren County Sheriff's deputy, responded to a call of suspicious activity in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1981. He died in the line of duty after being shot and killed by two suspects.

The Illinois Senate voted Thursday to honor his memory and his sacrifice.

Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) sponsored a resolution dedicating a portion of U.S. Route 67 north of Monmouth in Darnell's memory. The mile-long stretch would be designated "Deputy George V. Darnell Memorial Highway" and the Illinois Department of Transportation would post signs.

"Today, the Illinois State Senate honored the memory, service and sacrifice of a dedicated public servant: Deputy George Darnell. Even though his sacrifice happened years ago, it does not diminish the impact and importance of his life," Sullivan said.

Darnell was an 11-year veteran of the Warren County Sheriff's Office and a veteran of World War II. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2301 and Immaculate Conception Church in Monmouth.

He was survived by his wife of 39 years, Eva Darnell, who passed away in 2012, and seven children. He was 61 years old when he was killed.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Edwards and State Police District 14 Commander Capt. Robert Elliot brought this case to Sullivan's attention. Both Edwards and Elliot testified before a Senate committee in support of this resolution in March.

The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 48, passed the Senate with bipartisan support by a 55-0 vote and now moves to the House for approval.

Koehler plan to prevent 911 dispatchers from tipping off criminals passes IL legislature

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 04:36 PM

040914cm0294SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler's plan to make it a crime for a police dispatcher to tip off a criminal that law enforcement is nearby passed the Illinois General Assembly.

In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it's not a crime for a 911 dispatcher to let a drug dealer – or other criminal – know that police are in the area. The court called the case "troubling" and the defendant's actions "unjustifiable," but found nothing in Illinois law making such behavior illegal.

"911 dispatchers are an important part of our criminal justice system," Koehler said. "They should be held to the same high standards as law enforcement officers and prosecutors."

In 1998, a police dispatcher tipped off a local drug dealer that law enforcement officials were in the area near his house in the Chicago suburbs. The Cook County State's Attorney charged her with official misconduct. The trial court found her guilty and sentenced her to two years of probation and 250 hours of community service.

However, the 911 dispatcher appealed the verdict. The appellate court ruled that nothing in Illinois law allowed her to be charged with official misconduct. The local police department had every right to fire her, but she hadn't broken any Illinois law. In 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed.

Koehler's proposal, Senate Bill 2695, would expand the definition the definition of official misconduct to make it a Class 3 felony for a dispatcher – or anyone in a similar position – to warn a criminal that law enforcement is nearby or on the way.

The crime of official misconduct already covers a wide variety of corrupt acts by public employees, including accepting bribes and misusing one's authority for personal gain. The penalty for a Class 3 felony is two to five years in prison.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Michael Unes (R-Pekin) in the House, now goes to the governor for his approval.

Stronger discipline for Illinois professionals

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:10 AM

041014 js 1207SPRINGFIELD – Professionals in Illinois who break the rules of their licenses could face steeper penalties. The Illinois Senate approved a plan giving regulators more flexibility when disciplining severe breaches of professional conduct.

Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) sponsored the plan following a court case where a doctor was only given a 6-month suspension after having sex with and giving alcohol and marijuana to a 20 year-old patient.

“This will lead to appropriate discipline for egregious actions. Professionals in Illinois are held to a high standard. If you break the rules and the public trust you should face the consequences,” Haine said.

In the court case, Kafin v. IDFPR, the court overturned an Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation attempt to strip the doctor’s license. The plan passed by the Senate strengthens the department’s ability to enforce its existing rules.

The department handles professional certification and licensing. It regulates jobs ranging from locksmiths to barbers and doctors to pawnshop managers.

The plan, Senate Bill 232, passed the Senate by a 57-0 vote on Thursday, and it now moves to the House for approval.

Jacobs provides statement on Exelon’s future

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 10:15 AM

Jacobs051514Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) reacted to a statement made today by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) concerning Exelon.

“The nuclear energy plants owned and operated by Exelon are vital economic engines for our state and community.  We need to fully understand the challenges they face in order to ensure their continued operation,” Jacobs said. “The Quad-Cities Region has the lowest unemployment in the state of Illinois, and keeping these jobs in the area is my priority.”

Speaker Madigan, labor organizations and Christopher Crane, CEO of Exelon have been working together concerning the fate of the energy company and their facilities across the state. Exelon has 11 reactors across Illinois that produce over 90 percent of the state’s carbon-free clean energy, making the state number one in the nation for clean energy production.

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