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Munoz law helps locate missing persons sooner

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 12:28 PM

munoz 032819SPRINGFIELD – To help with locating missing persons, Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) sponsored a proposal that strengthens the relationship between local law enforcement and the National Missing and Unidentified Persons Systems.

“Finding a missing person requires law enforcement to move fast and cover as much ground as possible and this tool helps them do just that,” Munoz said. “By utilizing the national system we will have a better chance of finding missing persons sooner.”

House Bill 2708 adds NamUS to the list of laboratories law enforcement agencies can coordinate with under the Missing Persons Identification Act. NamUS is a national information clearing house and resource center for missing, unidentified and unclaimed person cases across the country.

Missing people’s information would need to be submitted to NamUS within 45 days. In high-risk missing person cases, law enforcement would be required to submit a packet of all relevant DNA samples to NamUS within 30 days.

Under the new law, law enforcement agencies are allowed to attempt to collect and create a reference DNA sample from family members of the missing person, and collect a DNA sample of the missing person. All DNA samples collected in missing person cases from family members of the missing persons cannot be retained once the person has been located or identified.

The measure was signed into law on Friday and is now under effect.

Bipartisan Bennett bill protecting residents in care facilities signed into law

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 12:03 PM

camera 081219SPRINGFIELD – Residents living in state-operated assisted living facilities would be allowed to install cameras in their rooms to monitor and deter possible abuse under a new law sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett.

Bennett (D-Champaign) partnered with his uncle, State Rep. Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City), to make Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) facilities safer for residents and to reassure their loved ones.

“The core of this bill is to protect some of the most vulnerable residents in our state,” Bennett said. “This new law provides residents in care facilities control by allowing them to monitor their personal space and gives family members comfort knowing that they or their loved are safe and protected.” 

Under House Bill 344, a resident living in a CILA facility, a supervised home environment in which eight or fewer people with mental illness or developmental disabilities live together, would be allowed to electronically monitor their own room provided that their consent and notice has been given to the facility on prescribed forms.

“This is a bipartisan bill that gives elderly and vulnerable Illinoisans the consumer protections they deserve and brings Illinois in line with the rest of the nation in licensing our assisted living facilities,” Bennett said. “Caring for our seniors and most vulnerable must be a priority.”

The new law also includes a provision under which a resident must also obtain the consent of any and all roommates and bear all costs of purchase, installation, maintenance, and removal. The facility will be required to post signs at the entrance of the building and at the entrance of the resident’s room stating that the room is electronically monitored.  

The governor signed House Bill 344 into law last week. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Lightford law helps abused children report their abusers

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 11:58 AM

lightford 022019SPRINGFIELD – Children taken into protective custody under suspicion of abuse could soon take part in a forensic interview without parental consent as a result of legislation by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood).

House Bill 909, signed by the governor today, addresses issues in cases where an abused minor’s parents do not wish for the child to participate in a criminal investigation that may implicate a family member or close friend.

“No one should feel obligated to protect their abuser when participating in a criminal investigation,” Lightford said. “Unfortunately, our children are often put in a position where they do not feel empowered to report their abuser and we’re hoping to bring that to an end.”

A forensic interview is an interview between a trained forensic interviewer and a child in which the interviewer obtains information in an unbiased and fact-finding manner, with the goal of supporting accurate and fair decision-making by caseworkers in the criminal justice and child protection systems.

The measure goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

Van Pelt law expands college opportunities for veterans

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 11:35 AM

vanpelt 022119SPRINGFIELD – More Illinois veterans will have access to education thanks to a measure from State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) that was signed into law.

“It’s important that we honor our promises to those who have sacrificed their lives for ours,” Van Pelt said. “Providing access to education to our veterans is a top priority, and I’m pleased that Gov. Pritzker agrees.”

Senate Bill 1467 expands eligibility for the Illinois Veterans Grant and the MIA/POW Scholarship to veterans who have been residents of Illinois for 15 consecutive years.

“When a constituent came to me and told me about the loophole in state law that excluded them from the scholarship, I decided to take action,” Van Pelt said. “By expanding the time frame for eligibility, we’re signaling to veterans that we appreciate and value both their past service and their future endeavors.”

The Illinois Veterans’ Grant Program pays tuition and certain fees at all Illinois state-supported colleges, universities and community colleges for eligible Illinois veterans.

The MIA/POW Scholarship is an education scholarship for the dependents of veterans who are either missing in action, a prisoner of war, died while on active duty, 100-percent disabled due to service-connected disabilities or died as a result of a service connected disabilities.

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