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Hunter creates Grand Jury Review Task Force

Hunter creates Grand Jury Review Task ForceSPRINGFIELD – In 2011, wrongful convictions cost Illinois taxpayers $214 million and the falsely accused a combined 926 years in prison. The Illinois Senate approved a good government measure to create transparency in the grand jury process.

“Wrongful convictions erode the public’s trust in our criminal justice system. Transparency is the only way to restore faith in this process,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter, the plan’s sponsor.

Hunter created the Grand Jury Review Task Force to reduce undeserved years in prison and lost tax dollars in response to growing concerns about the criminal justice system. Events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City fueled demands for reform in urban communities.

Bertino-Tarrant cuts red tape for small businesses

Bertino-Tarrant cuts red tape for small businessesSPRINGFIELD - Small businesses often face too much red tape when dealing with the state.

With HB 3887, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) hopes to make that process as efficient as possible and help improve the state’s business climate.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The state needs to make it easier for them to create jobs and improve the economy.”

Tom Cullerton reunites dogs and cats with owners

tc-catsdogsSPRINGFIELD - Willow the cat disappeared from her home. Jamie and Chris Squires thought they would never see her again. Little did they know that five years later, thanks to a microchip they installed, she would be found about 1,800 miles away.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is working to ensure dog and cat owners are reunited with faster by passing House Bill 4029.

This initiative requires animal shelters to scan a dog or cat within 24 hours of being taken into a shelter.

“My dog Brenna is like a member of my family. If something happened to her, like most pet owners we would want to find her as soon as possible,” said Cullerton. “This legislation puts protections in place for cat or dog owners to find lost animals quickly and efficiently.”

Currently, under the Animal Control Act, public animal shelters are not required to scan for microchips. Dogs and cats can be adopted and euthanized from shelters without scanning for a microchip first.

“This is common-sense legislation that will save the lives of dogs and cats as well as save shelters money by only having to take care of pets who don’t have owners,” said Cullerton.
HB 4029 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

Link’s measure to enhance supervision of elderly residing at nursing homes is approved

link-avsurveilSPRINGFIELD - State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) passed legislation that will allow the installation of audio/video monitoring devices to enhance supervision of the elderly living in nursing homes. House Bill 2462 was approved and now was sent to the Governor to be signed.

“We should be confident that our loved ones receive the care they need and are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Link, who sponsored the bill in the Senate.

This legislation is in response to multiple complaints the Illinois Department of Public Health has received about abuse, neglect or theft against residents of nursing homes.

“Acknowledging the great work that nursing homes’ hard-working staffers do, these monitoring devices will be a deterrent for misbehavior, given that their recordings may be considered evidence in administrative, civil and criminal proceedings,” Link said.

HB 2462 will impose severe penalties to those who intentionally interfere or destroy a monitoring device and prohibits any retaliation for the use of the devices. The legislation requires the consent of the resident and roommate(s) in order to install a surveillance camera/mic.

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