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Senator Mulroe incentivizes jury duty participation

mulroe-jurydutySPRINGFIELD – State Senator John G. Mulroe passed a measure out the Senate yesterday that will incentivize jury duty participation in Illinois.

The legislation will decrease the number of jurors needed in civil jury cases and will increase the amount of money jurors receive for their participation in jury trials.

The proposal increases jury compensation amounts to $25 on the first day and $50 for each subsequent day. Currently, jury compensation ranges from $4 to $17 per day (in Chicago).

“People should not be financially penalized for performing their civic duty,” Senator Mulroe said. “Compensation of only $4 per day equates to about 50 cents an hour. People can’t afford to take time off from their job for 50 cents an hour.”

To offset the cost of the increased juror compensation, the proposal reduces the typical jury size from 12 to six people and removes the ability for either party to request a 12-person jury.

“Federal juries operate with 6 members and the jurors are paid $40 or more per day,” Mulroe said. “Thirty-eight other states allow for 6-member juries in civil cases. Illinois needs to encourage and motivate our citizens to participate in our judicial process, not dread it.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 3075, passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday. It now moves to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

Raoul, Nekritz secure passage of eavesdropping reforms

raoul-votrightsPledge to continue working on statewide rules for officer-worn cameras

 

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) and State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Buffalo Grove) secured passage today of a carefully crafted eavesdropping measure that respects reasonable expectations of privacy while allowing people to record conversations that are clearly public, including law enforcement encounters in public places. At the same time, the legislation’s chief sponsors pledged to continue working to allow the use of uniform-mounted cameras by police officers.

 

“Now that we’ve passed a sensible, constitutional eavesdropping law, we’re going to continue working toward a statewide protocol for the use of officer-worn cameras,” Nekritz said. “Many law enforcement agencies in Illinois have expressed significant interest in using body cameras to increase transparency and protect both officers and the public, but they’re waiting on the legislature to clarify when they can record, how long recordings can be preserved and other key questions.”

 

On March 20, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state’s existing eavesdropping law was overbroad, because it all parties to a conversation to consent to its recording – even when the conversation took place in public and could be easily overheard by bystanders.

 

Raoul’s and Nekritz’s rewrite of the eavesdropping law specifies that someone is only guilty of eavesdropping if he or she surreptitiously records or uses an eavesdropping device to listen in on a private conversation — defined as a conversation that at least one of its participants reasonably considers to be private. It also expands the circumstances under which law enforcement can record a conversation between an undercover officer and a suspect to include not only drug deals but investigations of suspected plots to commit other serious offenses, such as murder, sexual assault and gunrunning.

 

“Our previous law, which landed honest citizens in prison just for recording an encounter with a police officer on a public sidewalk, didn’t make sense; now, we’ve succeeded in passing legislation that draws a commonsense line between public and private conversations,” Raoul said. “At the same time, recent events have highlighted the benefits of officer-worn cameras for investigating allegations of police misconduct and addressing unacceptable inequities in law enforcement. We must act promptly to free departments to start using these valuable tools.”

 

Both the House and Senate have now approved the eavesdropping measure, Senate Bill 1342. Next, it will go to the governor to be signed into law.

 

Plan to make Election Day voter registration permanent passes General Assembly

120214CM0095RSPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers have passed a plan to make voting even easier in 2016. Modeled after a successful 2014 pilot program, it allows same day registration on Election Day and extended early voting.

“Making it easier to vote encourages people to participate in our democracy,” said State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), the measure’s sponsor. “I believe we should do everything we can to make voting easier. The more people who vote and participate in government, the better.”

Under Harmon’s plan, people will be able to register and vote on Election Day. In Illinois’ larger counties (with populations over 100,000), voters will be able to register at their local precincts. In smaller counties that lack the resources to handle in-precinct registration, same day registration will be available in the county clerk’s main office and certain large towns.

Delgado applauds grant for Driven and Empowered Youth Inc.

Delgado120314State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) congratulated Driven and Empowered Youth Inc. (DEY) Tuesday afternoon upon being selected to receive a state grant by the Illinois State Board of Education.  

“It’s important that we provide additional education and mentoring outlets to those kids that need it,” Delgado said. “These grants will ensure that our students and their families will have the resources they need to achieve in every aspect of life.”

In addition to the multiple programs they offer for students, DEY also provides services to parents as well.

 "Since its inception in 2008, DEY has provided over 2,500 high school students a safe-haven after school. The educational based programs are designed to empower students and families,” Kelly Cirino, Executive Director of DEY, said.  “Through the 21st CCLC funding, DEY would continue to provide high schools with academic, S.T.E.A.M. and mentoring programs during the critical hours of 3p.m.-6p.m., Monday-Thursday.”

Currently, DEY maintains a presence in six Chicago public high schools, including Amundsen, Kelvyn Park, Foreman, Mather, Senn and Steinmetz.

As the Chairperson of the Education committee, Senator Delgado has worked to ensure that students in Illinois have access to quality educational programs both inside and outside of school.

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