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Cunningham closes loophole in gun law to protect domestic violence victims

cunninghamSPRINGFIELD—Local law enforcement will work to keep guns out of the hands of people who have orders of protection against them thanks to a new Illinois law.

House Bill 6331, sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham, will require the state police to notify local police agencies to assist in seizing a Firearm Owners Identification Card when that person’s card has been revoked by a judge in an order of protection case. 

“If law enforcement is going to successfully protect victims of domestic violence, all police agencies must have the information they need to enforce court orders," Cunningham said. "As the law stands today, the state police must shoulder the entire burden on their own. That's not fair to the state police or to the victims of domestic violence."

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago. 

Cullerton legislation to keep retired police dogs with officers becomes law

tc police dogs signed 081316VILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton’s initiative to keep retired police dogs with their handlers was signed into law Saturday.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 3129, which creates the Police Dog Retirement Act.

“Our family dog Brenna is a part of our family. These police dogs become a member of the officer’s family,” Cullerton said. “The special connection formed between an officer and their dog should be honored. We should want to give retiring police dogs a loving home.”

Senate Bill 3129 requires a retiring police dog to be offered to the primary handler of the dog. If the officer doesn’t wish to keep the dog it can be offered to another officer or employee, a nonprofit organization or a no-kill animal shelter.

“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to protect the special bond formed between an officer and their police dog,” said Michele Kasten of the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners.

Cullerton believes this is not only a way to honor the service of Illinois police officers but also a cost-effective way to give police canines a safe and responsible home.

Senate Bill 3129 was signed into law Saturday.

Bennett plan to protect sexual assault victims’ rights signed into law

bennett cmteSPRINGFIELD- Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. Each year, there are approximately 293,000 victims of sexual assault.

To prevent this, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed a measure that was signed into law today that will improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases in Illinois.

“Our number one goal is to end cases of sexual abuse and assault,” Bennett said. “However, if an assault occurs, we must have clear and concise guidelines to give victims a comprehensive path to justice.”

Senate Bill 3096 is the result of the work done by the Joint Sexual Assault Working Group. The goal is to improve responses to sexual assault and abuse cases with victim-centered policies and practices demonstrated to minimize trauma and encourage victim participation in the criminal justice process.

Senate Bill 3096 does two things.

First, it outlines the information that must be included in a police officer’s report, as well as what information needs to be made available to victims.

The initiative also outlines procedures for collecting sexual assault kits from hospitals to ensure victims’ rights are protected.

“Sexual assault is a devastating crime that is rarely reported to law enforcement. Our Working Group spent more than a year taking a comprehensive look at why and how our criminal justice system can better respond, investigate and support survivors,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Illinois will now require police to undergo specialized training and follow specific protocols for incidents of sexual assault that should encourage more survivors to come forward and receive justice. These are significant changes to improve our response to sexual assault crimes.”

Senate Bill 3096 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and was signed this afternoon.

Two Silverstein measures to support young adults signed into law

silverstein 042116SPRINGFIELD– Two measures from Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D-Chicago) were signed into law by the governor on Friday: one to protect students from sexual assault on campus and another to waive GED fees for homeless young people.

Addressing rampant campus sexual assault takes stronger actions than what exist now. Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2839 amends the Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act. The change clarifies that sanctions for a student who violates the institution’s sexual violence policy may include suspension, expulsion, or removal of the student after complaint resolution procedures.

“Colleges and universities need to employ greater authority to get sex offenders away from campus,” Senator Silverstein said. “California passed a law like this last year and it makes sense for Illinois.”

Sen. Silverstein’s Senate Bill 2840 waives fees paid by homeless young people for the four test modules of the GED exams, a cost of $30 each and paid to regional superintendents. Applicants will complete a prep course through an Illinois Community College Board-approved provider and take the exam at a testing center operated by a regional superintendent of schools or the Cook County High School Equivalency Office.

“Not having a fixed address often means young people find it difficult to attend school, but if a young homeless person takes the initiative to advance their education, we need to remove this financial barrier,” Sen. Silverstein said. “I think foregoing the fees of $120 to $130 is a good investment in a homeless teen or his family to further his education and his future.”

Senate Bills 2839 and 2840 will take effect January 1, 2017.

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