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New privacy protections against unwarranted drone use become law

030514 js 0078SPRINGFIELD — Legislation proposed by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) to put additional limits on the use of drones by law enforcement became law today. The measure expands on the privacy protections of the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, which Biss sponsored last year.

"It's important we continue to develop and refine our regulations on these types of technologies as they advance," Biss said. "This new law expands on our approach of balancing the basic right to privacy with the potential to use technological advances to improve public safety."

Last year's drone law, which was one of the first of its kind, prohibits police from using an unmanned aerial vehicle without a search warrant except in certain clearly defined emergency situations. The new law, which was introduced as Senate Bill 2937, clarifies that in the absence of a warrant, individuals and businesses cannot be obligated to give information collected by privately owned drones over to the authorities. Drones are best known for their military capabilities, but law enforcement agencies, corporations and private individuals have begun purchasing smaller, unarmed versions for a variety of purposes.

The law signed today allows law enforcement to acquire information from a privately owned drone without a warrant if necessary to prevent a terrorist attack, imminent harm to a person or the escape of a suspect; to collect images of a crime scene or traffic accident scene or to locate a missing person. It also states that law enforcement agencies may use their own drones to survey damage and help coordinate relief efforts in a natural disaster or public health emergency.

Silverstein's cyberbullying prevention becomes law

laptop-keyboardCHICAGO – Schools officials will soon gain the ability to discipline students who use non-school computers to bully their classmates under a newly signed law that was sponsored by State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago).

“A safe, supportive environment is vital for students’ learning and growth. This law gives educators more tools to discipline and prevent out-of-school cyberbullying when it hurts others’ ability to learn at school,” Silverstein said.

Silverstein’s proposal, House Bill 4207, prohibits out-of-school cyberbullying or bullying using a non school-owned electronic device. Schools would be able to discipline the bullies if the bullying causes a substantial disruption to the educational process or orderly operation of a school.

School districts are required to have a process to determine if the bullying is within their jurisdiction and inform bullied students about anti-bullying services.

The new law, signed Friday by the governor, takes effect Jan. 1.

Forby makes outdoors affordable for seniors with reduced license fees

senior-fishingOn Friday afternoon at Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County, a new law was signed decreasing hunting and fishing license fees for Illinois seniors 75 and older.

The new law sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby cuts fees for hunting and fishing licensure down to $1 or, in some cases, completely eliminates them.

“After a lifetime of buying licenses and stamps, we are making it easier for seniors to afford hunting and fishing. Every senior should be able to enjoy the outdoors even if they’re on a fixed income,” Forby said.

Stadelman's HoopStars heads for downtown Rockford

Senator expands free 3-on-3 youth basketball tourney outdoors

hoopstarsROCKFORD – Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman is taking his free 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament outdoors and moving the competition to Labor Day in hopes of beginning its transformation to a large, Gus Macker-style event.

Boys and girls in third through eighth grades will compete on courts at Davis Park, with the first games tipping off immediately after the Labor Day parade, Stadelman announced at a news conference today. The outdoor location and switch from Saturday of Labor Day weekend to the Monday holiday allows Senator Stadelman's HoopStars to grow in its second year; more than 125 players took part in 2013 on indoor courts at Patriot's Gateway Center.

"We're taking HoopStars to the streets in 2014 – not literally, but in the spirit of Gus Macker," said Stadelman, referring to the popular adult 3-on-3 tournament that took place in the streets of downtown Rockford for many years.

"The tournament's goal," he said, "remains the same -- to provide a positive, no-cost activity for our youth, particularly those from low-income families and inner-city neighborhoods. Senator Stadelman's HoopStars is about the love of the game and kids having a ball."

Stadelman said the downtown expansion is made possible by new partnerships with the Rockford Park District and Rockford United Labor, which organizes an annual picnic for union members at Davis Park following the Labor Day parade. Families attending the basketball tournament can enjoy live music and kids' rides at no charge as guests of the labor group. ComEd and Comcast are returning as financial sponsors, and both will operate interactive educational booths during the tournament.

All players will receive free commemorative T-shirts; trophies or medals also will be awarded. Teams of four can register online at: 1) www.senatorstadelmanhoopstars.eventbrite.com; 2) Stadelman's office in the Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301, Rockford; or 3) participating community centers.

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