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Veterans with PTSD now eligible for service dogs under new law sponsored by Manar

manar vet servicedog 082517SPRINGFIELD – Illinois military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression will be eligible for service dogs through a special program under legislation sponsored by Senator Andy Manar that was signed into law Friday.

“Service dogs often can offer companionship, stress-relief and motivation to veterans with PTSD or depression that friends and family may not be able to provide,” Manar said. “I am pleased that these veterans now are on the list of people in Illinois who can take advantage of the Helping Paws Service Dog Program and lead more fulfilling lives.”

Mulroe extends statute of limitations for victims of child sex crimes

mulroe 082517SPRINGFIELD – Under a new law sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago), victims of certain child sex crimes will now have until they are 43-years-old to prosecute the transgression. Previously, victims of child sex crimes only had until they turned 19 to bring charges.

“It can take years for victims of child sex crimes to process what happened to them and decide if they want to press charges,” Mulroe said. “This new law gives victims 25 years from when they turn 18 to make that decision.”

Senate Bill 1842 applies to victims of involuntary servitude, involuntary sexual servitude of a minor and trafficking in persons.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 100 cases of human trafficking have been reported in Illinois in 2017.

New Hunter law streamlines criminal record sealing

hunter 082517SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to streamline the sealing of criminal records, a new law backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) will allow a defendant to immediately petition for the sealing of arrests or charges following an acquittal or dismissal of a case.

“This bill is a step in the right direction toward correcting unfair practices in our criminal justice system,” said Hunter. “Far too many people deal with the consequences of an unfair judicial system after being wrongfully convicted.”

House Bill 514 provides that following acquittal or dismissal, a defendant must be informed by the court of the petition procedure and his or her eligibility for immediate sealing of the records. A petition may then be brought by the defendant's attorney, and decisions concerning the immediate sealing of records may be made at the very same hearing.

In the event that the petition is not granted, the petitioner, State's Attorney or State Police may file a motion to vacate, modify, or reconsider the order of the petition to immediately seal the records within 60 days of service of the order denying the original petition.

House Bill 514, however, will not impede on a person's right to petition for sealing of these charges at a later date.

This legislation becomes effective immediately.

Holmes' ‘Beagle Freedom Bill’ signed into law

beagles 082517SPRINGFIELD — Legislation to improve the adoption process for research dogs and cats has been signed into law. State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, introduced the legislation, which would require public research institutions in Illinois to have an adoption policy in place for dogs and cats used in testing rather than euthanizing them immediately.

“Last General Assembly, the ‘Beagle Freedom Bill’ sparked an important debate around the humane treatment of scientific research animals,” Holmes said. “We went back to fix a few problems with the bill to bring it back this year. The new law reflects all of that work, ensuring that an animal is given a chance at a life outside of a laboratory without overregulating scientific research.”