peters 051921SPRINGFIELD – At a Tuesday hearing, the Senate Criminal Law Committee approved a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that would limit the ability of law enforcement agencies to intimidate Illinois residents.

House Bill 1765 would prohibit law enforcement from conducting a background check on an individual solely because of their participation at an open, public meeting.

“Law enforcement shouldn’t be running background checks simply because someone is trying to participate in a public meeting,” Peters said. “This can be seen as a form of intimidation, especially when used for police board meetings. At a public hearing, any member of the public should be able to participate without having to fear repercussions.”

The prohibition could be lifted for the purpose of ensuring event safety, as well as in cases where the individual in question is under consideration for an appointment to a government body.

“Public safety belongs to the people, and law enforcement shouldn’t be able to scare people away from participating in public meetings,” Peters said.

The measure passed committee with bipartisan support. Its next stop is the full Senate for further consideration.