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

Published: Friday, August 12, 2016 03:55 PM

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

Published: Tuesday, August 09, 2016 11:00 AM

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.

Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in Illinois

Published: Monday, August 08, 2016 04:25 PM

Political rights for 17-year-olds expanded in IllinoisSPRINGFIELD - Seventeen-year-olds soon will be receiving more rights when it comes to getting involved in the political process.

House Bill 6167, which was sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), was signed into law today. The new law would allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary of a consolidated election if they would be 18 by the time of the consolidated election. Consolidated elections are held primarily for local offices, like school boards, city councils and village boards.

“We should be opening up access to the voting booth for those who will be 18 to have a full say in who represents them at every level of government,” Link said.

Martinez: Governor’s veto of student trustee bill takes away opportunities from students

Published: Monday, August 08, 2016 11:49 AM

Martinez: Governor’s veto of student trustee bill takes away opportunities from studentsSPRINGFIELD — When Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) learned that an undocumented University of Illinois student was prevented from running for the position of student trustee because he was unable to show that he was a registered voter in Illinois, she filed legislation to fix the problem.

That proposal passed out of the Illinois Senate and House, but it was vetoed by the governor today.

“I am disappointed by the governor’s veto,” Martinez said. “College is about helping students grow inside and outside of the classroom, and it should not be difficult for a student to be allowed to run for a leadership position at their university. The governor had a chance to open up opportunities to students, but he unfortunately chose not to do so.”

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