• Moms Demand Action descends on the Capitol

    morrison 052219Gun safety advocates from across the state descended on the Lincoln Statue today to call for the passage of the Fix the FOID Act, a proposal sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that would strengthen the Firearm Owners Identification system to ensure individuals with violent histories are not able to possess guns.

    “This policy change will create a safer environment for us all,” Morrison said at the rally. “I fail to believe that we are powerless to act to reduce mass shooting incidents that continue to take far too many lives.”


  • Sims plan to protect right to public defender at bail hearings passes the Senate

    bail 042419CHICAGO—A plan that would protect Illinoisans’ right to a public defender passed the Senate recently.

    State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) sponsors the proposal, which creates the Public Defender Bail Reform Grant Program. The aim is to assist counties in following the current law, which requires counsel to be present at bail hearings.

    “We cannot continue to deny Illinoisans their right to an attorney,” Sims said. “Bail hearings are a crucial part of the justice process, and everyone deserves an attorney at every step.”

    Currently, many counties do not provide public defenders for bail hearings. Some small counties do not even hire a full time public defender.

    There have been instances in these smaller counties where a defendant is not given a bail hearing. Instead a county sheriff calls the judge and tells them the name of the individual and their charges, and the judge will communicate the bail amount over the phone to the sheriff.

    “In many cases, the handling of bail hearings in Illinois have been completely unjust and unacceptable,” Sims said. “The livelihood of these people, who have not been convicted of a crime, is affected by the bail amount. These defendants have the right to have legal representation to ensure that the bail fits the crime.”

    Senate Bill 1966 is set to head to the House for consideration.