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Holmes measure updates animal welfare law for shelters, foster groups

dog 052419SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) has passed legislation in the General Assembly to address a number of issues regarding animal shelters and foster groups, licensing fees and feral cat programs.

Senate Bill 61 increases licensing fees and fines under the Department of Agriculture for the first time since 1971. It also changes rules regarding adopted dogs and cats and the facilities that provide foster homes and transport pets for adoption.

“This group of animal welfare measures brings several rescue and shelter issues up to date for Illinois,” Holmes said. “So many pets find their forever homes through these facilities and fostering arrangements. This legislation can serve to increase the potential for that to happen while providing the Department of Agriculture with more resources to oversee these programs and facilities.”

In addition to increasing license fees and administrative fines, Senate Bill 61 as amended does the following:

  • Changes definitions of terms related to animal shelters, rescue and transport groups and their functions;
  • Addresses licensed animal groups’ Trap, Neuter, Release/Return (TNR) programs for sterilized and microchipped feral cats;
  • Clarifies the limits of two litters of animals under eight weeks old in foster homes;
  • Removes a permit fee of $25 for foster homes.

Senate Bill 61 includes input from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Best Friends Animal Society, Illinois Humane Society and the Illinois Animal Control Association.

With bipartisan approval in the House today, Senate Bill 61 now moves to the governor for his signature.

Holmes works for transparency, taxpayer savings with local government reforms

holmes 052419SPRINGFIELD – Three pieces of legislation from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) to improve how local governments operate have passed the Illinois General Assembly.

“Measures to put decisions in the hands of voters and to streamline local government functions will save taxpayer dollars and make operations more transparent,” Holmes said. “Citizens need to know their municipal officials are representing them effectively.”

House Bill 814 would allow municipal officials to satisfy their training requirements of the Open Meetings Act by participating in a course sponsored or conducted by the Illinois Municipal League. They would join other organizations that provide training for municipal officials, in this case providing in-person training rather than electronic training provided by other entities. IML would provide a certificate of course completion to each member of a public body who completes the training successfully.

House Bill 910 would let the Aurora Public Library change its board of trustees from appointed to elected. The bill would requiring a referendum asking voters to decide and, if passed, provides for the number of trustees and the manner of their election. Currently, the board is appointed by the city’s mayor with council approval.

House Bill 2473 allows Fire Protection Districts to enter into supply contracts of $20,000 through participating in joint out-of-state purchasing programs that require a competitive solicitation and procurement process.  Supported by the Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and the Illinois Municipal League, this measure could ensure fire protection districts receive better pricing on preferred brands of equipment.

All three measures have been approved by both chambers and now go to the governor for consideration.

Holmes works to speed up issue of stalking, civil and domestic violence no contact orders

holmes 013119SPRINGFIELD – A measure from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) would require more rapid response by the courts and law enforcement in issuing stalking, domestic violence and civil no contact orders. House Bill 3396 passed the Senate today.

“If someone is being stalked, their safety and peace of mind are being threatened and they deserve immediate response from the courts and law enforcement,” Holmes said. “A no-contact order needs to be moved swiftly from the courts to law enforcement no matter what day or time it is granted.”

House Bill 3396 changes the Stalking No Contact Order Act, the Civil No Contact Order Act and the Illinois Domestic Violence Act to provide that when an emergency no contact order is granted on a court holiday or evening, the court will immediately file a certified copy with law enforcement officials who maintain State Police records. Currently, those orders aren’t filed until the next court day, possibly delaying relief for victims.

The bill makes the same changes in all protective order acts so that there is procedural consistency among the three orders.

A no contact order makes it illegal to contact the victim without their permission. If the order can be enforced more quickly it may relieve the associated fear and distress sooner.

House Bill 3396 was approved by the Senate. It now returns to the House for concurrence on an amendment.

Holmes passes legislation to end statute of limitations for sexual assault

holmes 052119SPRINGFIELD – A measure from State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) to remove the statute of limitations for any criminal sexual assault passed the Senate today.

A law was enacted in 2017 to remove the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse for victims under the age of 18 years old (PA 100-0080). Holmes’ House Bill 2135 would remove that limit for all victims.

“In the event of an individual choosing to pursue justice for their attack years after the event, or in situations where an investigation is delayed for some reason, we need to be sure justice is still accessible for any sexual assault victim,” Holmes said. “The possibility of a perpetrator not being brought to justice is a risk to public safety.”

Mary Ann Brzoska testified with Sen. Holmes in the Senate Criminal Law Committee earlier this month about her daughter’s experience after being raped at age 19 by two men. Three years later, an investigation is just now underway. Brzoska worries the statute of limitations could spare an attacker from prosecution if the pace of an investigation lags as it has in her daughter’s case.

“More than one-third of the 10-year statute of limitations has already passed, and I would hate to see another family face this situation with the pressure of delays,” Brzoska said. “If it has taken this long to get an investigation started, it seems possible time could run out. That’s not justice.”

House Bill 2135 will now go to the governor for his consideration.

Sen. Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes

Assistant Majority Leader
42nd District

Years served: 2007 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture (Vice-Chairperson); Commerce and Economic Development (Chairperson); Executive; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology.

Biography: Elected to the Senate in 2006; born March 16, 1959, in Chicago; received a bachelor's degree from the National College of Education (now National-Lewis University); First woman president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry; Full-time state legislator.

Associated Representatives:
Barbara Hernandez
Stephanie A. Kifowit