CAPITOL BRIEFS: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019

CAPITOL BRIEFS: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019

Freshman senator pushes ahead with criminal justice reforms


Freshman senator pushes ahead with criminal justice reforms

SPRINGFIELD – Two incarceration reform bills sponsored by state Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago) passed out of committee this week.

The first removes a requirement forcing released inmates to pay for their incarceration, and the second provides incarceration alternatives for the mentally ill.

Current law requires recently released inmates to reimburse the Illinois Department of Corrections for any expenses incurred as a result of their incarceration. Peters’ Senate Bill 1158 would strike this from statute.

 “It’s ridiculous that a provision like this even exists in the first place,” Peters said. “These people already have a major burden placed on them by the criminal justice system. It’s unconscionable that there’s an additional financial burden placed on them once they’re finally released, and only makes a return to a life of crime more likely.”

The other measure, Senate Bill 1188, allows people charged with misdemeanors who are deemed unfit to stand trial to be transferred into special programs, pending eligibility screenings and the discretion of the court.

“There is an alarming number of mentally unwell people who have been convicted of misdemeanors despite being unfit to stand trial for these crimes,” Peters said. “As a result, a lot of these folks end up stuck in the criminal justice system for longer than their original sentence.”

The alternative programs are aimed at identifying individuals with mental illnesses, providing them with stabilizing treatment and directing them toward community-provided mental health services.

The bills await a full Senate vote.


Bill would require POW/MIA flags to be flown at Illinois airports

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat and Army veteran, advanced Senate Bill 1127 this week to require airports in Illinois to fly the POW/MIA flag.

State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said in a news release the measure was inspired by Peoria-area veteran Gary Hall, who wanted the Peoria airport to fly the POW/MIA flag under the American flag. Airport officials said their hands were tied legally and would be unable to fly the flag.

“Honoring our veterans with public displays is crucial for younger generations to understand and remember their sacrifices,” Koehler said. “This legislation is just one small step we can take to show our veterans that we have not forgotten them.”

The bill moves to the full Senate for a vote.


Senator looks to ban guns from polling places

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) has introduced Senate Bill 1242 to prohibit concealed carry weapons from polling places and their parking lots.

She said Texas, Florida, Louisiana and California have similar prohibitions on the books, and Georgia bars firearms within 150 feet of a polling station.

“In these times of intense political division, it’s understandable that people would be concerned about their safety at voting sites,” Gillespie said. “Voters should leave their guns at home. It’s as simple as that.”

The bill has been assigned to the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.


Non-binding resolution opposes graduated income tax touted by Pritzker

State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) filed a non-binding House resolution this week to state his opposition to a graduated income tax plan touted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The resolution “strongly opposes the adoption of a progressive income tax constitutional amendment,” which would require supermajority votes in the House and Senate and final approval from 60 percent of Illinois voters.

Democratic state Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Red Bud) is a chief co-sponsor of House Resolution 31, which awaits committee assignment.

“The progressive income tax is a code phrase for a massive tax increase and that is the last thing Illinois needs right now,” McSweeney said. “Proponents of this tax led by Governor Pritzker won’t disclose what the tax rates will be. They want people to believe their Jobs Tax would only affect the wealthy. The wealthy won’t be hurt because they have the option to quickly leave Illinois. The truth is that the Jobs Tax will ultimately lead to a massive tax hike on the middle class.”

Pritzker has not released details of the plan, although he made it a keynote of his budget address this week. The earliest it could be put on the ballot is in November 2020.



© Copyright 2019 Capitol News Illinois


Theme picker

Terms Of UsePrivacy Statement Code of Ethics Copyright 2023 by Capitol News Illinois
Back To Top