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Families could act on gun violence warning signs under Raoul measure

raoul 022218SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) helped advance a measure Wednesday that puts in place a system for families to report individuals who pose a risk of using a gun to commit a violent crime.

Raoul, the legislation’s chief co-sponsor, argued during the Senate Executive Committee against a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association who now represents a group of gun dealers.

“In order to stem the unacceptable tide of gun violence in our country, we have to attack the problem from every angle,” Raoul said. “Again and again, we hear that there were warning signs before a mass shooting. If we can do even one thing to prevent these tragedies, we absolutely must.” 

The Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act allows a family member or a law enforcement officer to alert the courts that they believe an individual poses a significant risk of self-injury or danger to the public and has access to a firearm.

If the court agrees, a judge can require that person to temporarily turn over any firearms in his or her possession.

Raoul will introduce a companion bill that would allow schools, churches and places of business to grant similar orders of protection against individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.

Senate Bill 559 passed the Senate Executive Committee and will move to the Senate for further debate.

Hastings advances measure to expand use of Amber Alerts

hastings 022218SPRINGFIELD – The state of Illinois currently has no procedure in place to alert police and emergency professionals of missing disabled persons, but State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D -Tinley Park) is working to change that.

Hastings’ measure is aimed at reporting, quickly locating and returning missing disabled persons to their homes. It is motivated by the story of Greg*, a disabled man who went to Chipotle in Matteson, Illinois for a group-home excursion. During the outing, Greg wandered away from his group and it quickly became apparent there were few procedures in place to help find him.

When his caretakers requested an Amber Alert be put out in order to locate Greg, the authorities said there was no system in place for individuals living with disabilities. After 21 excruciating hours, Greg was returned to his caretakers, and the incident left advocates wondering if more can be done to protect Illinois’ disabled populations.

“It’s clear we can do more here, so I have sponsored this commonsense legislation to put protocols in place to help find and protect individuals living with intellectual and physical disabilities,” Hastings said. “This small change will help immediately alert authorities and emergency networkers to bring our loved ones home sooner.”

Senate Bill 2265 changes the Missing Persons Identification Act to ensure "high-risk missing persons" includes persons living with a developmental or intellectual disability. This will cover these individuals under the Endangered Missing Person Advisory program, which would provide a regional system for the rapid dissemination of information of missing people.

“As a community-based provider that supports adults with intellectual disabilities, I am excited to learn the Human Service Committee passed SB2265,” said Mary Pat Ambrosino, Chief Executive Officer of CTF Illinois. “Adults with intellectual disabilities are a vulnerable population, and by including them in the LEAD system you are not only providing a proven resource to families and providers but also giving us peace of mind knowing the safety of those we support is a priority.”

Senate Bill 2265 passed the Senate’s Committee on Human Services with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“I can’t help but think if this alert system had been in place, Greg may not have gone missing for 21 hours,” Hastings said. “We are taking the lessons of the past to give police departments the means to communicate quickly and effectively to disseminate missing persons reports.”


*The name Greg was used to protect the identify and safety of the individual who experienced this event.

Bush advances measure allowing legislative staff to file harassment claims

bush 022118SPRINGFIELD – Staff members of elected officials would be granted the right to file sexual harassment claims under a measure from Senator Melinda Bush that advanced out of the Senate Executive Committee today.

“The claims that have come out over the past several months have made it clear that we need to change the way we handle sexual harassment and make sure everyone knows where to go to seek justice,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “The fact that staff of elected officials aren’t considered employees and therefore aren’t protected under the Human Rights Act is egregious.”

Senate advances Cunningham measure on marijuana referendum

cunningham 022817SPRINGFIELD – Illinois voters may get the chance to let their voices be heard on the subject of the legalization of cannabis under legislation passed out of committee in Springfield this week. The legislation, Senate Bill 2275, would place an advisory question on the 2018 ballot asking Illinois voters if they are in favor of marijuana legalization.

State Senator Bill Cunningham, the sponsor of the measure, says the advisory question will help legislators gauge the public’s opinion on the subject. Most states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana have done so through ballot initiatives.