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New law holds parents who help minors drink accountable

Interesting alcoholic beveragesRSPRINGFIELD – A new law will allow the state to hold parents accountable when they knowingly allow children to consume alcohol in their cars, boats, campers, airplanes and other vehicles. State law already punishes parents who allow children to drink in their homes.

“We don’t allow minors to drink for a reason,” said State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), the law’s sponsor. “Inexperienced, intoxicated drivers are a recipe for disaster, and teenagers’ bodies and minds are still maturing. Alcohol can harm their development.”

The state legislature began to crack down on parents who knowingly turn a blind eye to teenagers’ drinking parties after several incidents where drunk teenage drivers were involved in deadly accidents.

Stadelman bill to strengthen domestic violence prosecution signed into law

052314CM1590ROCKFORD – A bill sponsored by Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman that provides for more aggressive prosecution of repeat domestic abusers was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn this week.

The legislation allows prosecutors to upgrade charges from misdemeanor to felony for offenders with prior convictions for the same or substantially similar violent crimes, even if the prior convictions occurred in other jurisdictions. Prosecutors already had the ability to issue felony charges for abusers whose past offenses occurred in Illinois, but convictions outside Illinois didn't always come into play.

"Domestic violence has a devastating impact that extends beyond the direct victims and that often leaves deep emotional scars," said Stadelman, D-Rockford. "As a community, we need to prevent abuse by having serious consequences for repeat offenses – and it shouldn't matter if an abuser's prior offenses occurred in another state."

Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato recommended the change, and Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives.

Senator Bush’s business retention plan signed into law

opensignRSPRINGFIELD - An economic development and job retention proposal was signed into law recently that seeks to improve business retention in Illinois counties that border other states.

State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) was the Senate sponsor of the new law that recognizes the unique business retention concerns specific to border communities.

As a life-long resident and board member of a county that borders another state, Bush knows all too well about about the business-poaching practices of the states surrounding Illinois. She feels that the new law will improve the economic conditions of Illinois border communities, keeping them competitive with the states that they border.

Human trafficking: Protecting the real victims

New law providing grant money and immunity

“People who have been enslaved by sex traffickers should be judiciously protected and given every opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives.” - State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D - Chicago Heights)

prison-162885 640CAUCUSSPRINGFIELD – The fight against human trafficking in Illinois will receive a huge boost from a new law providing funding for the construction and maintenance of shelters and advance specialized services for victims of this human rights atrocity.

Championed by Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights), the Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking Fund will provide grants for essential needs associated with human trafficking and prostitution, while providing that minors can no longer be charged with solicitation of a sex act.

“People who have been enslaved by sex traffickers are now finally going to be lawfully protected and given every opportunity to heal and move forward with their lives,” Sen. Hutchinson said.

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