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Silverstein passes legislation to educate hate crime offenders

Springfield, IL State Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D Chicago) passed legislation through the Senate this week to educate individuals convicted of religious hate crimes in an attempt to prevent further transgressions.

"I would like to thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of promoting tolerance to religious hate crime offenders," Silverstein said. "Ignorance is usually the key ingredient in these crimes and can be avoided by informing offenders about the sacred role of religion in another person’s life. Also, in some cases, these religious artifacts are historic and can be very costly to repair or replace."

Senate Bill 1708 states that individuals convicted of a hate crime must enroll in an educational course discouraging hate crimes. Under current law, offenders must complete 200 hours of community service as a condition of probation or conditional discharge. Educational courses will be determined at the court’s discretion and can be administered at a local college, non-profit organization or by the Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Silverstein has been a leading member of the Senate in fighting religious persecution and hate crimes through legislation, mainly through educational and awareness approaches. In the 96th General Assembly, Silverstein introduced legislation creating the Holocaust and Genocide Commission to implement Holocaust and genocide education into school curriculum and promote awareness about the implications of genocide.

Senate Bill 1708 now moves to the House for further consideration.

Sen. Lightford


4th District
Assistant Majority Leader

Years served:
1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments; Executive; Education (Vice-Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments; Energy and Public Utilities; Labor.

Biography: Full-time senator; B.A. in communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in public administration, University of Illinois Springfield; village of Maywood trustee; employee for Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her son, Isaiah.

Associated Representative(s): Emanuel Chris Welch, La Shawn K. Ford