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State

Illinois Senate recap: Scott’s Law awareness measure advances

The Illinois Senate on Friday adjourned until April 30, as legislators begin a two-week break from sessions in Springfield.
The Illinois Senate on Friday adjourned until April 30, as legislators begin a two-week break from sessions in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD – In light of an increase in accidents and deaths to Illinois State Police troopers, the state Senate on Friday passed a measure to increase awareness of “Scott’s Law,” which requires drivers to slow down and switch lanes when they see flashing emergency lights.

Senate Bill 947, sponsored by Republican Chapin Rose of Mahomet, passed the Senate unanimously. The bill provides that renewal notices from the secretary of state’s office will advise drivers of how to properly approach a stopped emergency vehicle.

The bill also requires the driver’s license test to include a question concerning safe driving when approaching authorized emergency vehicles.

Here’s a quick look at other legislation passed by the Senate on Friday:

SEXUAL PHOTOS: State Sen. Melinda Bush passed Senate Bill 1507, which would give greater protections to people harmed by having sexual images of them disseminated without their consent. It also applies to the threatened dissemination of those images.

The bill gives victims a cause of action under specified circumstances. The bill also allows a victim to use a pseudonym or redacted name in court.

Under the bill, an action for a nonconsensual dissemination may not be brought after four years from the date the dissemination was discovered.

The bill passed 55-0.

POTHOLE DATABASE: Sen. Dan McConchie’s Senate Bill 958, which passed the Senate, would create a statewide database for reporting potholes.

McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, said Chicago has had such a site for several years and it has been successful in helping the city repair troublesome portions of road.

The bill instructs the Department of Transportation to create a website on which motorists may report potholes, roadway maintenance issues, and other roadway dangers.

The reports would be forwarded to the appropriate department district or unit of local government. The bill passed unanimously.

McConchie also unanimously passed Senate Bill 1090, which requires the attorney general to compile data concerning Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility violations. The information would be posted to the AG’s website.

FIRST RESPONDER SUICIDE PREVENTION: State Sen. Terry Link’s Senate Bill 730 would create the First Responders Suicide Prevention Act. The bill requires training programs for police to recognize signs of work-related cumulative stress and other related issues that might lead to suicide, and offer appropriate solutions for intervention.

The bill would also provide that emergency services personnel may refer any person to an employee assistance program or peer support counselor if those services are not available within the agency.

The bill also provides that minimum in-service training requirements, which a police officer must satisfactorily complete every three years, shall include officer wellness.

Link said the bill would see further amendments in the House, and it passed 52-0.

SCHOOL SAFETY: State Sen. Tony Munoz, a Chicago Democrat, advanced Senate Bill 1658, allowing the State Board of Education to award grants to school districts to support school safety and security, subject to appropriations or private donations.

These grant funds could be used for school security improvements, including professional development, safety-related upgrades to school buildings, equipment, including metal detectors and x-ray machines, and facilities, including school-based health centers.

The bill also requires ISBE to prioritize the distribution of grants to school districts designated as Tier 1 or Tier 2 under the evidence-based funding formula – or districts that are further from funding adequacy. The bill passed unanimously.

PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT: State Sen. Chuck Weaver’s Senate Bill 1042 passed the Senate, allowing home-rule municipalities to abate property taxes for a newly remodeled home located in a blighted area. It passed unanimously.

OUT-OF-TOWN COMMISSIONER: State Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, passed Senate Bill 756, allowing a township board of trustees with populations less than 500 to appoint a non-resident highway commissioner or to contract with a neighboring township if the district is within a township with no incorporated town and no qualified candidate living in the township steps forward.

RACIAL IMPACT NOTE: State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, passed Senate Bill 1485 to create the “Racial Impact Note Act” on legislation, similar to existing notes such as those for financial impact.

The bill provides that every bill “which has or could have a disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities,” can have a racial impact note filed by request of a member.

The note will be a “brief explanatory statement or note that shall include a reliable estimate of the anticipated impact on those racial and ethnic minorities likely to be impacted by the bill.”

The bill also prohibits racial discrimination and harassment by state officers and employees, and provides that each state officer and employee shall annually complete a racial bias, discrimination and harassment training program approved by the appropriate jurisdictional authority.

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