By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House passed a bill that would prohibit private, for-profit companies from operating civil detention facilities in Illinois, a measure that would effectively block a project currently being proposed in the village of Dwight, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago.
Illinois already prohibits private prisons from operating in the state, and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the bill, said it is meant to accomplish the same goals.
“This is an industry that has been plagued by concerns about the health and safety, not only of the people that are held there, but the people that work there,” she said. “Given that we were so forward-thinking as to create this ban in the first place, I believe that it’s proper for us to complete that circle.”
The Dwight Village Board in March approved an agreement with a Virginia-based firm, Immigration Centers of America, which hopes to build a detention facility that it would operate on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
That thrust the village of about 4,000 people into the center of a larger debate over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including the policy of separating children from their parents if they cross the U.S. border illegally.
The bill, House Bill 2040, passed the House by a vote of 85-26. It now moves to the Senate. It was just one of several bills the House passed on Wednesday as both chambers work to meet a Friday deadline to pass most substantive legislation on to the other chamber.
In other action, the House also passed the following bills:
HB 3468, requiring hospitals to make reasonable efforts to ensure closed captioning is available on all televisions in the facility. Vote: 113-0.
HB 2303, making it a felony to use or possess a prescriber’s Illinois controlled substance license or United States Drug Enforcement Administration registration number without authorization in order to fraudulently obtain medication or create a prescription. Vote: 113-0.
HB 344, allowing residents of community-integrated living arrangements and developmental disability facilities to operate audio and video monitoring devices in their rooms, at their own expense. Vote: 113-0.
HB 3427, requiring manufacturers or suppliers of residential water heaters to supply or attach a temperature mixing valve or other safety valve that prevents water hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit from coming from any faucet or other source of water into direct contact with a person. Vote: 113-0.
HB 2151, enhancing penalties for causing the death of another person while driving without insurance if the person has been convicted two or more times of driving without insurance. Vote: 113-0.
HB 1475, requiring public school students with seizure disorders, and their parents or guardians, to submit instructions for school staff on how to respond to a seizure and to delegate a school employee who has agreed to receive training to act as that student’s aide and assist the student in implementing the plan. Vote: 112-0.
HB 3427, requiring the Director of Public Health to establish a Parkinson's Disease Public Awareness and Education Program. Vote: 113-0.
HB 2170, allowing use of the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT college admissions test as an acceptable test to demonstrate English language proficiency, and authorizing the State Board of Education to establish minimum scores to meet the standard. Vote: 110-0.
HB 2767, providing that the curriculum for police officer training schools shall include recognizing signs and symptoms of work-related cumulative stress, issues that may lead to suicide, and solutions for intervention with peer support resources. Vote: 113-0.
HB 3143, allowing counties other than Cook County to hold a public vote on whether to change the manner in which it selects its county assessor or county supervisor of assessments from an elected position to an appointed position, or from an appointed position to an elected position. Vote: 109-3.
HB 2386, enhancing penalties for using an electronic communication device while driving to at least $1,000, and a 12-month license suspension, if the offense results in great bodily harm to another person. Vote: 84-24, with two voting “present.”
HB 910, authorizing the city of Aurora to hold an election to decide whether to change the city’s library board to an elected body rather than an appointed body. Vote: 109-2.
HB 3172, directing the Illinois Highway Authority to conduct a study to determine whether neighboring communities should share in the cost of providing utility service and other services to a tollway oasis whenever a tollway oasis bridge is removed. Vote: 110-1, with one voting present.
HB 3097, requiring the Department of Human Services to develop a program to provide prescribing physicians under the state Medicaid program with an evidence-based, non-commercial source of the latest objective information about pharmaceuticals. Vote: 113-0.
HB 2461, allowing an heir or agent who files an unclaimed property claim in which the decedent's property does not exceed $100 to submit an affidavit attesting to the heir's or agent's capacity to claim, instead of requiring them to submit a court-certified document to verify a claim. Vote: 113-0.
HB 2961, requiring certain disclosures on property appraisals when the appraisal is done by someone who is also a licensed real estate broker. Vote: 112-0.
HB 2205, requiring that when Chicago Public Schools closes a building, the chief executive publishes on the school district's website a full financial report on the closure that includes an analysis of the closure's costs and benefits to the district. Vote: 111-0.
HB 3534, providing that after the state implements a new, digital driver's license and identification card issuance and facial recognition system, the secretary of state shall allow applicants to choose between "male", "female", or "non-binary" when designating the applicant's sex. Vote: 67-38.