SENATE RECAP: Bill would require Corrections to appoint liaison for prison visitors
Legislation among a number of items advanced by Senate to House
By REBECCA ANZEL
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — If you visit a prisoner in an Illinois Department of Corrections facility, you might soon have an outlet for complaints or suggestions.
The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation mandating IDOC to designate someone to be a point of contact for families, friends and members of the public who visit facilities under the agency’s control.
Glenview Democratic Sen. Laura Fine worked with Chicago-based advocacy group Restore Justice to write the measure.
“I’ve had the opportunity to hear from so many parents, siblings, children and families of incarcerated individuals on this issue. When they expect a visit and get turned away, it can be heartbreaking,” Fine said in a statement. “...These families deserve to see their concerns addressed.”
She added the bill pushes the state “one step” closer to reforming Illinois’ criminal justice system in a way that will “ensure dignity for incarcerated Illinoisans and their loved ones.”
Not included in the legislation is a deadline for the DOC to appoint someone for the role, but the mandate would take effect immediately with the governor’s signature.
Senate Bill 2311 passed unanimously out of the chamber and awaits action in the House.
Child care on the campaign: Politicos could use election cash for babysitting
A bill removing an obstacle for women pursuing elected office in Illinois — child care costs — overwhelmingly passed the Senate on Thursday.
When she was travelling across the state with a commission investigating anti-harassment and equity solutions, Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda Bush said she learned women often do not campaign for government positions because of associated costs such as the expense of day care and baby sitters.
Her legislation allows for candidates, officeholders, campaign staffers or volunteers to use political committee money for such costs “whether the need for child care predated the campaign or term of office,” according to the measure.
Bush added it clarifies existing laws.
Senators approved Senate Bill 33 on a vote of 46-0. Sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from Lake Forest, voted present. Its House sponsor is Democratic Rep. Carol Ammons, of Urbana.
Other bills passed by the Senate Thursday and advanced to the House include:
Senate Bill 2303 adds recreational off-highway vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, watercrafts and aircrafts to the list of designated police vehicles. Carried by Sen. Dale Fowler, a Republican from Harrisburg, it was approved by a vote of 54-0.
Hawthorn Woods Republican Sen. Dan McConchie’s Senate Bill 2333 requires that if a college student has a personal support worker through the Developmental Disability and Mental Disability Services Act, all public universities and community colleges in Illinois must allow the support worker to attend classes at no charge. It passed the chamber by a vote of 53-0. Republican Rep. Margo McDermed, of Mokena, is the measure’s sponsor in that chamber.
Veterans and active military members awarded the Superior Service Medal would be allowed to have a Defense Superior Service license plate under Cahokia Democratic Sen. Christopher Belt’s Senate Bill 2497. The Senate approved the legislation by a vote of 53-0. Democratic Rep. LaToya Greenwood, of East St. Louis, is the House sponsor.
Senate Bill 2559 expands Illinois’ adoption waiver — which applies to a requirement that a potential adopter live in the state for at least six months — to encompass adoptions facilitated through all state-licensed agencies. It passed the chamber by a vote of 50-0, and was Chicago Democratic Sen. Sara Feigenholtz’s first successful piece of legislation in the chamber. She was appointed in January to replace former Senate President John Cullerton. Democratic Rep. Ann Williams, of Chicago, is the House sponsor.