SPRINGFIELD–Recently signed laws seek to expand teen voting rights, prevent deaths due to life-threatening allergic reactions, and educate new drivers on how to react to police stops.
In other state news, a monument was dedicated this week to honor Purple Heart recipients, and a new tech department unveiled mobile apps to provide Illinois residents with a more convenient way to access government services and information. The state’s Public Health and Veterans’ departments also announced progress has been made to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease infections in an Illinois Veterans’ Home.
Governor signs Barickman-sponsored legislation to increase court efficiency
County governments will now have the chance to decide whether to receive and process public defender reports on quarterly instead of monthly, potentially lowering the cost and labor involved, thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) and signed into law by governor Bruce Rauner.
“In heavily populated counties, monthly filings make sense, but for smaller counties it is an unnecessary and undue burden,” said Senator Barickman. “This common-sense legislation will help lower costs for taxpayers while ensuring proper oversight is maintained.”
House Bill 4603 allows county boards to decide and vote on whether they will require public defenders to file the reports monthly or quarterly. Prior state law required the reports to be filed every single month.
Senator Barickman filed the legislation at the request of a Livingston County Board member who determined the idea would save many counties significant taxpayer money.
“I think it’s a move in the right direction because it’s reducing the mandated burdens placed on our local officials that have little to no benefit to our citizens,” said Livingston County Board Member Carolyn Gerwin. “It will free up our public defenders’ time so they can provide more service to citizens.”
The legislation will also allow county boards to vote on several items simultaneously through the use of “consent agendas” or “omnibus votes.” City governments have had the ability for several years. The process is commonly used when several resolutions or ordinances will likely receive the same vote from members, potentially speeding up meetings for those in attendance. Items to be placed on a consent agenda are still subject to existing posting and recording requirements.
New law expands teen voting rights?
??Teens will now be able to vote in the primary of a consolidated election if they will be 18-years-old by the date of the consolidated election.?
The new law, Public Act 99-0722, is an expansion of a 2013 law that allowed 17-year-olds who would be 18 by the date of the general election to vote in a primary election. The new law advanced by House Bill 6167 goes a bit further to allow 17-year-olds to vote in a caucus or a consolidated primary election. These are most usually held for local offices, such as school boards, city councils and village boards.?
Additionally, the law makes the voting rights of qualified 17-year-olds more complete by allowing those who will be 18-years-old by the general election ??to sign and circulate petitions, pre-register to vote and act as deputy registrars.?
New law signed in response to the tragic allergy-related death of a young Elmhurst resident
Following the tragic 2015 death of Elmhurst's Annie LeGere due to prolonged anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction, a new law was recently signed that seeks to prevent this from happening to others.
It is not uncommon for law enforcement officials to reach the scene of an emergency before trained health care personnel. In cases of anaphylactic shock, such as Annie’s, quickly administering an epinephrine injection via an auto-injector (EpiPen) can mean the difference between life and death. However, police officers do not often have epinephrine auto-injectors on-hand, nor have they been trained on how to administer the medication.
After learning this, the LeGere family worked with state lawmakers to expand law enforcement’s access to epinephrine so this life-saving treatment can be administered as quickly as possible in response to a life-threatening allergic reaction.
In response, Public Act 99-0711 allows law enforcement agencies to train officers on how to recognize and respond to anaphylaxis, and how to administer an epinephrine auto-injector in an emergency. The law also allows State Police or a local government agency to authorize officers to carry and administer epinephrine auto-injectors once they have completed the required training.
Driving newbies to receive practical training on police stops
Getting pulled over by law enforcement can frazzle the most seasoned driver. A new law, Public Act 99-0720, seeks to prepare new drivers to handle police stops by educating them on the proper way to react when law enforcement officers pull them over.
The goal is to prevent new drivers, usually teens, from panicking or reacting in a way that could cause a relatively benign situation to develop into something more serious. The new law requires driver's education instructors and driving training schools to provide new drivers with instruction on how to act when pulled over by law enforcement.
The Secretary of State's office will be responsible for developing the specific guidelines. However, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles website, it is recommended that when pulled over by law enforcement, drivers should pull over in a safe area, completely roll down their window and place both hands on the steering wheel. Law enforcement officials also recommend drivers stay calm and cooperate with the officer.
The recently signed law won't take effect until the 2017-2018 school year.
New monument honors Purple Heart recipients
In recognition of those men and women who have been wounded in combat, this week the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency dedicated a monument in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery to Purple Heart medal recipients.
Honoring recipients of the nation's oldest military award still in use, the monument recognizes the "tremendous sacrifices made by military personnel in all conflicts," according to the Director of the Historic Preservation Agency.
This new monument joins others operated by the state, including sites recognizing those who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) introduces service-oriented mobile apps
The state’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) announced this week it is releasing four new mobile responsive applications to provide citizens with easier access to government services and information.
These apps aim to provide easy-to-use solutions for citizens and state employees alike, for tools such as event participation, business and personal license access and renewals, and government services information.
The newly released mobile apps can be downloaded at Going Mobile in Illinois and are available for both Apple and Android devices.
The new apps include:
· ILocate: provides tools to find services provided by Illinois state agencies, anytime and anywhere.
· Illinois State Fair App: provides information to enhance the State Fair experience for visitors, volunteers, and vendors.
· Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT): offers access to technology services, information, and products.
· ISAC (Illinois Student Assistance Commission) Student Mobile Portal: helps students and parents with the college-planning process.
DoIT will continue to develop and deploy a wide variety of mobile responsive applications that increase the ways Illinois citizens can access their state government services, as well as streamline how state employees provide those services.
CDC consultation concludes at Quincy Veterans’ Home
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded its visit to the Illinois Veterans’ Home at Quincy (IVHQ) following the recent Legionnaires’ disease infections reported at the facility.
After the first report of Legionnaires’ disease last month, the CDC team visited the facility to make recommendations on how to reduce the risk of infection moving forward.
Since the first report of new Legionnaires’ disease infections at IVHQ was announced last month, 24 veterans were tested, and there were 21 negative results and three positive results. The three individuals with positive results are reported to be recovering. These results compare to 54 confirmed cases last year. The IDVA has pursued a robust implementation of a comprehensive water management plan, the construction of a new water treatment facility and other steps to reduce the risk of exposure.