Week-in-Review: Aug. 26-30

A number of bills sponsored by Senate Republican lawmakers have been signed into law during the week, including measures expanding youth hunting, shining light on ADA violations, seeking to repurpose a state facility, and increasing safety.

Also during the week, the Illinois Gaming Board is seeking public comment on Illinois’ sports wagering.

New Law Expands Youth Hunting

Young hunters throughout the state will have greater opportunity to tag a deer thanks to an expansion of youth hunting that has been signed into law.

A new pilot program that expands the existing three-day, youth-only hunting season state wide is created by House Bill 3623/PA 101-0444. The new law will allow young hunters to obtain apprentice hunting permits in multiple years. Previously, apprentice licenses expire after one season, and could not be renewed.

Making ADA Violations Public

Legislation aimed at providing transparency regarding public buildings that are not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law this week. Senate Bill 1090/PA 101-0537 will require the Illinois Attorney General to publicly post data on ADA violations.

Under the new law, a range of data will be made public including the total number of open compliance investigations each year; the 10 most frequent complaints received under the ADA that are under investigation each year; and the total number of complaints received under the ADA each year.

There are no current collection or reporting requirements concerning complaints about physical access violations. This new law intends to provide the public with more information to increase accountability and ensure that every disabled person has equitable access to facilities across the state.

Repurposing State Facility

A new state task force seeks to find renewed purpose for the Tamms Correctional Center, a major state prison in southern Illinois that was closed in 2013.

House Bill 210/PA 101-0499 creates the Tamms Minimum Security Unit Task Force, which will be charged with studying redevelopment options for the shuttered 220-acre, 21 building complex including the potential to use the center for vocational training center for the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Currently, the shuttered facility is a financial drain on state resources, but proponents of reopening it believe it could be redeveloped for other uses – boosting job creation and economic development in an economically struggling region of the state.

The 11-member Task Force is comprised of four legislators, the Director of the Department of Corrections or a designee, one member appointed by the Lt. Governor, one member representing DOC employees, one member representing Shawnee Community College, one member representing Southern Illinois University, the mayor of Tamms, and one member representing Alexander County. The Task Force is required to submit its findings to the Governor and the General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2020.

School Safety Bill Becomes Law

Illinois schools will now have the option to install low-cost intruder barriers in classrooms to protect against armed intruders, under a new law.

Senate Bill 1371/PA 101-0548 allows school districts to use door-locking mechanisms that attach to the door and are lockable and unlockable from the inside of the classroom. The mechanisms must be unlockable from the outside by a key or tool given to police and fire departments so they can continue to act to protect those barricaded inside.

The legislation, brought to sponsor State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) by a local superintendent, is a prime example of how constituents can work with legislators to solve problems.

‘Mason’s Law’ Signed into Law

Drivers who don’t display appropriate caution in a crosswalk could face a one-year suspension of their license once the recently signed “Mason’s Law” takes effect on July 1, 2020. The new law aims to make sure pedestrians can cross streets safely and that those who endanger the lives of people using crosswalks, many of whom are school children, are held accountable.

House Bill 2383/PA 101-0470 requires a one-year suspension of an individual’s driver’s license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death.

The legislation was filed in response to the death of Iroquois resident Mason Knorr, who was killed in a traffic crash when a semi failed to obey a posted stop sign.

The legislation was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 23.

Public Comment Sought on Sports Betting

A new law expanding legalized gambling includes betting on sports. Before the state creates the rules for wagering on sporting events, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) is seeking public comment.

In a statement released Aug. 27, IGB Administrator Marcus Fruchter said, “This public comment period is an important step in a process to ethically and expeditiously establish a regulatory framework to allow sports wagering in Illinois.”

The sports wagering public comment period will be open for 30 days from Aug. 27 to Sept. 27. Comments can be submitted by emailing the Gaming Board at igb.sportsrulecomments@igb.illinois.gov. Additional details about the sports wagering law are available at the IGB website: http://www.igb.illinois.gov.

Dave Syverson

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