The Senate this week advanced one amendment to the Illinois Constitution that would change the process of drawing the state’s legislative and congressional district lines, though Republican lawmakers pointed out the measure, SJRCA 30, still gives politicians the power to draw their own political boundaries. Senate Republicans contend that the process of drawing legislative districts should be handed over to a non-partisan, independent body—a critical provision not included in SJRCA 30.
However, a Republican proposal that would strip the Legislature of the direct power to draw districts in Illinois, was one of a number of constitutional amendments sponsored by Republican Senators that were not allowed a hearing or vote by lawmakers this week. Additionally, constitutional amendments were stalled that would have established terms limits for state lawmakers; increase votes needed to pass legislation during a “lame-duck session,” which is the time period after an election and before a new General Assembly begins; and set term limits for constitutional offers.
Two additional amendments to the constitution pending before the Senate failed to advance for consideration by voters on the November General Election Ballot. SJRCA 1 would have allowed the state to move from a “flat” tax rate to a “graduated” income tax and SJRCA 29 would have eliminated the Lt. Governor’s office.
Some additional legislation approved by Senate lawmakers during the week includes:
Athlete Campus Demonstrations (SB 2279): States that every institution that is approved by ISAC for the Monetary Award Program must be subject to the Campus Demonstrations Policy Act, which requires the institution to maintain an outline of rules and regulations to maintain order on campus during a demonstration. The Policy on Demonstrations must include a statement declaring that a student-athlete’s scholarship may not be reduced or revoked as a result of the student-athlete's participation in or expression of their First Amendment Rights.
3D Mammograms (SB 466): Requires the state to begin an insurance mandate to cover 3D mammography on July 1, 2016.
Sepsis Screening and Gabby’s Law (SB 2403): Requires hospitals to implement evidence based protocols for early recognition and treatments of patients with sepsis, severe sepsis, or septic shock. The requirements for caring for children with sepsis may differ from adults. This will be known as Gabby’s Law in memory of Gabby Gallo from Monticello. Ms. Gallo passed away due to complications from sepsis.
No Tax on Feminine Hygiene Products (SB 2746): Exempts tampons and menstrual pads and cups from the sales tax.
Police Dog Retirement Act (SB 3129): Allows a police dog that is in use by a county, municipal, or state law enforcement agency and is deemed no longer fit for public service to be offered to the officer or employee who had custody during its service.
EMT’s Epinephrine Administering Act (SB 3335): Authorizes EMT-Basics, EMT-Intermediates, Advanced EMTs and EMT-Paramedics to administer Epinephrine drawn from a glass vial, using a syringe, as opposed to using a pre-filled epinephrine auto-injector, such as an Epi-Pen, once the individual completes a department approved course.
Parolee State ID Card (SB 3368): Requires the Secretary of State to issue a standard Illinois Identification Card at the time of release to all eligible individuals on parole, mandatory supervised release, aftercare release, final discharge, or pardon from the Department of Corrections (DOC) or Department of Juvenile Justice. Further requires the DOC to verify a released person’s name, date of birth and Social Security number, and provide that information to the Secretary of State for use in issuing an identification card to the released person either by obtaining a certified copy of the released person’s birth certificate and his or her Social Security card, or a Secretary of State form that will be designed to allow the parolee 90 days to supply their birth certificate or Social Security card.
Veterans Court Treatment Act (SB 3401): Authorizes an alternative court program to provide alternatives for veterans, including treatment for mental health issues and or addiction issues.
Cannabis Decriminalization (SB 2228): Reduces penalties for those caught in position of small amounts of cannabis, as part of an effort to reduce prison populations and what some say are overly punitive penalties for those convicted of cannabis possession. Makes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $200. The civil offense is automatically expunged to prevent a permanent criminal record. Establishes a per se standard for Cannabis-DUI of 5 nano/decil of blood or 10 nano/decil of saliva in system. Allows for alternative ways to test for cannabis DUI using “any bodily substance” (including saliva) for testing. This is an expansion from current law of breath, blood, and urine. Creates a new Class 2 felony for manufacturing Butane Hash Oil.