Last week I passed a business friendly, common sense law that will permit local government to take control of liquor licenses instead of having to go to Springfield for approval.
Under current law, businesses seeking to serve alcohol in certain locations must receive permission from the General Assembly and Governor.
Senate Bill 2436 reforms an antiquated law by allowing local governments control of the exemption process.
Public Safety Update - Gun Dealer Licensing and New Carjacking Law
In response to gun violence which has sent a chill throughout our entire country, the Illinois legislature is working on reforms to prevent gun violence. One reform is gun dealer licensing. Gun dealers are the most critical link between manufacturers and the public, and they are also one of the largest sources of illegally trafficked firearms in the nation.
Loopholes in federal law enable dealers to fly under the radar and engage in illegal business practices. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms lacks the necessary resources and legal authority to go after these negligent gun dealers. This session the General Assembly passed
to institute state level requirements for gun dealers, including background checks for store owners and employees, training for employees on running background checks on potential buyers, and inspections for compliance by the state police. The bill goes to the Governor and he can either sign the legislation into law or bend to NRA pressure and veto it.
In other news, the number of carjackings incidents spiked higher than Chicago has experienced in over a decade. The problem also persists into 2018.
The House and Senate has passed
closing a loophole in existing law that should help address the increase in carjackings in our city.
Anytime legislation like this is presented, it's very important to consider civil liberty protections and to ensure that we avoid writing laws that only create overcrowded prisons filled with our youth. Our goal should be to keep young kids out of jail even once.
This legislation was amended several times to assure that civil liberties are protected while also increasing public safety.
The final version, supported by Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, makes an important change. Under current law, if a juvenile passenger is in position of a stolen vehicle, including when the vehicle is taken with the threat or use of violence, they often times avoid serious consequences because police cannot prove the passengers know the car was stolen. This new legislation would allow police and prosecutors in many cases to infer "from the surrounding facts and circumstances" that the passengers did know, and charge them with being in possession of a stolen vehicle.
Equal Rights Amendment
In one of the more historic moments on the floor, after hours of passionate floor debate on both sides of the issue, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment states:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
Ratification in only one more state is needed
to make it possible to become part of the United States Constitution
. To see which states still need to ratify and to read more about the process
Sexual Harassment Task Force Revamps Ethics Process
In response to calls for independent investigations and claims that the system is rigged and rife with barriers and conflicts, the House and Senate sexual harassment task force swiftly approved
that will allow people to go directly to the Inspector General without legislative interference, if that is the path the victim chooses. The new law also extends deadlines for filing complaints to align with the federal standard of 300 days.