BRADY INTRODUCES LEGISLATION CRACKING DOWN ON VIOLENT OFFENDERS
State Senator Bill Brady has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at keeping violent offenders off the streets. One measure, SB 3364, ensures violent offenders aren’t given easier sentences while the other, SB 3365, enhances penalties for violent gun crimes.
Senate Bill 3365 aims to implement tough crime reforms to keep violent offenders off the street longer, while still ensuring the rights of responsible gun owners are not infringed upon.
This legislation increases prison terms from 6-30 years to 10-45 years for armed habitual criminals, or those who have been convicted of 2 or more violent felonies, who have been caught with a weapon. It also changes the penalty for illegally selling firearms on school grounds to a mandatory 2-5 years in prison without the possibility of probation.
Additionally Brady’s legislation requires 3-7 years mandatory prison time in instances in which a stolen firearm is used in the commission of a “forcible felony.”
The bill also increases the minimum sentence for possession of a firearm by a gang member from 3-4 years; increases the minimum penalty for unlawful use or possession of weapons by felons to 2-4 years for the first offense and 3-5 years for a second offense; increases the penalties for a second aggravated unlawful use of weapons to 5-10 years; and allows the court to impose up to a 10 year sentence for possession of a stolen firearm.
Also introduced was Senate Bill 3364 which addresses situations in which hundreds of violent felons in Cook County have been improperly sent to boot camp instead of prison as mandated by state law.
“Boot camp is an option reserved specifically for non-violent offenders,” said Brady. “There is no reason that a person convicted of a Class X crime should be entered in that program. My legislation will make sure that we are vigilant about only allowing non-violent offenders to be sentenced to boot camp.”
In November, a report from the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that since 2006 hundreds of improper boot camp sentences have been handed to violent criminals. Illinois law allows young men between the ages of 17 and 35 who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes to be entered into a boot camp program instead of being sent to prison. However, state law prohibits boot camp for forcible felonies and Class X crimes. The Sun-Times reported that many of the violent offenders who had been given the lighter boot camp sentence went on to become repeat offenders, one even has been charged with murder.
Brady’s legislation will amend the county impact incarceration statute to require Cook County Judges, the Cook County State’s Attorney, and Cook County Sheriff to certify in writing that the person sentenced to boot camp is a non-violent offender and meets eligibility requirements. If passed the legislation will be effective immediately upon becoming law.
BRADY SPONSORS BILL TO HELP PROVIDE DISASTER RELIEF
Legislation recently introduced by State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) creates the “Illinois Gives Initiative” to help aid victims of disaster in Illinois.
“In November, Washington, Illinois in my district was hit by devastating tornadoes that tore through Illinois,” said Brady. “The Illinois Gives Initiative ensures that people, like those affected by devastation in Washington, have access to more resources to help them recover after a disaster.”
Senate Bill 2976 which Brady has introduced in conjunction with the Office of the Comptroller, provides a mechanism for State employees and retirees to choose to donate a portion of their check directly to declared disaster areas within Illinois.
The employee will be able to go on the Comptroller’s website and designate a one-time only withholding from their next state payment to aid in relief. The donations will be given as a charitable contribution payment to Illinois chapters of the American Red Cross in disaster areas.
“As Washington and other communities have dealt with the aftermath of these storms and started to rebuild we have seen time and time again how generous the people of Illinois have been,” said Brady. “This is a way to make it easier for Illinoisans to help each other through difficult times.”
BILL INTRODUCTION DEADLINE
Valentine’s Day was the deadline for legislative proposals to be introduced in the Illinois Senate and hundreds of measures have been filed.
Listed below is a sampling of just some of the topics under consideration:
Workers’ Compensation Reform (Senate Bills 2623, 2624, 2625 and 2626): The chief measure in this package is SB 2624, an omnibus bill that incorporates several major reforms designed to address issues identified both in a major report from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and in a 2012 report to legislative leaders from Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Sunday Car Sales (SB 2629): Repeals the prohibition that has prevented Illinois consumers from being able to buy cars on Sundays.
Sex Offenders (SB 2912): Imposes tougher penalties on sex offenders who fail to notify authorities when they lose work. The legislation was prompted by a request from an assistant state's attorney at the McLean County State's Attorney's office. The bill is in response to a court decision that identified a loophole in state law. A 'change in employment' is a reportable event under existing statute, but a 'loss of employment' does not trigger the same reporting requirement.
Concealed Carry (Senate Bills 3141, 3142 and 3143): While the Illinois State Police are still in the process of reviewing applications and no concealed carry permits have yet been issued, there is no shortage of legislation to change the law. Both gun control advocates and Second Amendment proponents have filed measures to make changes. These bills (SB 3141, 3142 and 3143) would lift some bans on carrying firearms in parks and on public transportation.
Animal Protection (SB 3138): This would create an Animal Abuse Registry in Illinois. This is part of a national effort to identify persons convicted of animal abuse crimes and share that information with shelters, rescues, pet stores and individuals. Information would be available at one location to make it easier to screen potential adopters and customers.
Mental Health Records (SB 3123): Allows a court to order that a spouse, child, or parent of a person receiving treatment for mental health or developmental disabilities be notified, without the consent of the recipient, whenever there is a change in the recipient’s treatment plan.
Armed Violence (SB 3101): Changes the Criminal Code definition of a “Category III weapon” to include a bludgeon, black-jack, slungshot, sand-bag, sand-club, metal knuckles, billy or similar items. A “slungshot” is a throwing device that has a heavy weight attached to one end.
Estate Tax (SB 2837): This measure seeks to ease the estate planning burdens on family farms and small businesses by re-coupling Illinois' Estate Tax, or Death Tax, to federal law. For many years, the taxing threshold in Illinois for things like farmland and business assets was identical to, or coupled with, the federal government guidelines. When Democrat leaders passed a record tax hike in early 2011, they decoupled the state rate from the federal rate, raising tax liability for families that own farms and small businesses in Illinois. This legislation would once again “couple” the state’s rate to the federal rate beginning January 1, 2015.
DIGGING DEEPER: FLEEING ILLINOIS
Recent reports showing Illinois losing population through out-migration have made headlines recently prompting Forbes Online Magazine to take a deeper look at the trends behind these numbers. In a recent article, The States People Are Fleeing In 2014, Forbes dug into Illinois’ status as the No. 2 state for out-migration.
Professor Michael Stoll, chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California Los Angeles, told Forbes over time Illinois has lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs and a quarter of its jobs in construction.
Stoll noted the state’s unemployment rate may be much greater than the already high official 8.9% rate, explaining the Labor Department ceases to count people as unemployed once they stop pursuing work or accept a part-time job, which he said is the case when examining the state’s long term joblessness.
Jobless rates rise in most metro areas
Slowed manufacturing is being blamed on job losses and higher unemployment rates in nearly all of Illinois metropolitan areas over the past year.
A recent report by the state Department of Employment Security compared unemployment rates in December 2013 to unemployment rates in December 2012.
Unemployment increased the most in Danville, where the rate jumped from 10 percent to 12.2 percent, and in Peoria, where the jobless rate rose from 8.2 percent to 9.2 percent.
Unemployment fell in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island areas. The Chicago rate dropped from 8.6 percent in December 2012 to 8.2 percent in December 2013. In the Rock Island area, the jobless rate dropped from 7.0 percent to 6.8 percent.