The General Assembly arrived at the mid point of its spring legislative session last week, hitting the deadline for the Senate and House to act on legislation that originated in their respective chambers. For much of the remainder of the spring session Senate lawmakers will consider legislation that originated in the House while the House acts on bills that were originally introduced in the Senate.
Among the pieces of legislation this week were two Constitutional amendments that, having passed both chambers, will now appear on the November ballot for voters to consider.
One of these amendments, now up for voter approval would clarify crime victims’ rights. Known as “Marsy’s Law,” House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 (HJRCA 1) explicitly outlines crime victims’ rights, stating they are entitled to fairness, respect, information about and notification of court proceedings, rulings and release information, restitution, safety, and can offer impact statements when relevant. The amendment would supplement an existing section of the State Constitution on crime victims’ right.
A second amendment seeks to preserve voting rights in Illinois. House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 52 (HJRCA 52) clarifies that "no person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income."
Having been adopted by both chambers of the General Assembly, HJRCA 1 and HJRCA 52 will be placed on the 2014 ballot during the November General Election, at which time Illinois voters will decide whether or not to add these provisions to the Illinois Constitution. Constitutional amendments require either a three-fifths majority vote of those voting on the amendment or a majority of those voting in the election.