Alderman Want Chicago Police to Consider “Textalyzer”

textingChicago Police may have a new tool in determining accident liability according to the Chicago Tribune, as there is a push by Chicago city Alderman to get police to use a device called a Textalyzer to determine if a person was using their phone during an accident. Alderman Ed Burke and Anthony Beale of the 14th and 9th wards respectively, introduced a resolution Wednesday to the city council hoping to get the police department to appear and discuss the possibility of using the Textalyzer. Here’s a description of the device per the Tribune. “A Textalyzer — a device developed by Israeli company Cellebrite — can access a phone’s operating system to check whether it was being used to text, email or perform other functions. Its name is a play on the Breathalyzer, which can help determine whether a driver is legally drunk. Use of such devices is being considered in Tennessee and New York, where the idea of suspending driver’s licenses for refusing to have a phone scanned has been debated.”

There has been a rise in texting related accidents and deaths the last few years, and the proponents of the textalyzer see it is an epidemic. “Our nation is in the grips of a texting epidemic and drivers text with impunity because they think there is little chance of ever getting caught,” Burke said in a statement. “Such illegal activity not only poses a serious threat to other motorists, but also to the many cyclists who regularly use our network of bike lanes and to pedestrians at crosswalks.” This is an interesting issue and I had never heard of anything like a “textalyzer” before so I thought that sounded fascinating. On the merits of the resolution, it is certainly complex as well. Driving and texting is clearly unsafe and should be illegal but how accurate can these things be in determining the exact nature of an accident-text relationship? Maybe they can pinpoint the exact moment an accident happened and the exact moment the text was sent and i’m not up to speed on the technology. Or they can determine the text logs just proved in general that a person had used texting during the whole of their driving and it doesn’t matter if it’s determined the exact cause of the accident cause they committed a violation anyway.

This also brings up issues of privacy, as people might be understandably shy about the police getting access to there text messages. Sure the police can access peoples data when they’re investigating them if they get a warrant but that is ethically debatable as well. I’m all for keeping people safe but this seems like a bit of an extreme measure and invasive of peoples privacy. I would like to see data or evidence that this measure would actually decrease the amount of driving and texting accidents, rather than just increasing the amount of punishment that’s going to be handed out. I’m also wondering if any accident is subject to the police being able to look through your text messages? Because that doesn’t sound good to me. All in all this is just too much of an invasion of privacy in my opinion, without hard evidence it’s actually going to make people safer.

United Airlines Catches Heat For Dragging Passenger Off plane

IMG_1110In a bizzarre incident occurring on a United flight from O’hare Airport to Louisville, a man was dragged out of the plane against his will after an overbooking situation caused United agents to ask 4 passengers to leave the flight. Per the Tribunes‘ Ally Marotti and Lauren Zumbach and multiple videos circulating Social media chronicling the event, passengers were shocked at the agents treatment of a man who initially refused to get off the plane apparently due to him being a doctor and having patients he needed to see the next day. “In videos of the incident aboard a flight bound for Louisville, Ky., a man screams as security officers pull him from his seat. He then falls silent as they drag him by the hands, with his glasses askew and his shirt pulled up over his abdomen, down the aisle. Several passengers yell at the officers. “Oh my God, look at what you did to him,” one woman yells.’

Here are some more details about the incident from the Tribune, stemming from testimony by passengers Tyler and Audra Bridges.  Bridges  told the Courier-Journal that passengers were then told a computer would select four random passengers. A couple was selected and left, but when the man who was removed was selected, he contested, saying he was a doctor who needed to see patients Monday morning. Bridges posted a video of the incident on Facebook, which has been shared more than 12,000 times and viewed 1 million times.The man was warned that security would be called if he didn’t leave, Bridges said. After security personnel came and spoke with him, he still refused.”

According to witnesses and video evidence the man was bleeding while being dragged out, maybe after knocking his head against the seat. I have watched multiple videos of the event on Social media which you should be able to easily find with a simple google search and can safely say it is a very disturbing incident for which United Airlines has no excuse The image of a limp man being dragged off a flight that he paid for will surely stick in peoples memories when they think of United for hopefully a while. Because after this incident the Airline just looks comically inept and inconsiderate. In the Washington Posts report, Tyler Bridges talked about the details proceeding the incident. Tyler Bridges recalled trouble starting almost as soon as he and his wife boarded. “An airline supervisor walked onto the plane and brusquely announced: ‘We have United employees that need to fly to Louisville tonight. … This flight’s not leaving until four people get off.’ That rubbed some people the wrong way,” Bridges said.’ Clearly from Bridges testimony the issue stems from a problem caused by United themselves and not any of the passengers. 4 people were punished because United Airlines gave precedent to their employees over paying customers.

The worst part is that they pathetically had to use violence to achieve get this done. The United CEO has apologized for the incident and claims that they’re reviewing it in the Tribune’s report.  “After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” United spokesman Charlie Hobart said in the statement. “We apologize for the overbook situation.” But many like travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt are questioning the policies of United and whether they could’ve been involved in causing this incident. “Everybody has their price. If they had allowed the agent to offer a higher incentive, we may never have heard about this,” said Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group. I think United is going to have to take a look at how it handles involuntarily denied boarding when passengers are already on the plane.”

Hopefully United faces some sort of punishment other than being completely embarrassed over social media.

Cook Country States Attorney announces bond reform initiative

26th and CalifIn policy shift  news reported by Rummana Hussain of the Chicago Sun Times, States Attorney Kim Fox announced a new program for bail reform on Wednesday. Some non violent inmates have been forced to remain in jail because they haven’t been able to afford the bail bonds that judges have set. Crimes including petty theft, drug stuff, property damage are the main crimes that the offenders have committed. As Hussain explains, “After the Cook County Sheriff’s Office singled out 50 cases of those who were “languishing” in jail for several months because of their inability to post $1,000 or less, the State’s Attorney and Public Defender’s offices came together to identify those inmates who would be better served outside jail, Foxx said.” With the reforms and pushes for I-bonds the inmates can be released without having to spend a prolonged time in jail. Fox explained using an example of a certain inmate on why she believed this to be a sensible decision, “One person was in for retail theft and couldn’t pay the $300 they needed to walk. . . . Another person broke into their friend’s house and stole some shoes,” Foxx told the Chicago Sun-Times. “An alternative to jail makes sense.” Another part of the reforms are that drug offenders awaiting trial must seek treatment as requirement for their release. The actual component requirements to meet the criteria have not been finalized. It appears certain that the offense must be non violent, and the accused be indigent and that alcohol/substance abuse evaluations and follow up will be part of the criteria. This initiative is not a change to the bail statute which does already allow those components to be part of the equation; it appears that the  change is that the State’s Attorney will not be requesting cash bail to secure an accused’s appearance if their finalized criteria are met. It is unclear if those with a record of prior offenses, or prior bond forfeiture warrants will be included in this policy.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPadwwwwwawa

 

Update: Motion passed! Hooray!

White House Cracking Down On Recreational Cannabis?

weed whitehouse

There’s been some disturbing news from the White House recently in the last couple weeks, having to do with how the federal government will dictate its policy against both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.  It seems the Trump administration is shifting towards cracking down on marijuana even in states where it’s legal.  This was one of the worries when Trump nominated Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, a man who is known for his disdain for legalizing marijuana.  Ironically,  Sessions is a big supporter of  “states rights” arguments. But now he seems to be wanting to use the federal government against states that have even legalized marijuana.  The Chicago Tribunes’ Jennifer Kaplan and Polly Mosendz reported  that the cannabis industry is unsurprisingly upset at this seeming shift in policy. “Today’s news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing,” Derek Peterson, CEO of marijuana cultivator Terra Tech Corp., said Thursday in a statement. “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect state’s rights in the same manner they have on several other issues.”  Will they eventually be able to reconcile these seemingly contradictory policy stances.

As the Chicago Tribune notes,  public policy is  sided against Trumps’ stance  with respect to this issue and they cite Quinnipiac’s poll that showed 71% of voters think the government shouldn’t enforce laws against marijuana  in states where it is legal and 59% voted that it should just be legal outright. The people want this and the shift may undo the slow and steady progress the country has made in drug policy the last decade or so. If marijuana is this stigmatized than how can any progress be made towards prison reform and helping users instead of punishing them?  Robert Capecci, the director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project points out this  hypocrisy, “To have Mr. Spicer say in one sentence that they’re a state’s rights’  administration and in the very next sentence say they’re going to crack down … it just defies logic.”

Chicago Public Schools take measures to protect children after White House Immigration Order

Per Juan Perez Jr. of cpsthe Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Public School system  is taking action against the federal governments broadened measures in detaining illegal immigrants. While no ICE agents have yet attempted to detain any students or parents in the school area, many are still  worried after some of the recent news from the White House. Protests last week targeted these policies by Trump’s cabinet and a signifiant amount of Latino students were out of school last Thursday either for fear, anger, or both according to the Tribune.  In response to this, CPS wants to ensure their students that they can feel safe and secure and not targeted. They contacted principals to let them know that any ICE agent wishing to enter a district building had to have a warrant with him and also urged parents to update emergency contact forms in the case of them or their child being detained by agents. The CPS has asserted that they are not there to provide assistance to federal officials in their business, especially since that business would be harmful to their students. The districts message was, “To be very clear, CPS does not provide assistance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the enforcement of federal civil immigration law.” In the case of an agent coming to the school the guidelines ask that they be told to wait outside while the administration deals with the Law department.

To some this seems like an extreme measure and maybe not necessary due to the lack of agents showing up at schools yet. However, it’s easy to shrug off these things when you don’t have to go through them, and for the thousands of Latino students and parents in CPS schools the recent news from Washington has been understandably very alarming.  Chicago Public School system’s rationale was to have their schools taking the steps to make sure their kids and parents feel safe.

The opinions of this post are Jake Morask’s and do not reflect the Laura Law Office in its entirety

Expungement Law Update

800px-Pink_Pearl_eraserOn January 1, 2017, several new Expungement Law Updates took effect. Among the updates was the ratification of Public Act 99-0881, which amended the Criminal Identification Act (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(1)) to expand your ability to expunge your arrest from your record.  According to the Act, as of the new year, you can expunge any arrest for an expungeable offense that results in your release without charging, acquittal, dismissal, or successfully completed supervision. What’s new about that? In the past, if you had a conviction in your background, you could never again file for expungement – a prior conviction was an automatic bar to future expungement.  As of January, prior convictions will no longer stand in the way of your otherwise-expungeable arrest.

This Expungement Law Update is a good step toward reforming the way society treats people that have made mistakes, but paid back their debt to society for those mistakes.  Expungement is an effective tool to prevent certain arrests from standing in your way when it comes to getting a job and applying for a loan, for example, and the expansion of the expungement statute to include these previously-unexpungeable arrests will open new doors for many Illinoisans.

Our team of attorneys here at LauraLaw is experienced in the expugement and sealing of criminal records. Not only do we keep up with all Expungement Law Updates so that we can best serve your expungement needs, but we offer experienced and skilled criminal defense to put you in the best position to avoid an unexpungeable conviction. So if you should find yourself under arrest for any crime, or wish to have a prior arrest expunged from your record or sealed from your record, do not hesitate to contact us, and we will assist you with all of your criminal defense needs.

In the meantime, if you want more information about the expungement process, check out our 3-Part Series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) on Expungment and Sealing from 2014.

Great Tips For New Lawyers Courtesy of Lawyerist Blog

law-books-291683__180Randall Ryder of the popular Lawyerist blog  wrote an excellant blog post with some fabulous tips for new lawyers that we here at lauralaw believe are also great tips for even seasoned lawyers. We all know many a lawyer who when talking casually to opposong counsel on a phone call or in person just talk too much and in an effort to appear accomodating start “oversharing”. One of his greatest points was to sit back and listen. This is a tough skill to learn as we lawyers love to talk. I have always believed that listening and not rushing in to fill a momentary silence in a conversation is one of the best skills for any lawyer-actually everyone in general- to learn. Most people have forgotten or never learned the art of listening! At first it may really make you uncomfortable but remember people love talking about themselves. While no  one likes awkward seeming pauses if you try not rushing in with further conversation, the other person invariably will fill the void, and you will inevitably learn some nugget of information that may give you a better understanding of not only your client’s case but perhaps the attorneys’ mindset as well. Click  .https://lawyerist.com/39726/new-attorney-dont-get-intimidated-by-opposing-counsel/ to read this excellant aricle courtesy of Randall Ryder.

Illinois Justice Commission soon to announce final plans on decreasing prison population

imageBruce Rauner’s Criminal Justice Reform Commission is set to release their final recommendations on how to safely reduce the Illinois prison population by 25% by the year 2025. The Commission was formed on an Executive Order by Rauner on February 11, 2015 with the stated goal of “developing comprehensive, evidence-based strategies to meet the goal of reducing Illinois’ prison population 25 percent by 2025,” according to the Commission’s website. The group is comprised of more than two dozen criminal justice practitioners, lawmakers, and policymakers.

Research by the sentencing advising board policy and Loyola University revealed two factors that increase prison population: Admissions and increased length of stay. The Website adds “Admissions can be reduced with prison diversion initiatives and a change in parole policy to decrease the number of offenders returning to prison due to technical violations. A reduction in recidivism also could be achieved with evidence based programming in diversions, in prison, during reentry, and in the community.” The Commission talks about preventing low risk offenders from entering the prison population, which seems a humane idea to at least partly reduce prison population. Another good thing is that the Commission seems to be accepting the idea of treatment programs rather than punitive punishments. The Adult Redeploy Illinois Program allows Judges and prosecutors to divert individuals who are being sentenced to use more probation based punishments. The Commission has determined that Recidivism(defined here as a return to prison within three years of release) has been around 50% the last decade. This illustrates the unfortunate cycle many offenders are put through that prevents them from really ever regaining any semblance of their lives. Even shorter Prison terms can turn their existence into a struggle for survival. The persons economic situation and race undoubtedly and unfortunately complicates their situation as well.

When evaluating the Sheridan and Southwest Illinois Correctional Center drug programs evidence showed these programs do tend to reduce recidivism. One of the problems unfortunately is that the need for the program among drug offenders greatly succeeds the programs availability. There will need to be greater funding for these programs and maybe a reduction in the funding that contributes more to punishment or preventing crime. Because it’s becoming clear that crime programs meant to clean the streets of criminals have not worked and have overcrowded the prison population and made humane treatment of offenders much harder.

The other part of the problem mentioned before that the Commission was looking was how the length of stay affected the prison population. Finding a way to reduce length of sentences should contribute to at least partly reducing the prison population. The Commission lists four ways that the length of sentences may possibly be impacted,

  • Changing the sentence length ranges for felony classes.
  • Awarding credits for good conduct, treatment participation, etc.
  • Reducing required percentages of imprisonment in sentences handed down under Truth-in-Sentencing laws.
  • Using risk and needs assessment to guide sentencing and lengths of stay.

These measures could be ways that reduce the prison population and make it easier for offenders to deal with lives in and out of prison. I think the Commission is a good step forward in prison reform and there seems to be some genuine desire to see things change, which is nice. I would like to see more research on how prisoners are treated by guards, and maybe look at whether poor treatment of prisoners leads to a higher likelihood of recidivism. Either way, I do believe there needs to be more reform in how prisoners are looked at.

-Jake Morask

(Opinions are mine and do not represent official views of LauraLaw)

Police and Amazon Going to Battle Over Privacy Rights of Amazon Echo in Murder Case

amazonechologo

In an interesting twist to a first degree murder case in Bentonville, Arkansas, privacy rights and Amazon’s device, the Amazon Echo, are being roped into the investigation.  James Andrew Bates is charged with the murder of Victor Collins, who was found dead in the defendant’s bathtub.  Bates claimed that he found Collins after a night of drinking, as the two were coworkers, but the police quickly suspected foul play and the medical examiner deemed the death a homicide.  The part where Amazon (and the issue of privacy rights) comes into play is inside the defendant’s home, where Bates owned an Amazon Echo.  The Echo comes equipped with an “Ask Alexa” feature which records what the user says after they activate “Alexa.”  Amazon retains the recordings of what people say to their Echo in case people want to review them and to help with recognition purposes.  Now the Bentonville police are issuing a warrant to access Bates’s audio recordings to possibly use as evidence against him in his upcoming trial.

This creates an interesting conflict of privacy rights and Amazon has decided to stand their ground, declining to give up the information.  Prosecutor Nathan Smith doesn’t see why they should be able to do this as he makes the case that police search the contents of computers all the time.  He stated, “if Amazon has concerns about trade secrets or intellectual property rights, there are ways to excise such information from what is provided.  I don’t believe there is any rational or legal basis for concluding that one has to comply with a search warrant for one’s home or even the drawing of one’s blood, but not a computer.”  However, computers are distinguishable from the Amazon Echo in the fact that the Amazon device is always listening — though, to be fair, it is only recording when it is activated with the wake word.  But seizing and accessing a computer isn’t the same as seizing a device of a private company and violating the agreements made between that company and its buyer, and possibly violating that buyer’s privacy rights.

Bates’s attorney, Kimberly Weber, of course argues that this search would be a breach of her client’s privacy rights, reasoning that “you have an expectation of privacy in your home, and I have a big problem that law enforcement can use the technology that advances our quality of life against us.”  I’d have to side with Weber’s statement here as the Amazon echo is a fairly intimate device, and forcing the company to give up that kind of client information seems unethical.  But I also, like many others, have big problems with the state of privacy rights in the country and so do technology companies like Amazon and Apple.  Last year, the government demanded that Apple help them crack the iPhone of a mass shooter that killed 14 people, but Apple refused.  Many of the Silicon Valley tech companies stood behind them, including Amazon, as there is an increasing worry over the amount of government intrusion to people’s private information.  This tension between the ever-sophisticated personal devices and privacy rights is bound to increase as these devices proliferate.

New Illinois Laws entering 2017

judge-gavel-1461998806lqwNew Illinois laws of 2017 entered the books January 1st, so Laura Law Office thought it would be a good idea to give a rundown of the most notable ones that will affect residents. So i’ll give some brief descriptions of ten important ones and maybe a brief opinion on them as well.

 

  1. Senate Bill 2746: This bill thankfully eliminates the Sales Tax on essential feminine hygiene products such as Tampons and menstrual pads so that women aren’t forced to spend more money on products that they actually need for their health. These taxes are sometimes called “Pink Taxes” in reference to essential health products being sold as luxury items rather than you know, essential health products. Huffington Post’s Julia Craven gave a nice sum up of what these taxes are, “Pink taxes” refer to the extra funds women spend on certain products and services ― such as feminine hygiene products, razors, haircuts, insurance and even pillows ― over comparable products marketed to men.”

The Bill’s sponsor, democratic Senator Melinda Bush commented, “This is just the start of a conversation about the unfair ‘pink taxes’ women face as they buy products priced higher than similar ones marketed to men or, in this case, as they have to spend on products that men don’t.”  

It’s nice to see a Republican governor sign this bill into effect and make strides towards gender equality.

 

  1. Senate Bill 3129: This bill allows police officers the first preference to adopt retiring police dogs to make sure that the dog and the officer can remain connected even after the dog retires. If the officer doesn’t wish to adopt the dog, than another officer in the department can or the dog would be given to a no kill shelter to help the process of getting adopted by a loving family. I honestly can’t see how anyone would be against this measure, as police dogs have to go through mentally and physically exhausting work to help the force and tend to form special bonds with their commanding officer. Any help in making the dogs retirement more comfortable and loving, while also helping the police officer keep his connection with his canine should be supported.

 

  1. House Bill 4264: This Bill requires beauty professionals such as Cosmetologists, estheticians, nail technicians and hair braiders to take an hour long course every two years in domestic abuse and sexual assault education when renewing or obtaining their licenses. This encourages the beauty workers to look for possible signs of assault on their clients and be more educated on what those signs are. It doesn’t require them to submit mandated reports but rather as the Northwest Harold’s Jordyn Reiland explains “provide resources and tools to those in the field to pass along to their clients if and when they’re needed.”

I believe encouraging more awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault signs to employers who may deal with clients that are victims of them is a good thing. Many domestic violence incidents go unreported and beauty workers often provide a safe conduit to their clients to talk to as Reiland explains, “Although more than 4,700,000 women are physically abused by a partner each year, only 34 percent seek medical treatment and only 25 percent report the incident to police, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Salon managers and owners throughout McHenry County have expressed their support for the bill, citing the close relationship many employees develop with their clients on a regular basis.”

 

Reiland provided some testimonies of supporting beauty workers such as Lisa Mumford, owner of Hair Ink LLC in Mchenry County, “We’re kind of like the psychologists of hair,” Mumford said. “Your clients come in, and a lot of time they get comfortable with you to share what goes on in their lives. You just build that relationship, and they feel very trusted.”

 

Angela Henderson, manager of Hair Cuttery in Crystal Lake makes similar statements as well, “We’re not only hairdressers; we feel like counselors, psychologists,” Henderson said. “Clients feel comfortable with you, and so they tend to open up more.”

 

  1. House Bill 5576: This bill expands birth control coverage beyond what is required by the Affordable care act as the State journal registers Dean Olsen explains,The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance plans nationwide to cover birth-control pills and other contraceptives for women with no out-of-pocket costs. But the law doesn’t require all brands and formulas of pills to be covered without cost sharing. The law also doesn’t prohibit cost sharing for all types of intrauterine and other birth-control devices. HB 5576 requires that all of those options be covered without co-payments or deductibles, at least for women covered through health plans regulated by the state and plans that cover state employees, retirees and their dependents.”

This does not affect women who are covered by self insurance plans but many see it as a step forward in providing easier contraceptive access to all women and gives Illinois “the most comprehensive contraceptive law on the books in the country,” according to EverThrive Illinois’ Kathy Waligora.

Insurance companies naturally opposed the bill citing rising costs for them and no republicans in assembly voted in favor of it. However Waligora sees this bill as a chance to save money in the long run by avoiding unintended pregnancies. She also has cited dozens of complaints by female patients claiming doctors prescribing contraceptives not covered by their insurance. Pro life institutions like the Illinois family institution have claimed that they shouldn’t be forced to cover a contraceptive because they see it as akin to abortion as their director David E Smith claimed, “”No American should be forced to pay for something that violates their deeply held religious beliefs.”

But Waligora makes the point that this isn’t mandating coverage of abortions(which is true) and will save the state in medicaid costs. The American Civil Liberties Union is in favor of the legislation as their spokesman Ed Yohnka comments, “We think that women ought to have access to the full panoply of medications.”

Planned Parenthood also is in favor with public policy director Brigid Leahy stating “This really will be beneficial all around.”

During the debate over the bill in the summer,  Republican Representative Dwight Kay was concerned over the affect on public “morality” that the bill would have  stating  “I seriously question how much promiscuity should an insurance company pay (for).”

I find that quote particularly hypocritical. Advocating against allowing abortions but then refusing affordable access to contraceptives or sexual education that could give women safe options for sex without having to worry about unwanted pregnancies makes little sense.  Kay’s comment is indicative of the very real sexism in government with him condemning women wanting to have safe sex as “Promiscuous.”

 

  1. SB 2228: This bill will finally decriminalize the penalties for Marijuana possession up to 10 grams and make getting punished for small possession punishable with fines between $100-200 rather than any chance of jail time. Previously, possession of 10 grams would be classified as a Class B felony and punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1500 in fines. Also importantly, the bill would get rid of the ridiculous zero tolerance policy the law had for drivers who had any trace of Marijuana in their system, even if it was ingested days or weeks ago. Now there needs to be at least 5 nanogram’s of THC in a person’s blood or 10 nanogram’s in a person’s saliva before being punished. This bill is a nice step in the right direction, though it would be nice to see the provisions expand in the future to actually fully decriminalize marijuana and maybe one day fully legalize it. No person should ever have to serve time in a prison for a nonviolent marijuana offense, no matter how much the person has possessed.

 

  1. SB 2252 & 2907: I’m putting these two together because they have some similar effects on the public and were sponsored by the same Senator.  2252 will require law enforcement officials to accept cash as bail if the person charged chooses that route. According to 34th District Senator Steve Stadelman’s website, “The idea was brought to the senator by Rockford-area resident Kevin Lunsford, whose minor son was arrested for a traffic offense last year. When Lunsford arrived at the Winnebago County Juvenile Center to bail out his son, the credit card machine was broken and the county has a policy to refuse cash. Because of a technology malfunction, Lunsford’s son was forced to sit in the juvenile center the entire weekend – significantly longer than the law requires and at taxpayer expense.” This seems like a win win idea. 2907 will make it so that for a person to be charged with felony criminal property damage, the damage they inflict must exceed $500, rather than the $300 damage it was previous. There had been questions why the threshold of felony property damage was so low.

 

  1. SB 3163: This bill protects workers by banning companies from making their workers sign non-compete agreements if they’re making less than $13.50 an hour. These non compete clauses tend to restrict workers and can be especially harmful to those making around minimum wage salaries.

 

  1. HB 4259: This bill restricts lobbying groups from receiving taxpayer funded pensions so as to try to end abuse of state dollars. Seems logical enough to me.

 

  1. SB 1564: This bill updates the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience law to require that health care facilities adopt procedures to make sure faith based objections can’t jeopardize the patient’s health. According to Dean Olsen, “When dealing with patients who need services that a professional or facility doesn’t provide because of religious views, patients must receive either formal referrals to other providers or information on how to reach providers that might be able to serve the patients.”

This bill wasn’t supported by any republicans of course as pro life people see it as forcing medical professionals to go against their  religious consciences. David E Smith, who was referred to earlier opposing the comprehensive contraceptive law said this, “It is going to force pro-life doctors and nurses to violate their conscience.”

But Brigid Leahy rightfully argues it’s not forcing the doctors to do anything but their job,”This is not a violation of religious freedom. The whole purpose of this is to prevent harm. Religious rights should not be allowed to cause harm to another person.” No medical professional should ever refuse a patient access to crucial health care because of their religious beliefs. It is not fair to the patients.

“This is an important thing for every person seeking health care in Illinois,” ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka said. “I think this really will improve the provision of health care in this state.”

 

  1. HB 6162: This bill requires employers to give their workers greater flexibility in using their sick time. A company providing sick leave to employees now must allow them to use up to half their allotted time to attend to the medical needs of family members. Seems fair to me

 

The laws i’ve described here are laws that overall i’m in agreement with. Obviously there are two sides of most things but these laws feel humane and not an abuse or overreach of government power. Though that might depend on what your definition of abuse or overreach is. The full list of laws can be found here:

And  a brief review of more new laws courtesy of the Illinois State Bar Association can be found http://nprillinois.org/post/illinois-issues-new-laws-2017#stream/0

 

-Jake Morask

(Opinions are mine and don’t represent official view of Laura Law Office)