Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar ? (2023)

It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. Kyle Hillman…

Hey Rich,

I saw on your blog [yesterday] a reference to The Center Square article on HB 4305. The author states, “As Illinois law stands today, parents can be charged with neglect if they leave children under the age of 14 home alone – even for a short time. The law is rarely enforced.” The author is correct that it is rarely enforced, likely because that isn’t Illinois law.

Despite what a conservative “policy” institute has been pitching the past couple of years, Illinois law actually allows you to leave children under 14 home alone. The specific section of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 that is often erroneously cited states minors are neglected when: (d) any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor’s welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor;

I emphasized the second half as this seems to be the part that is conveniently left out. Under this section, you can leave your 13-year-old child home alone, in a safe environment, while they babysit. What you can’t do is leave that same 13-year-old home alone babysitting in a house with no heat while their parents go on a two-week vacation. Factors already listed in the act determine what constitutes unreasonable time and regard for mental or physical health, safety, or welfare. Factors that include things like: does the child have special needs, what are the conditions of the house, whether the minor’s movement was restricted, whether there was food or a way to call for help, etc.

It isn’t about the age in Illinois but the factors and conditions in which you left the minor unsupervised. Honestly, we are still unsure why a previous General Assembly inserted the age under 14 in this section. As an association, we don’t believe a 14+ minor should be left home alone for an unreasonable amount of time in unsafe conditions either.

While it is apparent that parents need clarity around unsupervised minors, that clarity needs to occur in a way that doesn’t further erode protections for Illinois minors who are legitimately being neglected. We are confident the sponsor’s final version of HB4305 will accomplish that.

Kyle Hillman
Director, Legislative Affairs
National Associaton of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter

* Yvette Shields at the Bond Buyer

Illinois would extend two pension buyout programs by two years funded by $1 billion in additional borrowing authority under legislation being advanced during the current session.

The existing buyout programs began in 2018 under the administration of former Gov. Bruce Rauner. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the legislature in 2019 extended it to June 30, 2024. The buyouts are funded by $1 billion in general obligation borrowing capacity, $175 million of which was tapped in the state’s last bond sale last December. Only $115 million in authority remains.

House Bill 4292, sponsored by Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, which cleared a House committee in a bipartisan vote last week would push the expiration to June 30, 2026, and permit another $1 billion of borrowing.

It’s “a completely voluntary way” to remove the onerous 3% compounded cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) out of the equation for eligible pension fund participants “that would reduce our long-term unfunded liability and in turn reduce how much money every year we have to put into our pensions,” Morgan told the House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

* Not a state bill, but…

Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-Illinois) introduced two bills to fully re-open our schools and put students first. The Make Our Schools Great Again Act would prohibit federal funding from going schools that impose mask or COVID-19 vaccine mandates and the Liberating Learning for Kids Act would prohibit federal funding from going to schools that do not provide in-person instruction for all students.

“It’s time to put our students first,” Miller said. “Children have lost four school years, and we now have 8th graders preparing for high school who haven’t had a normal school year since 5th grade. Our country will fall further behind China because weak politicians are afraid to stand up to the woke teachers’ union,” Miller said. “Our government cannot continue to fund schools that put our children last. If we allow these requirements to continue, our children will lose their curiosity, love for learning, and emotional resilience. Our nation’s children and their parents deserve better.”

* Press release…

To give consumers options in contracts set to automatically renew, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) introduced a measure to require companies to give a clear notification of the agreement’s terms before the consumer accepts.

“Automatic renewal contracts have become increasingly popular in recent years due to streaming services, retail, cell phone companies and more,” said Glowiak Hilton, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. “To ensure consumers are aware of the automatic renewal commitment, this initiative requires companies to reiterate the contract before consumers accept its terms.”

These consumer protection initiatives make several updates to the state’s Automatic Contract Renewal Act. Current protections are improved by requiring companies to give written notice to consumers before a contract renews and explain what the terms will be, and allowing consumers to end contracts obtained online by visiting the website or by calling.

Businesses who offer a free trial period will also be required to give written notice to the consumer before the promotional period ends.

“Consumers deserve to know what’s in their contracts with large companies through clear communication,” Glowiak Hilton said. “We can offer protection from deceitful business practices by discussing and advancing measures that work to ensure consumers are aware of the contract’s terms and have the opportunity to cancel if they wish.”

Senate Bill 3447 awaits to be assigned to a committee.

* Press release…

Following a ProPublica report that found a patient at a Chicago-based psychiatric ward knowingly sexually assaulted another patient but was not reported to the police, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is leading a measure through the General Assembly to legally require such incidents to be immediately brought to law enforcement.

“Timely investigations into alleged mental, physical or sexual misconduct must be taken seriously – especially when the victim is already facing grave mental health struggles,” Morrison said. “This isn’t just about transparency – it’s about human safety and decency.”

Morrison’s proposal requires hospital staff to report to law enforcement and the Illinois Department of Public Health if a patient physically, mentally or sexually abuses another patient. Currently, only abuse committed by a staff member of a health care facility must be reported.

On June 24, a patient in the psychiatric unit of Roseland Community Hospital was caught on a surveillance video committing – what is said to most likely be – sexual assault toward another patient. However, the facility did not immediately contact law enforcement until it was questioned by ProPublica months later.

To ensure patients are given the same protections against other patients as they are against hospital staff, Morrison is leading the charge to update the Hospital Licensing Act to include patient-on-patient abuse as misconduct that must be immediately reported.

“By not immediately contacting law enforcement and launching an investigation, we are signaling to the survivor that we don’t care and signaling to the perpetrator that they can harm someone else,” Morrison said. “Passing this measure shouldn’t need to be a conversation – it is common sense.”

Senate Bill 2977 awaits a hearing in the Senate Health Committee.

  1. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 12:34 pm:

    “”Children have lost four school years”"

    Is this some kind of alternate math, Rep Miller?

  2. - Jabes - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    I’m horrified Julie Morrison’s bill is even necessary. It seems like common sense to report a sexual crime that’s been witnessed when the victim, who is under the facility’s care, likely does not have access to a phone and cannot report it themselves.

  3. - tea_and_honey - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 12:37 pm:

    ==“It’s time to put our students first,” Miller said. “Children have lost four school years..==

    Even if you write off the entire 2019-2020 school year despite only the last 9 week or so actually being impacted by COVID

  4. - tea_and_honey - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    (sorry, hit enter too soon)

    Even if you write off the entire 2019-2020 school year despite only the last 9 weeks or so actually being impacted by COVID I’m still not seeing how you get to losing four years.

  5. - Lurker - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 1:00 pm:

    Make Our Schools Great Again Act

    I’m laughing so hard. And Rich, you forgot your obligatory “no relation”. I would advise that is important to include anytime Mary is involved.

  6. - Stormsw7706 - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 1:06 pm:

    Mary is just using her super math powers to combat woke math and critical math theory. If we all start saying 2 + 2 = 4 we are not recognizing the freedom of people who say it is 3. Mary is running for Congress in my district as a newcomer. Here is my Math. Mary = 0 terms and Rodney = 2.

  7. - H-W - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 1:07 pm:

    =The Make Our Schools Great Again Act= and the +Liberating Learning for Kids Act=

    Boy, these two Millers sure are jewels in the rough, aren’t they? Very creative. I bet they have a few other gems in the works.

  8. - Montrose - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 1:08 pm:

    “The Make Our Schools Great Again Act”

    Is that part of the contract folks sign for a Trump endorsement? Everything you do has to follow the “Make _________ Great Again” formula?

  9. - Bruce( no not him) - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 2:01 pm:

    ==Rich, you forgot your obligatory “no relation”==
    So maybe an admission he really is related? S/

  10. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 2:06 pm:

    Every student learning in classrooms? There are public schools that are digital only. And the parents voluntarily choose them. And there are children with disabilities and illnesses that make COVID (and other childhood illnesses) dangerous to them. Is she suggesting just ignoring those children? Is digital instruction worse or better than a weekly or daily visit from a homebound teacher?

  11. - Lt Guv - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 2:08 pm:

    “I’ll have what she’s having.” On 2nd thought, ummm, no.

  12. - Frank talks - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 3:54 pm:

    Sorry - Mary not Marty face palm emoji please

  13. - Purple Bear - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 5:20 pm:

    The excerpt of the Juvenile Court Act law is not very clear at all. You shouldn’t need to look up judicial opinions or consult a lawyer to know what you’re allowed (or not) to do as part of basic parenting responsibilities.

  14. - Been There - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 8:53 pm:

    Late to this post also but thanks Kyle. I figured we were guilty of at least a thousand crimes over the years having our older kids watch our youngest ones. Along with hundreds of neighborhood kids while they made a few bucks.

  15. - ANON - Tuesday, Jan 25, 22 @ 9:13 pm:

    It is my understanding that no one witnessed the attack–that hospital leadership viewed the incident weeks later on surveillance video and then immediately reported. Hospital workers are all mandated reporters of abuse–so just another law not needed that will result in more litigation against hospitals in a state that already is an extreme outlier on medical liability.

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