Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

To sign or not to sign: a legislative session roundup

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

ILLINOIS_PENSIONS_39522445.JPGGov. Pat Quinn, pictured here in Chicago speaking about the possibility of a special session to deal with pension reform, has an array of bills awaiting his approval now that the Legislature's regular session has ended. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

SPRINGFIELD-Amid the Capitol's last-minute hubbub, state lawmakers fast-tracked several important, sometimes overlooked, pieces of legislation to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk in the final few days of the Legislature's regular session.

It's now up to Quinn to decide what will become law. He has 60 days to sign a bill once it reaches his desk. Any veto by Quinn can be overridden in the Legislature's fall session with 36 votes in the Senate and 71 votes in the House.

Here's a list of some of the more significant bills legislators passed last week that may not have dominated headlines. The bills' language, voting records and Quinn's updated positions on many of them are included.

***Firearms regulations - Passed May 31 - Passed Senate 41-15-1 - Passed House 70-48. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

The bill would require private firearm vendors to verify with the State Police before selling or transferring ownership of a gun that the person receiving the gun has a valid Firearm Owners Identification card. It also mandates owners of lost or stolen firearms to report the incident to police within 72 hours of discovery. The bill becomes law upon being signed.

***Lowering mandatory school age - Passed May 30 - Passed House 64-52 - Passed Senate 39-18. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

Under the bill, children turning six years old on or before September 1 of each school year must attend a public school in their districts if not already enrolled in different schools. Children are presently not required to start until age seven. The bill would become law July 1, 2013 if Quinn signs it and would take effect at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

***Online voter registration - Passed May 30 - Passed Senate 32-20-3 - Passed House 66-49-2. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

With a driver's license and the last four digits of their social security numbers, voters would be able to register to vote through the state Board of Election's website. Just one part of a larger voter-registration reform bill, the idea is meant to encourage registration and lower its cost. The idea becomes law on October 1, 2013 if Quinn signs it.

***Mobile devices to prove insurance - Passed May 28 - Passed Senate 56-0 - Passed House 117-0. Quinn's office said he is neutral.

Illinois motorists would be able to prove they have automobile insurance by showing police an electronic image of their insurance cards using their cell phones. Police would not be permitted to search phones for other reasons. Insurance companies would be allowed to offer discounts for electing to use the electronic version. The bill becomes law upon being signed.

***School bus cameras - Passed May 31 - Passed House 64-54 - Passed Senate 38-16-2. Quinn said he is reviewing the bill.

The bill allows school districts the opportunity to partner with a city or county to hire a company of their choice to equip school buses with cameras, which would photograph the license plates of vehicles that pass the bus while its 'stop-arm' is deployed. Offenders would not face moving violations but would pay a $150 first-time fine that would jump to $500 for further offenses. The school district and the city or county would split the proceeds. The bill becomes law upon being signed and can be enforced once traffic signs are posted.

***Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act - Passed May 31 - Passed Senate 55-0-2 - Passed House 108-10. Quinn's office said he supports it.

The bill would require the Department of Natural Resources to do a four-year analysis of the lake's shoreline to find suitable areas for offshore wind turbines. The analysis would be done at no cost to the state, and afterwards, DNR would work with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and other groups to promulgate rules governing the wind farms and to award companies assessment permits. The bill becomes law upon being signed.

***Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act - Passed May 31 - Passed House 105-12 - Passed Senate 58-0. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

Police would not be allowed to use unmanned aircrafts to gather information except in a few situations, under the bill. Police could use drones in certain scenarios like to counter a terrorist attack, locate a missing person or gather information specifically for crime scenes and traffic crash scene photography. Police would have to obtain a 45-day warrant first, except in certain emergencies when they could use drones for no more than 48 hours. The bill becomes law upon being signed.

***Criminalizes failure to report hazing - Passed May 31 - Passed Senate 58-0 - Passed House 118-0. Quinn's office said he is reviewing the bill.

The measure would make failure to report hazing illegal and carry a Class B misdemeanor. Any school official performing school duties who personally observes an act that results in bodily harm to any person and fails to report the act to supervisors would be liable. If the act results in death or serious bodily harm, the witnessing school official would have to report the incident to police, and failure to do so would be punishable by a Class A misdemeanor. The bill becomes law upon being signed.

***Other significant bills awaiting Quinn's approval...

*Medical marijuana - Passed May 17 - Passed House 61-57 - Passed Senate 35-21. Quinn's office said he is reviewing the bill.

*Concealed carry - Passed May 31 - Passed Senate 45-12-1. Passed House 89-28. Quinn's office said he is reviewing the bill.

*DePaul basketball arena / south suburban airport - Passed May 31. Passed House 81-35-1. Passed Senate 38-17-2. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

*Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") regulation - Passed May 31 - Passed House 108-9. Passed Senate 52-3-4. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

*Medicaid expansion - Passed May 28 - Passed House 63-55. Passed Senate 39-20. Quinn's office said he will sign it.

*Ban on hand-held cell phones while driving - Passed May 28 - Passed Senate 34-20 - Passed House 69-48. Quinn's office said he is neutral.

*Ban on under-18 use of tanning facilities without parental permission - Passed May 20. Passed House 67-49. Passed Senate 34-12. Quinn's office said he is neutral.

*Abstinence-based sexual education in public schools - Passed May 22 - Passed House 66-52. Passed Senate 37-21. Quinn's office said he supports it.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/58079

Leave a comment