SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, introduced his "Blue Lives Matter" legislation in order to offer additional legal protections to law enforcement and emergency services personnel.
The legislation came from a campaign pledge Fowler made.
"All lives matter, but in today"s dangerous world our public safety professionals have been placed in a more extreme environment, where they themselves have been made the targets of senseless aggression," Fowler said. "I made a pledge to our Illinois police, correctional officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel, that we would introduce a "Blue Lives Matter" bill which adds these professionals to the current hate crimes statues."
Recent shooting incidents in Louisiana and Texas have magnified the incredible burdens that have been placed on emergency personnel in recent years, Fowler said. Acts of violence against police, correctional officers and other first responders are starting to increase to higher levels not seen in modern years, he said.
Senate Bill 1380 adds peace officers, correctional institution employees, probation and parole officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel to the listing of protected classes under the Illinois Hate Crimes statutes. The legislation applies to local, state, and federal public safety professionals.
Illinois Hate Crimes statutes already exist to protect disabled, racial, religious, national origin, sexual orientation populations.
SB 1380 is currently waiting to be assigned to committee for a legislative hearing.