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New law doubles line-of-duty death benefits

  • J.B. Pritzker

    J.B. Pritzker

 
BY JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com
updated: 7/10/2019 1:01 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- While Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has been touring the state to promote his signing of capital infrastructure and marijuana legalization legislation, several other bills he signed have received less public attention.

House Bill 2028, which passed the state Senate and House unanimously, became law last week. It doubles the death benefits for families of law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. They are now eligible for $20,000, up from $10,000.

"While no amount of money can ease the terrible grief of families who have lost their loved ones because they were killed in the line of duty, I hope we can at least lessen the financial burden of an immeasurable loss of our state's finest," Pritzker said in a statement.

Human Trafficking Measures

Senate Bill 1890 is aimed at cracking down on human trafficking by requiring hotels and motels to train employees in the recognition of human trafficking and protocols for reporting the activity to the appropriate authority.

The measure also codifies penalties for any company that, "knowingly benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture that has engaged in an act of involuntary servitude or involuntary sexual servitude of a minor."

A company can be fined up to $100,000 for engaging in this activity, while a person would be charged with a Class 1 Felony.

Traffic Stop Data

A program for collecting data about traffic stops, initially sponsored by former President Barack Obama when he was still serving in the Illinois Senate, was put on the books permanently with Pritzker's signature of House Bill 1613.

Pritzker's office said in a release the data collection law, which was set to expire this year, "is an important tool for police officers and the public to identify and combat racial disparities in law enforcement."

The new law also creates a task force to study how the data collected can best be used to address racial disparities in traffic stops.

The task force will be comprised of police representatives, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois or a designee, six representatives of various police unions, five representatives of community organizations, one professor from an Illinois university that specializes in racial equity, and two academics or researchers with backgrounds studying traffic stop data.

The task force must report to the governor and General Assembly by March 1, 2022, and every three years thereafter.

Credit Card Debt Task Force

Last week, the governor also signed House Bill 1581 to create the College Student Credit Card Marketing and Debt Task Force.

Representatives from Southern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Eastern Illinois University, the attorney general's office and statewide organizations representing credit unions, community banks and banks will make up the task force.

The eight-member group will seek to reduce the amount of credit card debt students face after graduating from higher education institutions in Illinois and will work with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

A report of findings is due to the General Assembly by Dec. 14, 2019.

Online Lotto

House Bill 3661 gave the Illinois Lottery expanded authority to sell various game tickets on its online platform. The bill allows for the online sale of Lotto, Lucky Day Lotto, Mega Millions, Powerball, Pick 3, Pick 4 and other draw games offered at retail locations.