Illinois Expands Protections for Former Criminal Offenders

After Governor Bruce Rauner signed two new bills into law in August of 2017, Illinois will feature enhanced protection of rights for former criminal offenders, according to an article by Illinois Policy. The goal of both bills is to help former criminal offenders find gainful employment and integrate back into their communities.

The first bill, House Bill 2373 (HB2373), adjusts the requirements for record sealing under the Criminal Identification Act. This bill expands the conditions under which a former criminal offender can apply for record sealing. Individuals who did not commit violent or sexual felonies are eligible for record sealing. If a criminal record is sealed, the general public and private employers are unable to access the records without a court order.

Additionally, HB2373 allows the Illinois courts to seal records in cases of public indecency, which is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense. HB2373 [...]

Illinois Attorney General Continues Battle Against Sexual Assault

In July 2017, Attorney General Lisa Madigan rolled out comprehensive guidelines for responding to sexual assault in Illinois, according to a press release from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. With detailed instructions on how to respond to complaints of sexual abuse, Illinois law enforcement will be in a better position to help and support victims.

Titled “Comprehensive Guidelines for Law Enforcement Policies on Responding to and Investigating Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse,” Madigan’s initiative mandates a number of changes, including updates to reporting policy, test results and test consent.

    Reporting: Authorities must prepare reports in writing for every claim of sexual assault. It does not matter who reported the crime or where the crime happened. Test Results: Victims have the power to ask for the test results concerning sexual assault evidence. But if the release of such information would jeopardize an open
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Illinois Judge Declares Ballot Photo Law Unconstitutional

An Illinois judge declared that the state law prohibiting ballot photos was unconstitutional, according to an article by the Belleville News-Democrat. On Election Day in 2016, a Madison County man attempted to take “ballot selfie” after voting. An election official told the Madison County man not to take a photo of his ballot. The reason was simple. Taking a photo of your ballot violates Illinois law.

In response, the Madison County man brought a lawsuit against the county clerk, contending that this law violates First Amendment rights. After considering the arguments of both parties, a Madison County associate judge declared the law unconstitutional.

Contained in 10 ILCS 5/29-9 and titled “Unlawful observation of voting,” Illinois law prohibits individuals from intentionally voting in a manner that “can be observed by another person.” Illinois law under the same section also prohibits individuals from intentionally observing “another person lawfully marking a ballot [...]

Illinois Considers Legalization of Marijuana

With a statewide budget crisis in full swing, Illinois legislators are mulling over the legalization and taxation of marijuana as a potential solution, according to an article by DNAinfo.

Separate bills proposed by State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Kelly Cassidy both advocate for the legalization of marijuana, commonly referred to as cannabis in Illinois law. The bills would allow adults to “possess, grow, and buy small amounts of marijuana.”

Voting on both bills was intentionally delayed until the start of the next legislative session in January. This delay will give legislators a chance to research and solicit feedback in advance of voting.

Despite the proposed legislation, it is important to remember that cannabis remains illegal in Illinois. That is why we will explore Illinois laws governing cannabis in the sections below.

What are the Laws in Illinois Concerning Cannabis?

The Cannabis Control Act (the Act) outlines the [...]