At the end of each year, we publish a list of new laws set to take effect on Jan. 1. While a great deal of the General Assembly’s focus in 2016 was on the ongoing Illinois budget stalemate and a stopgap budget to keep vital programs and services going, a variety of new laws regarding safety, ethics, criminal justice reform, and employment wages and benefits will become effective Jan. 1.

Here are our Top 10 New Illinois Laws for 2017.

SPRINGFIELD — A key legislative initiative introduced by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), giving children in police custody for certain crimes would have greater protection when being interrogated by police under legislation was signed into law by the governor.

Senate Bill 2370, which passed in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives with bipartisan support, requires that minors under 15 years of age who are charged with murder or sex offenses must be represented by counsel throughout the entire custodial interrogation. The bill allows public defenders or attorneys under contract with the county to have access to these minors under 15 years of age during custodial interrogations. SB 2370 requires a simplified version of Miranda warnings be given to minors under the age of 18. Finally, SB 2370 requires videotaping of all custodial interrogations of minors charged with misdemeanor sex offenses or any felony offense.

“I consider this a huge win for those who are underrepresented in this state. As this bill was signed today let us reflect on those lives who have been negatively impacted, prior to this legislative, specifically Trevon Yates ,” Van Pelt said

Trevon Yates, then 17 years old, was arrested in 2013, by St. Clair County deputies and questioned in connection with a robbery of a couple that was lured to a parking lot in Belleville, where they expected to meet someone who had advertised an iPhone for sale on Craigslist. A two-hour interrogation video shows the East St. Louis teen repeatedly professing his innocence, begging for his mother and praying to God, before being coerced into confession by sheriff’s detectives.

Yates, who has diminished cognitive ability, was charged with armed robbery and spent nine months in jail before the charges were eventually dismissed after additional evidence cleared him of any wrongdoing. He was later awarded a $900,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit alleging the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department violated his civil rights.

Previous law only required minors under 13 years of age who are charged with murder or sex offenses to be represented by counsel during custodial interrogations. The law is set to take effect January 1, 2017.

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PVP Press Conference final

CHICAGO - Last Wednesday, State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), who represents some of Chicago'€™s most violence-stricken neighborhoods, standing with colleagues and members of the community called for accountability within the Chicago Police Department. Van Pelt is sponsoring legislation a series a legislative initiatives directly targeting that lack of accountability: SB 2210, SB 2231 and SB 2233.

The package of bills pertains to creating an independent police review board, retention of police misconduct records and FOIA requests detailing police misconduct.

"Accountability has been a major issue throughout the City of Chicago, specifically as it relates to policing. Introducing and passing these measures are a strong step in the right direct," Sen. Van Pelt said.

In the past year, Illinois has seen numerous efforts from the General Assembly to pass measures for policing reform. Most notably, Senate Bill 1304, a measure signed into law by the governor after passing both chambers, establishes wide-ranging rules for body cameras, largely prohibits chokeholds, introduces bias-free policing and demands more data collection on arrests.

EnviroTownHall102615Senator Patricia Van Pelt will sponsor an Environmental Town Hall with the Illinois Sierra Club, Faith in Place and the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

This is an opportunity to hear Illinois’ top environmental leaders give their up-to-the-minute analysis of environmental and   conservation issues, including the status of legislation that would create 32,000 new jobs a year in energy efficiency and clean  power. Come explore issues that have an impact on the health of your family, as well as on the health of the natural world.


 Monday, October 26, 2015 from 6pm to 7:30 pm.

The Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 North Central Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60624

For more information, call (312) 251-1680.
    

Directions:

By car: Take the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290). Exit at Independence Boulevard (Exit 26A) and travel north. Turn right (east) onto Washington Boulevard. Turn left (north) onto Central Park Avenue (3600W). Travel two blocks north past the Garfield Park Golden Dome field house and the Lake Street public transit line. The Conservatory is on the west side of the street at 300 N. Central Park Ave.

By train: Take the Green Line to the “Conservatory” exit.