The Senate Criminal Law Committee tackled the issue of "sexting," a
growing social trend where explicit photos or videos are sent via
cell phone or e-mail to someone else. The bill is aimed at people
younger than 18, as sexting has become increasingly prevalent among
young people in recent years.
Currently, there is little that could be done to address sexting
aside from pursuing felony child pornography charges -- which
prosecutors are reluctant to do.
Senate Bill 2513 seeks to create a middle ground.
Under the legislation, minors who electronically send indecent
images of themselves can be brought into juvenile court for
proceedings to determine if they are in need of supervision. If the
young person is found to be in need of supervision, he or she could
be ordered into counseling or other supportive services. The minor
may also be ordered to complete community service.
Senate Bill 2513 also makes it a misdemeanor crime for any
person, regardless of their age, to possess an explicit visual image
transmitted to them by a minor. This controversial provision sparked
concern that the creator and sender of the image could be found to
have committed a lesser offense, while the person who received the
unsolicited image would be guilty of a higher penalty. However,
there would be no possession offense if the person receiving the
image takes reasonable steps to eliminate the image within a
Questions were raised about whether the issue of sexting is a
topic best handled by the parents and educators. There are also ways
for a minor to get around the legislation simply by having friends
take the picture and then having them send it to someone else.
Nonetheless, the bill was passed by the Senate Criminal Law
Committee and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.
On Feb. 24, the Senate approved legislation targeting the state’s
controversial legislative scholarship program. The program came
under fire after media reports revealed that General Assembly
scholarships had been awarded to students who are family of campaign
contributors or influential acquaintances.
Senate Bill 365 would allow a legislator to opt out of the
legislative scholarship program. The measure also prohibits a
legislator from nominating a person for a scholarship if that person
or an immediate family member has made a campaign contribution at
any time during the last five years to the lawmaker who would award
the scholarship. The bill also requires the individual nominated to
have already been admitted to a state-supported university.
A number of lawmakers argued that the program should be
eliminated completely to avoid future improprieties, though many
noted that Senate Bill 365 is an adequate first step. Opponents of
the legislation contend that the scholarships provide a much-needed
opportunity for students who would not otherwise have the
opportunity to attend college.
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Finally, members of the Senate passed
Senate Bill 355, a bill that will move the general primary
election from February to the third Tuesday of March in
Currently Illinois boasts the nation’s earliest primary. The
primary date was moved to February a couple of years ago to benefit
Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential bid. Lawmakers voted Feb.
24 to return the primary date to mid-March, saying that reinstating
the March primary date will help increase voter turnout and improve
the overall process.
Other bills passed by Senate committees during the week of Feb.
Alternative school program (SB 2489) -- States that a school
district must allow a suspended or expelled student to attend an
alternative school program, if available, for the duration of the
suspension or expulsion.
School mandate waiver (SB 2980) -- Allows a school board to waive
some curricular mandates for which it does not receive state
Educational mandates (SB 3000) -- Creates the Instructional
Mandates Task Force to study instructional mandates governing public
schools and to make recommendations to the General Assembly on
existing and future mandates and the waivers of said mandates.
Race factors in school discipline (SR 560) -- Creates the Task
Force on Eliminating Racial Bias in Suspensions and Expulsions to
examine the causes of the racial gap in suspension and expulsion
rates and to submit a report to the General Assembly by April 15.
High-speed rail (SB 2571): Creates the High-Speed Rail Authority
to address issues relating to the creation of a high-speed railroad
system in Illinois.
Property taxes (SB 2950): Protects people with developmental
disabilities from losing homes due to nonpayment of property taxes
[Text from file sent on behalf of
Larry Bomke by Illinois
Senate Republican staff]