UPDATE 6/1/21: HB 2542 did not pass in the General Assembly during the scheduled session. We look forward to continuing to work on this legislation.
HB 2542 would repeal and amend restrictions and outdated provisions contained in Illinois’ name change law - one of the most restrictive in the nation.
- Illinoisans with felony convictions are denied the ability to change their names, including on identity documents, for a full decade after they complete their sentence. Illinois is one of only eight states with this kind of restriction.
- Illinois is also one of only 12 states that prohibit name changes for people on registries and one of only two states that prohibit name changes for people with identity theft convictions.
The current law creates yet another barrier for people living with felony records, and has an especially harmful impact on vulnerable communities who face mistreatment and identity based discrimination, including survivors of human trafficking, transgender individuals, and poor people of color who occupy one, or both, of those identities.
HB 2542 would bring Illinois in line with other states around the nation by:
- Removing the ten year waiting period for people with felony convictions
- Removing the lifetime ban for people with identity theft convictions
- Adding a judicial discretion exception for people seeking a name change due to gender-related identity, marriage, religion and status as a human trafficking survivor to the registration period ban in the Sex Offender, Arsonist and Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Acts
- Improving efficiency by focusing the grounds for State’s Attorney objections on petitions filed by people with pending charges, a conviction of identity theft or aggravated identity theft or a conviction requiring registration with the Sex Offender Registry
- Increasing transparency by requiring notice of objections served on petitioners
- Streamlining procedure with a statewide, standardized petition