With the 2019 session at a close, the ACLU of Illinois is proud of the resounding legislative victories for civil liberties that have come out of the one of the busiest legislative sessions to date. The ACLU of Illinois has worked relentlessly to promote, expand, and defend civil liberties in Springfield ranging from securing reproductive freedom as a fundamental right, increasing voter access for pre-trial detainees, promoting child welfare, and maintaining privacy protections and transparency in policing. Here is a look at some of our victories.



Illinois Reproductive Health Act (RHA): Senate Bill 25

Chief Sponsors: Senator Melinda Bush and Representative Kelly Cassidy
Status: Signed by Governor  |  Effective Date: June 12, 2019
The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) establishes the fundamental right to make individual decisions about the wide range of reproductive health care for all people in Illinois. The RHA updates Illinois’ updates laws making it clear that the state should treat abortion, contraception, and maternal care like all other healthcare, with regulations that reflect current medical standards. The RHA also codifies current standards of medical practice regarding who can perform abortions, requires private health insurance plans in Illinois to cover abortion care like they do other pregnancy related care.

Action: Thank Governor PRITZKER FOR SIGNING


Increasing Voter Access and Education: Senate Bill 2090

Chief Sponsors: Senator Omar Aquino and Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch 
Status: Signed by Governor  |  Effective Date: January 1, 2020
SB 2090 requires county jails and election authorities to collaborate in creating a process that gives pre-trial detainees an opportunity to cast their ballots during elections. Furthermore, this legislation requires the Illinois Department of Corrections and county jails to provide eligible citizens released from their custody a voter registration application and information about their voting rights. 

Permanent Traffic and Pedestrian Data Collection by Law Enforcement: House Bill 1613

Chief Sponsors: Senator Elgie Sims Jr and Representative Justin Slaughter 
Status: Signed by Governor |  Effective Date: June 21, 2019
HB 1613 makes the current Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act permanent in Illinois. Illinois law enforcement agencies are now permanently required to document data on traffic and pedestrian stops including the driver’s race, why the driver was stopped, whether a search was conducted, whether contraband was found, and the outcome of the stop (e.g., a citation). This data provides insight into the effectiveness and consequences of certain law enforcement tactics; gives agencies an opportunity to evaluate their own departments; and allows law enforcement leaders to compare themselves to other agencies across the state. This bill creates a task force within the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to study the best use of technology to collect, compile, and analyze the data. These findings will be reported on every three years.



Maintaining Reasonable Expectations of Privacy: House Bill 2134

Chief Sponsors: Senator Don Harmon and Representative Ann Williams
Status: Signed by Governor  |  Effective Date: August 23, 2019
HB 2134 amends the existing Illinois Freedom from Location Surveillance Act to require law enforcement to also obtain a warrant before accessing historical location information. Previously, only current and future historical location information required a warrant. HB 2134 recognizes the 2018 Carpenter v. United States ruling that cell phone users have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment in historical cell site location data in addition to current or future location information. 



Protecting LGBTQ Youth in Care: Senate Resolution 403 

Chief Sponsors: Senator Julie Morrison 
Status: Resolution Adopted  |  Effective Date: May 31, 2019
SR 403 seeks to determine whether the Department of Children and Family Services is following state law and agency rules to fulfill its obligations to protect LGBTQ youth in its custody and provide affirming, non-discriminatory care for LGBTQ youth in its custody. 


Promoting Child Welfare: House Resolution 362

Chief Sponsors: Representative Mary Flowers 
Status: Resolution Adopted  |  Effective Date: May 30, 2019
HR 362 urges state implementation of child welfare reform pursuant to the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).  By implementing the FFPSA, Illinois invests in a child welfare system responsive to the specific needs of children and their families, safely prevents the unnecessary placement of children into the foster care system, supports families using promising programs and well-supported practices, and promotes family-based settings for children who enter the foster care system.


Repeal of Forced Parental Involvement Law

Chief Sponsors: Senator Elgie Sims Jr.
Contact: Your State Senator and State Representative
Repeals the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act, which requires a healthcare provider to notify an adult family member (parent, legal guardian, grandparent, of step-parent living in the household) at least 48 hours prior to performing an abortion for a patient under 18. 

License to Work Act 

Update: This bill passed during Veto Session
Chief Sponsors: Senator Omar Aquino and Representative Carol Ammons 
Contact: Your State Representative 
Removes driver’s license suspension as a sanction for failure to pay parking tickets, and for most other non-moving violations.
Reinstates tens of thousands of licenses currently suspended for non-driving offenses. 

Ban the Box in Higher Education

Chief Sponsors: Representative Mary Flowers 
Contact: Your State Representative and State Senator
“Bans the box” in the higher education admissions process and prevents colleges and universities from asking about or considering a person’s criminal record for purposes of admission. 


Defelonization of Drug Possession

Chief Sponsors: Representative Carol Ammons 
Contact: Your State Representative and State Senator
Reclassifies penalties for simple possession of small quantities of controlled substances as misdemeanors rather than felonies. Allows retroactive resentencing of people convicted under the existing laws. Creates a new diversion program to help people obtain appropriate treatment and avoid criminal records. 


Increase Felony Thresholds for Property Crimes

Chief Sponsors: Representative Justin Slaughter 
Contact: Your State Representative and State Senator
Currently Illinois law provides that theft and retail theft offenses are prosecuted as felonies when the value of the stolen goods is as little as $300. This measure would modernize the law by increasing the thresholds to $2,500, in order to reduce the numbers of people imprisoned and burdened with felony records for low-level property crimes. 


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Find out more about our legislative initiatives