“We need to do whatever we can to engage more people and give them the opportunity to exercise their rights” –State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

042116CM1503RTSPRINGFIELD- Currently there are more than 2 million Illinoisans who are eligible to vote, but aren’t registered.

To alleviate this problem, Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) cosponsored Senate Bill 250 which would automatically register eligible citizens when they renew their drivers’ license or state ID.

“This is a simple way for us to empower more people to be active in the democratic process,” Bennett said. “We need to do whatever we can to engage more people and give them the opportunity to exercise their rights.”

Statistics have shown currently of all voting-age eligible Illinoisans, 42 percent of black citizens, 57.8 percent of Asian citizens and 33 percent of all females are not registered.  

Under current law eligible citizens are allowed to register when they renew their license or state ID. Senate Bill 250 would change the rule from an “opt-in” system where citizens have to actively register to “opt-out” where they can choose to not register to vote.

Estimates show the annual county-level costs throughout the country for voter registration is at least $1 billion or about one-third of the total county-level cost of administering elections.

Senate Bill 250 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

021715CM0990resizeforwebSPRINGFIELD- Illinois no longer would have time constraints on prosecuting alleged child sex offenders under legislation introduced by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

The legislation was prompted by last week’s developments involving former Republican U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who admitted in court that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a wrestling coach in Yorkville.

“We shouldn’t reward people who are lucky enough to not get caught,” Bennett said. “Often victims of abuse take some time to find the courage to address these horrific crimes. They should have the option when they are ready to confront their abuser.”

In court last week, Judge Thomas Durkin noted that Hastert avoided serious legal consequences because of current statute of limitations in Illinois’ state courts.

Statute of limitations restricts the time during which authorities can charge someone with a crime.

Bennett’s initiative would remove the statute of limitations for felony criminal sexual abuse and sex crimes against children, which allows for the prosecution of these offenses at any time.

Under current law cases similar to the charges brought against Hastert, victims must report cases of abuse within 20 years after they have turned 18.  

Senate Bill 3402 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate’s Criminal Law Committee on Wednesday, May 4 at 9 a.m. in Room 400 in the Capitol Building. 

CHAMPAIGN – Working to bring state services to seniors in Urbana and Danville, State Senator Scott Bennett (D–Champaign) is hosting free senior workshops next week.  

URBANA:

Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Time: noon to 1 p.m.
Location: Urbana Free Library (210 W Green St., Urbana)


DANVILLE:

Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016
Time: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Location: CRIS Healthy Aging Center (309 N. Franklin Street, Danville)

Description:

A representative from the Illinois Attorney General’s office will be present to educate seniors with updated information on financial exploitation and scams, their rights under new credit card rules and how to protect themselves and friends from scam artists.

To accommodate all guests, Sen. Bennett is asking participants to register by calling his full-time Constituent Service Office in Champaign at (217) 355-5252.

For more information, visit www.SenatorBennett.com or call 217-355-5252.

Joint Sexual Assault Working Group Details Legislation to Encourage Survivors to Report Crimes, Improve Training for Law Enforcement & Ensure Justice & Healing for Survivors


campuswalkingSPRINGFIELD– Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with the co-chairs of the Joint Sexual Assault Working Group to announce legislation to encourage more sexual assault survivors to come forward and increase the successful prosecution of sexual assault crimes in Illinois.


Senate Bill 3096, sponsored by Sen. Scott Bennett, was drafted with the Joint Sexual Assault Working Group led by Madigan, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly and Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) Executive Director Polly Poskin. The legislation will improve the response of law enforcement, including 911 operators, first responders and investigators, to sexual assault survivors through evidence-based, trauma-informed, and victim-centered policies, procedures, training and practices. The measure also enhances procedures for the transmission of evidence from hospital emergency personnel to law enforcement.  

“Our working group took a comprehensive and honest look at how the criminal justice system handles sexual assault cases,” Madigan said. “This legislation will require best practices for sexual assault cases statewide that encourages survivors to come forward and ensure that justice is being served.”


“The majority of sexual assault survivors do not report their attacks to law enforcement for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they don’t think they will be believed or receive justice,” said Bennett, a former prosecutor. “I appreciate Attorney General Madigan’s leadership on this important legislation, which will help encourage survivors to come forward and receive support.”  


The bill will make the following changes to improve the response to sexual assault crimes in Illinois:


•    Law enforcement agencies and 911 centers will be required to put in place evidence-based, trauma-informed, victim-centered policies governing responses to sexual assault.
•    Law enforcement officers will be required to complete written reports of every sexual assault complaint, regardless of who is reporting the crime and where it occurred.
•    Victim-sensitive training will be increased for law enforcement investigators, first responders and 911 operators.
•    Survivors will be able to request updates on the status of the testing of their sexual assault evidence by the state crime lab. Illinois State Police will be required to respond to status requests unless doing so would compromise or impede an ongoing investigation.
•    The time period for survivors to consent to the testing of their sexual assault forensic evidence will be extended from 14 days to five years after the assault. Survivors under the age of 18 at the time of the crime will have five years from their 18th birthday to consent to the testing of the evidence.

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507