On Friday, Aug. 16, Governor Pritzker signed multiple bills and two executive orders that support public safety workers and our first responders. The Governor signed the legislation at the Illinois State Police (ISP) headquarters in Springfield, where it was also “First Responder Day” at the Illinois State Fair.
The executive orders and new laws support first responders’ mental health and well being, children and spouses of fallen police officers and survivors of sexual assault. The Governor also signed legislation to restructure the ISP to strengthen its leadership and better serve the public, and eliminated the bachelor’s degree requirement for applicants who want to become a state trooper.
Teamsters Local 700 Chief Stewards Jim Poortinga and Jason Holt, who are ISP Master Sergeants, were in attendance for the signing ceremony.
“We are proud to have a Governor in Illinois that recognizes the difficult and dangerous jobs of our first responders and all public safety officers,” said Teamsters Local 700 President Michael G. Melone. “We applaud his vision for making Illinois a safer place for the public and allotting more resources to law enforcement and firefighters to continue to do the great work they do, and to protect their mental health and well being.”
Below are summaries of each bill and executive order:
House Bill 124
House Bill 124 expands the Illinois State Police’s hiring requirements to diversify their applicant pool and ensure that state troopers reflect Illinois’ residents. With the bachelor’s degree requirement being an impediment to achieving diversity in the ranks, this new law now requires either an associate degree or 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university in order to enter the Illinois State Police Academy. HB 124 takes effect immediately.
House Bill 2766
House Bill 2766 establishes a peer support program for all first responders, with a focus on wellness and suicide prevention. The new law also creates the bipartisan First Responder Suicide Prevention Task Force, which is comprised of legislators from both parties, officials representing fire fighters and law enforcement and mental health providers. The task force will submit its report to the General Assembly by January 1, 2020. HB 2766 takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill 1183
Senate Bill 1183 expands the scope of the Police Memorial Committee Fund to include scholarships or grants to children and spouses of police officers killed in the line of duty. The Illinois Police Officers Memorial Committee was first established in 1985, and its monument in Springfield bears the names of the officers who have made the ultimate sacrifices while serving their communities. SB 1183 becomes effective immediately.
Senate Bill 1411
Senate Bill 1411 provides sexual assault victims with more transparency on the status of the processing of rape kit evidence. The new law creates a real-time electronic tracking system for evidence processing in cases of sexual assault. The statewide system will be hosted online, have a 24-hour help desk, make law enforcement agency contact information available to victims and provides real-time entry and updates of information. The new law is a result of the Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking and Reporting Commission. SB 1411 goes into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 1915
Senate Bill 1915 updates the organizational structure of the Illinois State Police Divisions. An ISP initiative, state law will now reflect the divisions and offices within ISP with the specific rights, duties, and powers pursuant to statue that had not been accurate for the last 15 years. SB 1915 takes effect on January 1, 2020.
Executive Order 2019-12 Reorganizing Divisions Within the Department Of State Police
Executive Order 2019-12 builds on the legislative restructuring of the Illinois State Police, allowing the organization’s leadership to streamline its role in the criminal justice system. It establishes distinctive divisions within ISP and delineates their powers, duties, rights and responsibilities so the Illinois State Police can better serve the people of Illinois.
Executive Order 2019-13 Establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Forensic Science
Executive Order 2019-13 establishes a Forensic Science Task Force to tackle the backlogs at our crime processing laboratories and deliver proper justice. It will analyze the operations and oversight of the critical laboratories and ensure they use the latest forensic technologies to solve crimes and protect the public. Chaired by the Director of the State Police, the task force will report to the governor and General Assembly by June 1, 2020.