That’s probably why she found time to answer my question as to what she had in mind for her second legislative session.
First on her list was the ultrasound bill.
This would require abortion clinic doctors to ask women about to get an abortion if they would like to see the ultrasound of the baby (although I am sure such docs would use the word “fetus.”)
A second Pro-Life bill would attempt to impose medical standards on abortion clinics.
There’s a 1989 Federal court decision harking back to the now-closed abortion clinic in Rockford that she will have to overcome. In that case, Dr. Richard Ragsdale sued the Department of Public Health over new regulations.
The Chicago Tribune ran this about the objections of abortion proponents:
“The regulations included specific instructions on operating room size, ventilation systems and other building requirements that abortion rights supporters said would make abortions more expensive and less accessible.”
The case was settled with no Pro-Life representative in the room.
Jim Thompson’s Director of the Department of Public Health Bernard Trunock, Attorney General Neil Hartigan and the ACLU, which brought the case, all supported few, if any, restrictions on abortion.
Needless to say, Pro-Life advocates were not pleased.
Since then, similar surgi-center requirements have passed court muster in other states, hence, the effort in Illinois.
Wheeler’s second area of interest is drunk drivers.
The source of that interest is, in and of itself, interesting.
It came from her 2014 Democratic Party opponent Joel Mains.
Based upon a tragedy in his family in which a drunk driver killed his step-daughter, Mains expressed surprise that five years later the driver had no restrictions on his driving.
For a year he was required to blow into a machine to prove he was not intoxicated before he could start his car.
The Crystal Lake legislator proposes that if on has a privileged with a provisional license, you have to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in one’s car for a minimum of five years. The minimum is now one year.
Wheeler proposes once one has had a drivers license revoked or suspended that would be no tolerance for driving while drunk or on drugs.
The other bill would prohibit community service being the sole penalty for anyone with a suspended or revoked license caught driving under the influence. there would be a no tolerance provision, which would include jail time.
And, speaking of drugs, with medical marijuana now legal, those who run jails and prisons are worried about what will happen if they refuse to allow an inmate not to have that drug.
Wheeler plans to introduce legislation that will provide immunity for refusal to provide marijuana while one is incarcerated.
Finally, Wheeler has discovered a lack of clarity with regard to how far back a prosecutor can go to charge a person with rape.
She notes that DNA records allow a look-back and identification of a perpetrator for as long as the records exist.
In a meeting she convened, three criminal experts could not agree whether there was a statute of limitations on rape.
With the law unclear, Wheeler plans to make it explicit that there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault if there is a police report with DNA included in the database.