From State Rep. Tom Weber:
My office has received a lot of calls from interested parties on legislation expected to be called for a vote this week in Springfield. I wanted to make you aware of updates on these issues, including Pritzker’s attempt to amend the Healthcare Right of Conscience Act and to repeal the Parental Notification Act.
Healthcare Right of Conscience Act
State Representative Gabel has filed a Floor amendment to Senate Bill 1169. The amendment, which replaces the underlying bill, carves out an exemption for COVID-19 to the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act. This will specifically allow people to be fired for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine and broadly allows any entity to “take ANY measures or impose ANY requirements… intended to prevent contraction OR transmission of COVID-19”.
I will be voting no on this legislation and will be lobbying my colleagues to do the same. According to Politico, despite having a supermajority in the House, the bill is struggling to gain enough Democrat votes. If you’re as troubled as I am by this broad infringement on your freedoms posed by this bill and the slippery slope that this carve out represents, I ask that you reach out to legislators on the other side of the aisle, and ask them to vote no. I would also encourage you to file a witness slip in opposition to the bill. Learn how to do that here.
Parental Notification Act
Illinois has some of the most open and accessible abortion laws in the country. Minors have access to an abortion as written in Illinois law, regardless of parental consent. However, lawmakers are attempting to do away with a law requiring a parent or guardian or other designated adult family member be notified when a minor seeks an abortion. Proponents claim this is necessary because a young girl may be afraid of the reaction from her parents. However, current Illinois law anticipates that, and minors may seek a waiver exempting them from the law from a judge. This exemption has been pursued 550 times since 2013, with a judge denying a petition just once.
If we were to replace “abortion” with any other medical procedure, we would not be having this debate. Because we know that parents have a right to know if their child is undergoing a surgical procedure, especially one as emotional as this. Who are we in Springfield to say that a parent must be involved if a child is to get a tattoo, see an R rated movie, participate in school activities and trips, but then strip them of their rights in this important matter?
The lawmakers behind the bill are the same ones behind the TEXAS Act-The Expanding Abortion Services Act. It’s clear they are more interested in sending a message to other states and not because Illinois’ laws in this matter need fixing. Lawmakers in Springfield do not represent anyone but the people of Illinois; parents and children alike. It is our responsibility to make laws in their best interest, no one else.
A specific bill has not yet been filed, but is expected any minute now. “Like” me on Facebook for an update when a specific bill number has been determined.
Bill Filed Filed to Allow Incarcerated Individuals to Vote
Illinois allows those awaiting trial and not yet convicted to vote, even going so far as to establish polling places in jails. However, State Representative La Shawn Ford would like to extend voting rights to those incarcerated for any and all crimes while serving their sentence. He has filed a floor amendment to Senate Bill 828, bypassing the normal committee process. When Illinois passed an omnibus criminal justice bill in January, eliminating cash bail among other things, this portion of the legislation was removed because it was too controversial and potentially unconstitutional. Illinois’ constitution states inmates do not get the right to vote returned to them until after they are released. Still, Rep. Ford is back again and claims he has the votes to pass the bill. When I sent out a survey to the district in August, asking if you supported legislation like this, 80% responded no. If you would like to voice your opinion on the bill, file a witness slip in opposition to SB 828 by following the instructions here.