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August 6, 1999

Ryan Proposes Changes In Railway Crossing Delay Bill

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today took a step toward improved rail safety in Cook County by suggesting changes in legislation that makes it illegal for stopped trains to block railway crossings in Cook County for extended periods during rush hour traffic.

Ryan used his amendatory veto to conditionally enact Senate Bill 1136, which prohibits a rail carrier from allowing a train to block a grade crossing in Cook County for more than 10 minutes during any 30-minute period between the hours of 7 AM to 9 AM and 4 PM to 6 PM. The only exception is when the grade crossing delay is beyond reasonable control of the rail carrier.

"I am aware of motorists' frustrations as they are forced to wait for trains to cross intersections. These frustrations lead some individuals to put their own lives and the lives of others at risk by driving around closed gates in an attempt to beat an oncoming train," Ryan said.

"The rail industry must take responsibility for improving the service it provides. If conditions are such that a rail crossing must be closed, the industry must be vigilant in limiting the amount of time that vehicular traffic is prohibited from using the crossing," he said.

Ryan's amendatory veto addresses two concerns of the rail industry. With the legislature's consent, penalties will not be imposed if more than one train from more than one company creates a delay of more than 10 minutes. Also, the bill now specifically spells out that moving trains cannot be stopped in order for a citation to be issued. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2000.

Sponsors of the bill were state senators Robert Molaro, D-Chicago; Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange; Patrick O'Malley, R-Palos Park; and William Shaw, D-Markham. House sponsors were state representatives Dan Burke, D-Chicago; Jay Hoffman, D-Edwardsville; Monique Davis, D-Chicago; James Brosnahan, D-Oak Lawn; and Maggie Crotty, D-Oak Forest.

Ryan today signed House Bill 471, which sets criminal penalties for the body piercing of minors when parents do not give their consent. If convicted, violators could face a Class C misdemeanor.

"This bill would give parents legal recourse against anyone who performs this kind of procedure on a minor without parental consent," Ryan said. "Parents have a right to know the medical procedures practiced on their child."

State senators Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale and Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange, sponsored House Bill 471, which takes affect upon signing. House sponsors included state representatives Kathleen "Kay" Wojcik, R-Schaumburg; Tom Johnson, R-West Chicago; Louvana Jones, D-Chicago; William Delgado, D-Chicago; Mary Kay O'Brien, D-Coal City; Lauren Beth Gash; D-Highland Park; Richard Bradley, D-Chicago; Randy Hultgren, R-Wheaton; Dan Reitz, D-Sparta; Richard Myers, R-Macomb; Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth; Dale Righter, R-Mattoon and John Jones, R-Mt. Vernon.

House Bill 631, also signed today, creates an adoption registry and medical information exchange to replace the current Illinois Adoption Registry. The Department of Public Health is required to administer the new registry and implement a $40 registration fee for the information exchange. The bill takes affect on Jan. 1, 2000.

"The intent of this legislation is to make it easier for adults who have been adopted to obtain information regarding their birth parents and siblings so that they can obtain medical history information," Ryan said. "There are provisions in this bill to handle concerns of confidentiality while weighing the adopted child's right to know."

State senators John Cullerton, D-Chicago; Lisa Madigan, D-Chicago; and David Sullivan, R-Mt. Prospect, sponsored House Bill 631. State representatives Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago; David Wirsing, R-Dekalb; Judy Erwin, D-Chicago; Larry McKeon, D-Chicago; Tom Cross, R-Yorkville; Jay Hoffman, D-Edwardsville; Tom Johnson, R-West Chicago; and Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, were the House sponsors.

House Bill 1321, also signed, toughens sentences for violent crimes against teachers or other school employees occurring at school or near a school campus. The penalty increases are:

  • First degree murder offenses allow for the death penalty.

  • Aggravated battery with a firearm is upgraded from a simple Class X felony to a Class X felony with a sentence of no less than 15 years and no more than 60 years.

  • Aggravated discharge of a firearm is upgraded from a Class 1 felony to a Class X felony with a sentence of no less than 10 years and no more than 45 years.

    House Bill 1321, which takes affect Jan. 1, 2000, was sponsored by state Sen. Tony Munoz, D-Chicago, and by state representatives Edgar Lopez, D-Chicago; Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago; Tom Dart, D-Chicago; and Calvin Giles, D-Chicago.

    Ryan also approved House Bill 1905, which extends the current sales tax exemption for music and dramatic arts organizations. Under current law, purchases by a not-for-profit music or dramatic arts organization are exempt from sales and use taxes. The bill expands that provision to include cultural organizations organized and operated for the presentation or support of arts or cultural programming, activities or services. The bill takes affect immediately.

    State Sen. James Clayborne, D-East St. Louis, sponsored House Bill 1905, along with state representatives Bob Biggins, R-Elmhurst; Judy Erwin, D-Chicago; and Jeff Schoenberg, D-Wilmette.

    Ryan signed House Bill 1102 to close a loophole in the law that excuses motorists who illegally park in handicapped parking spaces. The bill prevents violators from using the excuse that the sign marking the parking space did not live up to the exact technical requirements of the disabled parking law.

    Sponsors of House Bill 1102 were state senators Kathleen Parker, R-Northfield; Lawrence Walsh, D-Joliet; and state representatives Jack McGuire, D-Joliet; Douglas Scott, D-Rockford; Kurt Granberg, D-Centralia; Mike Boland, D-East Moline; Michael Smith, D-Canton; and Tom Dart, D-Chicago. This bill takes affect upon signing.

    Ryan signed House Bill 1879, which strengthens consumer protection laws by regulating pharmaceutical sales over the Internet. The bill requires the Department of Professional Regulation to apply mail-order pharmacy regulations to Internet sales and gives authorization to the department to establish additional rules for Internet drug sales.

    House Bill 1879 was sponsored by Sen. Robert Madigan, R-Lincoln; Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton; Rep. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon; Rep. Gwenn Klingler, R-Springfield; and Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Edwardsville. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2000.

    House Bill 2219, approved by Ryan, creates the new offense of aggravated domestic battery for inflicting great bodily harm. The penalty is a Class 2 felony with a mandatory minimum of 60 days in the county jail on a first offense and a minimum of three years in prison on a second or subsequent offense.

    The sponsors of House Bill 2219 were state senators Adeline Geo-Karis, R-Zion, and Terry Link, D-Highwood. House Sponsors included state representatives Mark Beaubien Jr., R-Wauconda; Jeff Schoenberg, D-Wilmette; Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview; James Durkin, R-Westchester; Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Mt. Zion; and Edgar Lopez, D-Chicago. The bill takes effect Jan 1, 2000.

    Senate Bill 7 is designed to discourage child sex offenders from preying upon children in public parks by prohibiting offenders from loitering within 500 feet of a public park when children are present or communicating with a child. Offenders also are prohibited from employment or volunteer association at any facility providing programs or services directed towards children. A violation of the law is a Class 4 felony.

    The sponsors of Senate Bill 7 are state senators Patrick O'Malley, R-Palos Park, and Louis Viverito, D-Burbank. House sponsors were state representatives James Brosnahan, D-Oak Lawn; Tom Dart, D-Chicago; Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville; Jack Franks, D-Woodstock; and Dan Reitz, D-Sparta. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2000.

    In addition, Senate Bill 1141 was vetoed by Ryan because it would reduce competition in the cable television industry by making it harder for a city-operated cable system to provide cable service for its citizens. In his veto message, Ryan said he believes the public interest is better served by looking for ways to increase competition among the commercial providers of cable services.

    Senate Bill 1141 sought to amend the Illinois Municipal Code to allow a municipality to own and operate a cable system if that municipality receives the approval of voters through a referendum. State Sen. Steven Rauschenberger, R-Elgin, was the sponsor of Senate Bill 1141 along with state representatives Louis Lang, D-Skokie; James Durkin, R-Westchester; Tom Cross, R-Yorkville; Vincent Persico, R-Glen Ellyn; and Kathleen "Kay" Wojcik, R-Schaumburg.

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