SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to curb the methamphetamine production that continues to ravage Illinois communities, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation today that will create a meth manufacturing registry. Senate Bill 2915, sponsored by state Senator William R. Haine (D-Alton) and state Representative Roger Eddy (R-Hutsonville), gives law enforcement another tool to protect Illinois families and farmers.
“Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs on the streets. Meth can destroy not only the lives of users, but their families and neighbors too. We need to do everything possible to put a stop to the scourge of meth,” said Governor Blagojevich.
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system and is derived from ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, commonly used in cold medicine. Statistics show that meth is a growing problem in Illinois and other states. In 1997, law enforcement seized 24 meth labs. By 2005, that number has grown to 973. The drug has quickly become the most dangerous and perplexing problem for law enforcement, particularly in central and southern Illinois.
The name, date of birth, offense, conviction date and county where the offense took place will be posted for those who are convicted of meth manufacturing. The Illinois State Police can add other information, but cannot include the offender’s social security number. The new law requires the Illinois State Police to create the registry, have a link on the agency webpage and make it available to the general public and law enforcement.
“These new laws support our continuing efforts to put an end to methamphetamine usage,” said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. “Everyday, police officers throughout Illinois attack a myriad of problems caused by methamphetamine. In an ongoing effort to protect our law abiding citizens, the legislature and Governor have given law enforcement additional tools in the battle against the most sinister drug I have ever seen.”
“This problem is not only statewide, but is growing rapidly throughout the country. The new website will allow local residents to check their neighborhoods. We cannot win the fight without their help,” said Rep. Eddy.
The Governor signed three other pieces of legislation today that will protect communities from the ravages of meth production.
· Penalties for trafficking meth or meth ingredients: Senate Bill 2391, sponsored by Sen. William R. Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Chapin Rose (R-Charleston), deals with people who try to sell, deliver, or make meth by traveling to other states to acquire meth or ingredients to make meth. The new offense of meth trafficking for individuals who knowingly bring methamphetamine or its precursors or cause methamphetamine or its precursors to be brought into Illinois with the intent to make, deliver, or sell meth carries a penalty of no less than double the minimum and double the maximum sentence for selling meth or possessing its precursors with the intent to make meth, which is based on the quantity involved. This law also makes changes to the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act.
· Increasing the penalty for ID theft to purchase meth ingredients: Since Illinois now requires people who buy pseudoephedrine (found in cold medicines) to show ID and sign a log, House Bill 4297 will help address identity theft crimes committed by people trying to avoid detection while purchasing meth ingredients. Sponsored by Sen. Carol Ronen (D- Chicago) and Rep. Daniel Beiser (D- E. Alton), HB 4297 makes it a Class 2 Felony (for a first offense) and a Class 1 Felony (for a second or subsequent offense) for using someone else’s identification to buy ingredients that are intended to be used to make meth. A Class 2 Felony usually results in a 3-7 year prison sentence, and a Class 1 Felony is usually 4-15. According to Illinois State Police, meth users and makers frequently commit identity theft offenses.
· Reporting suspicious burns: Meth labs are extremely explosive and, due to the chemicals involved, can cause suspicious burns on those involved with meth manufacturing. House Bill 5348, sponsored by Sen. William R. Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Donald Moffitt (R-Galesburg), allows hospitals to report suspicious burn injuries, in a timely manner as soon as treatment permits, to a toll-free hotline at the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The report, which contains the victim’s name, address, and the particulars of the injury, would allow the OSFM to share information with local law enforcement as needed for criminal investigations and prosecutions.
SB 2915 and SB 2391 are effective immediately. HB 4297 and HB 5348 go into effect on January 1, 2007.