CHICAGO – August 12, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to sign bills that will provide greater safety and security to the victims of crime, law enforcement officers and the general public. At a bill signing ceremony, Governor Quinn and State’s Attorney Alvarez also opened the South Side Community Justice Center.
“The protection of Illinois residents is among my very top priorities,” said Governor Quinn. “These new laws will help to preserve their safety and security.”
Governor Quinn signed House Bill 584, sponsored by Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Rep. Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica), which increases the criminal penalties for disarming a peace officer or correctional institution employee. The law will raise the crime’s classification from a Class 2 felony to a non-probationable Class 1 felony.
Another bill signed into law by Governor Quinn is House Bill 445, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago). This legislation amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act to add N-Benzylpiperazine – commonly referred to as BZP – to the list of dangerous Schedule 1 controlled substances. The bill establishes penalties for the unlawful manufacture, delivery or possession of this substance.
Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 693, which gives stalking victims another means of fighting back. The bill enables victims to pursue civil remedies, such as court orders of protection, to keep an offender away even if the victim has had a personal relationship with that offender. House Bill 693 was sponsored by Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin) and Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates).
The three bills were written and developed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“In addition to the day-to-day prosecution of violent crime, we are constantly working to identify methods to increase protections for victims and to expand the ability of our office to charge specific types of crimes as we observe criminal patterns developing,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez.
Also at the signing ceremony, State’s Attorney Alvarez announced the opening of the State’s Attorney’s second Community Justice Center, a community-based crime prevention program that she restored to service upon being elected last November. Assistant State’s Attorneys and victim witness specialists are assigned to these centers to work closely on the prosecution and prevention of local crime with police districts, community groups, schools, businesses and area residents.