Recently signed laws seek to expand teen voting rights, prevent deaths due to life-threatening allergic reactions, and educate new drivers on how to react to police stops.
In other state news, a monument was dedicated this week to honor Purple Heart recipients.
Teen voting rights
Teens will now be able to vote in the primary of a consolidated election if they will be 18-years-old by the date of the consolidated election.
The new law, Public Act 99-0722, is an expansion of a 2013 law that allowed 17-year-olds who would be 18 by the date of the general election to vote in a primary election. The new law advanced by House Bill 6167 goes a bit further to allow 17-year-olds to vote in a caucus or a consolidated primary election. These are most usually held for local offices, such as school boards, city councils and village boards.
Additionally, the law makes the voting rights of qualified 17-year-olds more complete by allowing those who will be 18-years-old by the general election to sign and circulate petitions, pre-register to vote and act as deputy registrars.
Training police to respond to life-threatening reactions
Following the tragic 2015 death of Elmhurst’s Annie LeGere due to prolonged anaphylactic shock caused by an allergic reaction, a new law was recently signed that seeks to prevent this from happening to others.
It is not uncommon for law enforcement officials to reach the scene of an emergency before trained health care personnel. In cases of anaphylactic shock, such as Annie’s, quickly administering an epinephrine injection via an auto-injector (EpiPen) can mean the difference between life and death. However, police officers do not often have epinephrine auto-injectors on-hand, nor have they been trained on how to administer the medication.
After learning this, the LeGere family worked with state lawmakers to expand law enforcement’s access to epinephrine so this life-saving treatment can be administered as quickly as possible in response to a life-threatening allergic reaction.
In response, Public Act 99-0711 allows law enforcement agencies to train officers on how to recognize and respond to anaphylaxis, and how to administer an epinephrine auto-injector in an emergency. The law also allows State Police or a local government agency to authorize officers to carry and administer epinephrine auto-injectors once they have completed the required training.
Driving newbies to receive practical training on police stops
Getting pulled over by law enforcement can frazzle the most seasoned driver. A new law, Public Act 99-0720, seeks to prepare new drivers to handle police stops by educating them on the proper way to react when law enforcement officers pull them over.
The goal is to prevent new drivers, usually teens, from panicking or reacting in a way that could cause a relatively benign situation to develop into something more serious. The new law requires driver’s education instructors and driving training schools to provide new drivers with instruction on how to act when pulled over by law enforcement.
The Secretary of State’s office will be responsible for developing the specific guidelines. However, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles website, it is recommended that when pulled over by law enforcement, drivers should pull over in a safe area, completely roll down their window and place both hands on the steering wheel. Law enforcement officials also recommend drivers stay calm and cooperate with the officer.
The recently signed law won’t take effect until the 2017-2018 school year.
New monument honors Purple Heart recipients
In recognition of those men and women who have been wounded in combat, this week the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency dedicated a monument in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery to Purple Heart medal recipients.
Honoring recipients of the nation’s oldest military award still in use, the monument recognizes the “tremendous sacrifices made by military personnel in all conflicts,” according to the Director of the Historic Preservation Agency.
This new monument joins others operated by the state, including sites recognizing those who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.