Springfield | Gov. JB Pritzker and the Democrat majority leading the Illinois General Assembly have on their legislative agenda moral issues that evangelicals and conservative voters will likely want to watch. According to Concerned Christian Ministries, 1,000 bills have been proposed to date, among them bills expanding health care, mental health instruction, and teaching of LGBTQ history in the public schools. A controversial bill challenging parental rights in disciplining their children was tabled last Monday, (Feb. 4) shortly after introduction.
HB 902 Cannabis Legalization. One bill has already been unveiled to allow Illinoisans to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, or to grow up to five pot plants per household. Two Chicago lawmakers, state Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, say they will introduce formal legislation soon. In a public discussion at the Lincoln Library in Springfield Jan. 28, the audience was told marijuana “bars” would be prohibited and teens driving under the influence would lose their licenses. Illinois’ six Catholics Bishops came out against the proposed legislation on Feb. 4, saying “the state should protect its citizens.” While opposing legal pot sales, the bishops agreed with supporters that marijuana infractions result in lives “trapped in the criminal justice system.” But, they said, recent reforms issuing fines rather than jail time should reverse that trend.
HB 246/SB 78 Gay studies. These bills mandate public schools must provide textbooks and teach from those textbooks “the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.” Both bills have had their first reading and are now in committee.
HB181 Parental Bullying. The bill, now tabled, states parental bullying occurs when a parent or legal guardian “knowingly and with the intent to discipline, embarrass, or alter the behavior of the minor, transmits any verbal or visual message that the parent or legal guardian reasonably believes would coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to the minor.” The guilty parent would pay a fine which would be placed in escrow and paid to the child when he or she turns 18.
Illinois Family Institute forecasts bills in 2019 related to assisted suicide, and a push to change the abortion parental notification law for minors. That expansion would allow clergy to give consent for a minor’s abortion, and simultaneously extend the definition of clergy to include Planned Parenthood “chaplains.” The current parental notification law remains stalled in the Illinois court system due to legal challenges.
– Lisa Misner, with info from IFI and State Journal-Register