(Springfield, IL) — March 17, 2010. If Governor Pat Quinn were to propose an income tax surcharge on sex offenders, he would likely score an easy victory.
The Illinois General Assembly may be unable to solve the state’s $13 billion budget deficit, but they got sex offenders on the run from multiple directions.
In the latest of sex offender legislative actions, the Illinois House yesterday approved, 115-1, House Bill 5043, a measure that would classify sex offenders convicted of certain sex offenses against victims under 18 as a “sexual predator”.
The legislation, sponsored by State Reps. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) and Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), drew its single “no” vote from State Rep. Careen Gordon (D-Morris), a former, tough-as-nails, prosecutor.
Both Farnham and Sente are in swing legislative districts and will face stiff GOP challenges to retain their seats in November. The “tough on crime” votes will appeal to their suburban voters.
In addition to the Farnham-Sente bill, the State Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously for legislation to ban sex offenders from Illinois public parks and from loitering on side walks near parks.
The Senate’s 54-0 vote on the plan, Senate Bill 2824, sponsored by State Senate Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), comes on the heels of Illinois House approval, 90-16, last month of legislation, House Bill 4675, also sponsored by Sente, to ban sex offenders from employment at municipal fairs.
Sente’s fair-ban bill is being sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), but the legislation, which arrived in the Senate on February 17, has yet to be assigned to a committee for a hearing.
The bill encountered both liberal and conservative opposition among the 16 House “no” votes.
Additionally, State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) is pushing a plan, Senate Bill 3084, to require retroactive sex offender registration. Martinez’s bill was approved on Tuesday, 8-0, by the Senate Criminal Law Committee.
Althoff’s legislation imposes a Class A misdemeanor penalty for a first offense, but a Class 4 felony for second and third offenses. Other Senate sponsors include Martinez, Emil Jones III (D), Toi Hutchinson (D), Tony Muñoz (D), and Kirk Dillard (R).
State Rep. Jack Franks (D-McHenry) is the House sponsor of Althoff’s bill.
A regular commenter on this blog, Jim Sather, made an astute observation yesterday on the rash of sex offenders bills: “Not that I am for sex offenders, but thank god for sex offenders, at least the legislators can pass something.”
Quinn should ponder that sex offender tax.