Monday, May 21, 2007

Gun bill advances to Senate floor

Copley News Service,

SPRINGFIELD -- Reacting to last month's shooting deaths at Virginia Tech, an Illinois Senate panel Thursday advanced a proposal from Attorney General Lisa Madigan that is intended to prevent such a tragedy from happening here.

The Senate Public Health Committee sent Senate Bill 940 to the Senate floor on a 10-0 vote.

One provision in the legislation requires Illinois authorities to share information with a national database about residents who are barred from buying or owning guns because of state or federal law.

At present, just 22 states share that kind of information with the database, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, Madigan said. Sharing the information will prevent people from crossing state lines in an effort to evade laws that prohibit them from buying firearms, she said.

"We don't want Illinois residents to be able to purchase guns in other states simply because Illinois has failed to share critical information with the national database," she said.

Madigan said a second part of the bill makes it clear that every hospital in Illinois, as well as any other institution dealing with mental illness, must notify state police about individuals who represent "a clear and present danger" to others or to themselves. State police then can determine whether that person should be able to buy a firearm or possess a firearm owner identification card.

The bill's main sponsors are Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, in the Senate and Rep. Harry Osterman, D-Chicago, in the House.


The Senate passed legislation that would allow juries to award damages for grief, sorrow and mental suffering to families in wrongful death lawsuits.

State law now permits families to collect damages for loss of consortium and loss to society. Supporters of House Bill 1798 said 23 other states also allow awards for grief, suffering and mental anguish. They have said it would not affect medical malpractice lawsuits.

The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Illinois AFL-CIO and Citizen Action are among proponents of the legislation.

The Illinois State Medical Society opposed the bill, fearing that a judge could interpret it to apply to medical malpractice suits. A 2005 law capped jury awards in those cases.

Other opponents said they feared the bill would increase insurance premiums.

The legislation passed 31-23. It now goes to Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Among central Illinois lawmakers who supported the bill were Sens. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville, and Dave Koehler, D-Peoria. Opposing it were Sens. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield; Dale Risinger, R-Peoria; Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; and Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa. Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, did not vote on the legislation.


Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson beamed like a proud parent as he played host Thursday to St. Louis Cardinals president Mark Lamping, who brought the team's 2006 World Series trophy to the state Capitol.

Watson allowed visitors to view the trophy in his office in the morning, and he later accompanied it and Lamping during brief appearances on the floors of the Senate and the House.

In remarks to the Senate, Lamping took a good-natured jab at the Cardinals' longtime rival, the Chicago Cubs, and that team's failure to win a World Series in almost 100 years.

"Illinois is home to some of the greatest baseball fans in the country, some of the most patient baseball fans in the country," Lamping said.

Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, said he hoped senators would use the World Series trophy as a source of inspiration for their annual softball game against the House next week. The Senate lost to the House in last year's game.

source :

No comments: