John J. Millner
State Senator District 28 - Republican

Photograph of  Representative  John                 J. Millner            (R)
Contact:   Springfield Office: District Office:
    105 State Capital 2580 Foxfield Rd.
    Springfield, IL   62706 St. Charles, IL  60174
  Phone (217) 782-8192 (630) 524-9250
  Fax 217/782-4079 (630) 524-9251
December 27, 2006

For Immediate Release

Senate Week in Review: New Laws for 2007

SPRINGFIELD – Measures intended to safeguard Illinois residents in their homes, increase protections for home and land owners in eminent domain cases, and help state and local law enforcement officials better track and detain sex offenders, are among the almost 100 new laws that take effect in January, according to State Senator John J. Millner (R- Carol Stream).

In an effort to reduce the number of people who have fallen ill or died from carbon monoxide poisoning, beginning January 1, 2007 every home in Illinois must be equipped with at least one approved and fully operational carbon monoxide alarm. The alarms must be placed within 15 feet of every room that is used for sleeping purposes.

The legislation, House Bill 5284, also mandates that it is the responsibility of the owner of the structure to supply and install all required alarms, and he or she must also provide the tenants with information regarding alarm testing and maintenance. However, tenants are responsible for testing and providing general maintenance on the alarms, such as replacing the batteries, notifying the owner if there are problems with the alarm that the tenant cannot correct, and allowing the owner to access the home to correct the deficiencies that are reported.

Landowners will enjoy enhanced protection in eminent domain cases due to a comprehensive measure that will make the use of eminent domain in Illinois as open and fair as possible for private homeowners and local governments. Senate Bill 3086 is intended to set stricter and more transparent guidelines on the use of eminent domain, and ensure property owners are fairly reimbursed for relocation costs and, in some cases, legal expenses.

Under the provisions of Senate Bill 3086, municipalities would be required to prove that land meets certain conditions before it can be seized. The measure also strikes a regulatory balance between the rights of private landowners and governmental interests by establishing five different categories of eminent domain, giving property owners additional rights and the tools to more fairly resolve disputes, and by placing the burden on a governmental entity to prove a property is blighted.

The importance of having clear, consistent guidelines for all eminent domain proceedings became apparent after a United States Supreme Court decision ruled that local governments could take private property and give it to private developers if the property seizure is necessary or beneficial to the community.

A number of measures seeking to keep better tabs on Illinois’ registered sex offenders will go into effect in 2007, enabling law enforcement officials to more easily locate Illinois’ sex offenders and providing tools for residents to determine whether they live next to a convicted sex offender.

Senate Bill 3016 seeks to improve public safety by educating the public on the Sex Offender Database. Until now, sex offenders were required to register annually, and include their address, date of birth and the offense for which they were convicted. The new law will require all convicted sex offenders to also include the county of their conviction, the license plate numbers of any cars registered to the offender, and all distinguishing marks on his or her body.

Additionally, under Senate Bill 2985, all sex offenders must submit a blood, hair, or tissue specimen for the purposes of genetic marker analysis and categorization. Sex offenders will further be required to register every 180 days, instead of on an annual basis, and the Illinois State Police would have to make the Sex Offender Database searchable from a five-mile radius of any person’s address or any school. Illinois schools would also be required to inform parents of the database during all school registration periods and parent-teacher conferences.

Upon the release of a sex offender, Senate Bill 2873 requires the Department of Corrections to notify the State’s Attorney in the County in which a sex offender was convicted when that offender is being released, while House Bill 4222 requires individuals accused of a crime that would qualify them as a sexual predator to wear a electric monitoring device for the duration of their parole. Additionally, SB 2962 requires the Secretary of State to cancel sex offender’s driver’s license; a one year license can be approved once the offender has properly registered on the Sex Offender Registry.

To ensure Illinois’ hospitals’ billing and collection practices are fair and reasonable lawmakers advanced House Bill 4999. The legislation is intended to not only promote the prompt and accurate payment of health care services, but is needed to allow for enforcement by state officials.

Under the legislation, hospitals will be required to post a sign notifying patients that they may be eligible for financial assistance and provide the contact information for the hospital financial assistance representative. It also establishes information that must be contained in any bill a hospital sends a patient for health care services, establishes a bill inquiry process that hospitals must implement, and provides conditions that must be met before a hospital may pursue action against a patient.

As the numbers of consumer fraud and identity theft cases continue to grow, several new laws taking effect January 1 seek to stymie the impact of these crimes and protect other consumers from identity theft and fraud.

House Bill 4438 creates the offense of facilitating identity theft, which is committed when a person knowingly has access to the personal information of another person and knowingly disposes of that information without taking steps to destroy the information or render it unintelligible. Senate Bill 2310 will allow any consumer to place a security freeze on their credit report—not just those who are victims of identity theft, while House Bill 4179 prohibits individuals convicted of certain identity theft and sex crimes from legally changing their name.

Additionally, Senate Bill 2283 states that when information is obtained from an identification card or a driver’s license during a commercial transaction, the information can only be used to identify the individual or complete the transaction. House Bill 4172 makes it unlawful for any person to advertise or conduct a live musical performance by using a false or misleading affiliation between the performing group and the recording group.

Finally, in an effort to make rail road grade crossings safer, legislation co-sponsored by Senate Republicans will go into effect establishing automated enforcement of railroad crossing violations. Senate Bill 2865 allows for cameras to be placed at railroad grade crossings; lawmakers hope this will deter motorists from driving around lowered gates at grade crossings.

The cameras will take a clear photograph of the vehicle, the vehicle operator and the vehicle license plate, and the photo will display the time, date and location of the violation. The registered owner of the vehicle will then get a ticket in the mail, with a notice explaining how the registered owner can pay the fine or challenge the ticket; if the vehicle owner was not driving the vehicle, the police would then issue a ticket to the person the owner alleges was driving the vehicle.

Other bills that become law January 1 include: