Illinois lawmakers are sworn in and ready to get to work on a number of bills dealing with a wide range of topics. The 101st General Assembly officially got underway at noon today. With a budget in place and the lame duck session over, lawmakers say they are ready to get to work.
Illinois kicked off 2019 with more than 200 laws going into effect. The topics range from the opioid epidemic to gun safety.
In the wake of school shootings, Illinois state lawmakers are now requiring all schools to have an active shooter training.
“I completely agree with this legislation. It’s nothing new that we haven’t already been doing. We’ve been doing this for about six years,” says Carmi Police Chief Jason Carter.
In hopes of preventing shootings, a 72 hour waiting period for buying a gun is now being enforced. An Illinois gun store owner says he is not sure if the law will actually ensure safety.
“If a customer owns a firearm, he has a gun in his hand. If he wants to trade it to me, he still has to wait 72 hours to take his new gun with him. He has a gun, if he wanted to commit a crime he could have committed that crime and then traded that gun off,” says Phillip Walker, owner of the Gun Room.
Legislative Democrats wanted this waiting period to be imposed only on assault-style weapons. Although, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner decided there needed to be a 72 hour waiting period on all guns.
There is another law that allows family or police to petition courts to revoke guns from people who are suspected to be a danger to themselves or to others.
Legislators also passed a couple of laws pertaining to the opioid epidemic. One law makes sure three hours of continuing education on safe opioid use practices is completed before doctors who can prescribe opioids, renew their prescription licenses.
“They do need to learn about the dangers of opioids, the addiction risk of opioids. I think there are very few classes in medical school that address addiction,” says Susan Oxford, Substance Use Disorder Program Manager for Egyptian Public & Mental Health.
Another law changed the name of the States’ Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse to the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery. The main difference is they are taking out the word ‘abuse.’
“There needs to be quite a bit of work on changing the language and helping people to overcome the stigma of substance abuse disorder so they will engage in treatment services,” says Oxford.