The Committee on Women and the Law was and is very active in monitoring and commenting on legislation of interest to women in Illinois. The following is a synopsis of legislation of interest to the committee which was passed by the 93rd Legislative Session of the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor:
Equal Pay Act-Equality in the Workforce-SB0002-PA 93-0006:
The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers with four or more employees from paying unequal wages to men and women for doing the same or substantially similar work, requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility-under similar working conditions for the same employer in the same county. Exceptions include a wage system based on seniority, a merit system, a system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production, or factors other than gender. The Act is administered through the Illinois Department of Labor and violation penalties may include requiring the employer to make up the wage difference, legal fees, and civil fines of up to $2,500 per violation. (effective January 1, 2004).
Child Support-New Collection Tool-HB0016-PA 93-0116:
Provides that upon request by the Department of Public Aid or other public entity responsible for enforcement of child support, employers, labor unions, and telephone companies must provide location information regarding putative fathers and noncustodial parents for the purpose of establishing, enforcing or modifying a child support obligation or establishing a child's paternity. The employer, labor union or telephone company must respond within 15 days or face a possible civil penalty for failing to do so. (effective July 10, 2003).
Child Support-Bail Used as Collection Tool-HB 3504-PA 93-0371:
Provides that the court may order bail bond deposited by or on behalf of a defendant in a criminal case to be used to satisfy financial obligations of that same defendant in a different case, but only after bail monies are first used to satisfy attorney fees and court costs in the original case (requiring the original bond posting) and any existing unpaid child support obligations resulting from any case. (effective January 1, 2004).
Domestic Violence-Fees for Victims-HB 3501-PA 93-0458:
Amends the Domestic Violence Act to prohibit a Circuit Clerk from charging a fee for amending, vacating, or photocopying petitions or orders. Further prohibits the Clerk from charging a fee for the issuance of alias summons or related filings. (effective January 1, 2004).
Mental Health-Training required-SB0200-PA 93-0376:
Provides that the Illinois Department of Human Services must develop and annually offer a training event (at least one annually) for judges, State's Attorneys, public defenders, law enforcement personnel, social workers, health care professionals, and private lawyers regarding mental illness, the standard for civil commitment and involuntary treatment, documentation requirements, and other changes or provisions of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act. (effective July 24, 2003).
Child Custody-New Act-HB 1157-Public Act 93-0108:
Creates the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which sets forth standards for child custody jurisdiction determinations. Creates a process for the enforcement of interstate child-custody and visitation determinations. Repeals the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. (effective January 1, 2004).
Editor's note: New legislation recently proposed is closely monitored by the Legislative subcommittee of the Committee on Women and the Law. Once a position is taken by the subcommittee and the full Committee, the comments and suggestions are forwarded to the ISBA Committee on Legislation, which ultimately works with the Board of Governors to formulate ISBA positions on legislation. The following bills are just a few of those from the current legislative session which are of interest to the Committee on Women and the Law and are being evaluated for recommendation to the ISBA Committee on Legislation:
SB 2461-Human Rights Coverage to Include Pregnancy:
Amends the Human Rights Act. In the definition of "sex" prohibited discrimination, includes "because of the perception of pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions" and provides that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all areas covered by the Act-including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs in employment-other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.
HB 6779-Limitation period for spousal rape:
Extends the current limitation period for victim reporting of spousal criminal sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, or aggravated criminal sexual abuse to law enforcement from 30 days to six months.
HB 5012-Civil No Contact Order:
Amends the existing law to state that the Court shall provide, through the office of the Clerk, simplified forms for filing a petition for a civil no contact order. Provides, among other things, that the Court may appoint counsel to represent the petitioner if the respondent is represented by counsel. Changes what a civil no contact order may contain. Provides that an emergency civil no contact order shall be issued by the court if it appears from the contents of the petition and the examination of the petitioner that the averments are sufficient to indicate nonconsensual sexual penetration by the respondent. Provides that, for emergency civil no contact orders the order shall state that the respondent may petition the Court to reopen the order if he or she did not receive prior notice of the hearing and if the respondent alleges that he or she had a meritorious defense.
SB 3151-Child Support-Unpaid Arrearage:
Provides that if there is an unpaid arrearage or delinquency equal to at least one month of support still existing on the termination date stated in the order for support, or if there is no termination date stated in the order-on the date the child attains the age of majority or is otherwise emancipated-then the periodic amount required to be paid for current support of that child shall automatically continue to be an obligation-not as current support but as periodic payment toward satisfaction of the unpaid arrearage. Provides that the periodic payments be in addition to any periodic payments previously required for satisfaction of the arrearage.