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ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of December 4, 2014

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Changes in juries and juror pay (Senate Bill 3075), Asbestos statutes (Senate Bill 2221) and Eavesdropping (Senate Bill 1342). More information on each bill is available below the video.


Changes in juries and juror pay. Senate Bill 3075 (Mulroe, D-Chicago; K. Burke, D-Oak Lawn) makes the following changes for juror pay: (1) Requires counties to pay jurors $25 for the first day of service and thereafter $50 for each day of service. (2) Deletes the current requirement to pay for jurors’ travel expenses. (3) Requires all trials by jury in civil cases to be six jurors but verdicts must still be unanimous. If alternate jurors are requested, an additional fee established by the county must be charged for each alternate juror requested. If signed into law, it would have an effective date would be June 1, 2015. Passed both chambers.

Asbestos statutes. Senate Bill 2221 (Raoul, D-Chicago; Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove) amends the Code of Civil Procedure to make an exception to the 10-year statute of limitation for personal injuries or death caused by the discharge into the environment of asbestos. Passed both chambers.

Eavesdropping. Senate Bill 1342 (Raoul, D-Chicago; Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove) makes several changes to Illinois’ eavesdropping law after the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the current statute for being too broad. It re-establishes Illinois’ all-party consent statute for the recording of private conversations. Specifically, it does the following.

(1) An eavesdropper is someone who uses an eavesdropping device to secretly record a private conversation without the consent of all parties involved in the conversation. A conversation is considered private if at least one of those involved had a reasonable expectation that the conversation is private.

(2) An eavesdropper is anyone who uses a device to secretly record electronic communications without the consent of everyone involved.

(3) An eavesdropper is someone who discloses the content of a private conversation or private electronic communication without permission.

(4) The penalty for eavesdropping on a law enforcement officer, state’s attorney or judge is reduced from a Class 1 felony to a Class 3 felony. The penalty for eavesdropping on a private citizen remains a Class 4 felony and a Class 3 felony for a subsequent conviction.

(5) It expands the number of crimes in which law enforcement doesn’t need to get judicial permission to eavesdrop as long as they have the approval—written or verbal—of the local state’s attorney. State’s attorneys must submit reports annually explaining how often this exemption was used.

It has passed the House and awaiting a vote today in the Senate. If signed into law, it has an immediate effective date.

Posted on December 4, 2014 by Chris Bonjean
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Member Comments (1)

Senate Bill 3075 makes a major change in civil jury trials, reducing the number of jurors from 12 to 6. I try to keep up with legislation but did not hear about this bill until after it had passed both houses. Section councils are often asked for their position on relatively minor changes in the law but this major change seemed to come out of nowhere. Were ISBA members informed about this bill before its passage? Were section councils asked for their position on this bill? Did ISBA take a position on the bill?