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ISBA Statehouse Review for the week of April 23, 2015

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Decriminalization of cannabis (House Bill 218), Per se cannabis-DUIs (House Bill 2555), Mechanics Lien Act (House Bill 2635), Disabled adults (Senate Bill 90), Guilty pleas (House Bill 2569), New criminal law procedures (House Bill 1121) and Health Care Power of Attorney. (Senate Bill 159). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Decriminalization of cannabis. House Bill 218 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) imposes a fine of no more than $125 for possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis. (2) Makes Manufacturing Butane Hash Oil (BHO) a Class 2 felony. (3) Establishes a per se standard for Cannabis-DUI of 15 nano/decil of blood or 25 nano/decil of saliva in system. (4) Allows for alternative ways to test for cannabis DUI using “any bodily substance” (including saliva) for testing—this is an expansion from current law of breath, blood, and urine. (5) Keeps juvenile ordinance and civil violation dispositions confidential to reflect the intent of the Juvenile Court Act and limit collateral damage to minors. (6) Provides for part of the fine to defray costs to go to the circuit clerk, local law enforcement, and local state’s attorneys and to the appellate prosecutor for training and local drug treatment. To be voted on in the House today.

Per se cannabis-DUIs. House Bill 2555 (Reaves-Harris, D-Chicago) adopts a per se standard for cannabis-DUI of 15 nano/decil of blood or 25 nano/decil of saliva in system. It eliminates the crime of cannabis-DUI in which the driver is guilty for having any trace of cannabis in the driver’s body. It also requires for a conviction of aggravated DUI that the driver be impaired at the time of the violation and that the impairment was a proximate cause of the injuries or death. To be voted on in the House today. 

Mechanics Lien Act. House Bill 2635 (Sandack, R-Lombard) allows a lien claimant to proceed directly against a bond substituted for the property. Illinois joins the other 49 states to do this with House Bill 2635. Under House Bill 2635, the claimant may proceed directly against the bond that is substituted for the property. The “prevailing party” in an action brought under this new subsection shall be awarded its attorney fees. “Prevailing party” is defined as a lien claimant that recovers at least 75% of the amount of its lien claim, or the principal of the bond if the lien claimant recovers less than 25% of the amount of its lien claim. The attorney’s fees for a lien claimant that is a prevailing party is limited to the amount remaining on the bond after the payment of the claim and interest, and the attorney’s fees awarded to a bond principal shall be limited to 50% of the amount of the lien claim. To be voted on by the House today.

Disabled adults. Senate Bill 90 (Silverstein, D-Chicago; Breen, R-Lombard) creates a rebuttable presumption that a will or codicil is void if it was executed or modified after the testator is adjudicated disabled. The rebuttable presumption is overcome by clear and convincing evidence that the testator had the capacity to execute the will or codicil at the time the will or codicil was executed, and that the rebuttable presumption does not apply if the will or codicil was executed in compliance with a court order. The court may enter an order authorizing the ward to execute a will or codicil if a verified petition by the plenary or limited guardian of the estate or the request of the ward is accompanied by a current physician’s report that states the ward possesses testamentary capacity. Provides that the court shall authorize the guardian to retain independent counsel for the ward with whom the ward may execute or modify a will or codicil. This subsection applies only to wills or codicils executed or modified after the effective date of this act. Passed the Senate and now in the House.

Guilty pleas. House Bill 2569 (Cabello, R-Rockford; Link, D-Waukegan) prohibits a guilty plea from being taken unless the court explains the following to the defendant: (1) the maximum and minimum penalty provided by law for the offense which may be imposed by the court (rather than the consequences of the plea and the maximum penalty provided by law for the offense which may be imposed by the court); (2) any possible increased sentence by reason of the fact of a prior conviction or future conviction and any possibility of the imposition of consecutive sentences; (3) any registration requirement that accompanies the plea and the restrictions associated with the registration; and (4) the consequences of the plea on a defendant’s ability to: (a) retain or obtain housing in the public or private market; (b) acquire loans for educational or other purposes; (c) enroll in certain degree programs; (d) retain or obtain employment; (e) retain or obtain an occupational or driver's license; (f) possess a firearm; and (g) retain or obtain custody of a child. Passed the House and now in the Senate.

New criminal law procedures. House Bill 1121 (Lang, D-Skokie) implements the crime victim constitutional amendment adopted in the last general election. Changes the definition of “crime victim” to include a natural person determined by the prosecutor or the court to have suffered (1) direct physical or psychological harm as the result of a criminal act, or personal injury as a result of a violation of a DUI violation or of a similar provision of a local ordinance, or of involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide; (2) in the case of a crime victim who is under 18 years of age or an adult victim who is incompetent or incapacitated, both parents, legal guardians, foster parents, or a single adult representative; (3) in the case of an adult deceased victim, two representatives who may be the spouse, parent, child or sibling of the victim, or the representative of the victim’s estate; and (4) an immediate family member of a injured victim chosen by the victim.

Reorganizes and modifies listing of rights of crime victims and establishes additional procedures for enforcing the victim’s rights. Provides that the Act does not grant any person a cause of action in equity or law for compensation for damages or attorney’s fees nor create a ground for relief requested by the defendant in a criminal case.  Provides that presentence reports shall be open for inspection to the victim of a crime as set forth in the Act. To be voted on in the House today.

Health Care Power of Attorney. Senate Bill 159 (Haine, D-Alton) provides the following: (1) A psychologist may not witness the signing of a health care agency and removes that prohibition for mental health providers generally. (2) Adds an option on the short-form PoA for a principal to select whether the agent can have access to the principal’s medical records and information. (3) Adds language directing the health care provider to consult the health care agent. (4) Permits an agent to pursue applications for government benefits made during a principal’s lifetime when no administrator or executor is acting on behalf of the principal’s estate. (5) Relocates provisions concerning successor agents to a different location in the form. (6) Adds an option allowing the principal to nominate the agent as the guardian of the principal’s person should one become necessary. (7) Provides that a physician may determine that the principal is unable to make health care decisions for himself or herself only if the principal lacks decisional capacity as that term is defined in the Health Care Surrogate Act. Passed the Senate and now in the House.

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Chris Bonjean
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Member Comments (1)

Re De Criminalization of cannabis ... a fine only penalty for possession will still in fact cause the defendant to have a cannabis conviction history ... will cause offenders to realize later in life that paying a fine is not a good idea when supervision could have been the result ... getting into med school, law school, gad school or certain occupation (esp health care) could be denied by paying the fine