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Voters Rights, Crime Victims' Bill Of Rights Amendments Added To Illinois' General Election Ballot

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 11, 2014 3:40PM

Photo credit: Carrie Burnett

Illinois voters will have the opportunity to amend the Illinois Constitution on their November ballots. Two bills passed by both houses of the General Assembly will be added to ballots aimed at preventing voter suppression and improve the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that has been in effect for over two decades.

The Illinois Senate unanimously voted Thursday for passage of “Marsy’s Law,” which would require courts to hear and rule on a crime victim’s request for enforcement of any of his or her constitutional rights, and add protections such as establishing that judges must take into consideration the safety of the victim and the victim’s family members when fixing bail and determining whether to release a defendant and setting conditions of release. Illinois’ current Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, enacted in 1992, currently does not provide victims the ability to assert those rights in court. State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), sponsor of the bill, said;

“This amendment is about safeguarding victims’ dignity, privacy, right to information and right to be heard throughout the extremely difficult process of bringing the perpetrator to justice.”

The voters rights amendment specifically states “no person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or income.” The Senate also unanimously voted to add the measure to the ballot.