Three DuPage County State’s Attorney initiatives signed into law

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Three initiatives proposed in the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s 2023 legislative package have now been signed into law.

Initiative to help remove animals in animal cruelty cases

The first helps to protect animals, making it easier for law enforcement to remove a pet from someone who has been charged with animal cruelty.

Public Act 103-0490 amends the Humane Care for Animals Act, so that a violation of certain sections of the act is enough to trigger the ability for law enforcement to step in and take the animal. Previously, a person in violation would only have to forfeit the animal if they were convicted of those particular violations.

The violator(s) may also now be prohibited by a court from owning or having custody of any animals for a set time, up to a lifetime ban. Violation of these conditions could result in prison time of up to 90 days, a fine of up to $2,500, or both, as well as immediate forfeiture of any animal.

“Recent cases of animal cruelty in DuPage County did not go far enough to protect the animals during the pendency of the case,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin said in a press release. “I am very pleased that with support from the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker’s signature, we are now able to remove these defenseless animals from their alleged abusers and provide them food, water, medical attention as needed and ultimately find them caring, loving homes.”

The initiative was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on August 4, and immediately went into effect.

Initiatives to help protect those at long-term healthcare facilities

The other two initiatives help better protect personnel and residents at long-term healthcare facilities.

Public Act 103-0428 amends the Health Care Worker Background Check Act. It ensures that before someone is hired by such a facility, the employer will receive both the potential employee’s Illinois criminal history, as well as their federal criminal history, and any criminal history they may have in other jurisdictions nationwide.

Public Act 103-0293 amends part of the criminal code of 2012. It expands the definition of who is protected to include all residents of long-term care facilities, no matter what their age or condition, either mental or physical.

It also broadens coverage of those protected, so that anyone who financially exploits an elderly person or person with a disability statute is guilty of a class 1 felony if the person is 70 or older. Previously, that applied only if the person was “over 70,” and the property value was $15,000 or more.

“Seniors and residents of long-term care facilities are among our most vulnerable,” Berlin continued. “They rely on others for their personal safety and day-to-day needs and my office is one hundred percent committed to safeguarding their well-being. This new legislation provides an extra layer of security for our seniors and for their families as well. I thank the members of the Illinois General Assembly for their support of this legislation as well as Governor Pritzker for his support of these important initiatives.”

Those initiatives take effect starting January 1, 2024.

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