May 22 legislative briefs







SPRINGFIELD -- People with any type of sun-sensitive medical condition would be allowed to drive or ride in vehicles with tinted windshields under legislation that is on its way to Gov. Rod Blagojevich.



With no debate, the Senate Tuesday voted 57-0 for House Bill 536, which expands on a 2005 law granting the same permission to people with lupus or albinism. Tinted windshields and front windows on autos generally are illegal in Illinois.



The House approved HB536 in March.



A message left with Blagojevich’s press office was not returned Tuesday, but his spokespeople typically say he must review a bill before deciding whether to sign it.



Rep. David Leitch, R-Peoria, introduced the legislation after he heard from Wendy Marquis, a Dunlap resident who has a skin condition called disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis. Reddish spots appear on her arms, legs and face when they are exposed to the sun.



Marquis told Leitch that a police officer had ticketed her for driving a vehicle with tinted windows, even though she showed the officer a doctor’s letter explaining her medical situation.



Leitch, who sponsored the 2005 measure, said that until he spoke with Marquis, he hadn’t realized there were other conditions — besides lupus and albinism — aggravated by exposure to sunlight.



HB536 expands the 2005 law to cover anyone with a medical illness, ailment or disease that “would require that person to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun.”



Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, sponsored the legislation in the Senate, and Sen. Dale Risinger, R-Peoria, was a co-sponsor.






Bicycle safety




Motorists would have to keep at least 3 feet away from a bicyclist sharing the same roadway under legislation approved in the House.

Senate Bill 80 already cleared the Senate and will go to Blagojevich for consideration.

Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, sponsored the legislation, saying it would improve bicycle safety.

Another part of the bill would change the hand signal that cyclists use to indicate they are making a right-hand turn. At present, the hand signal involves holding up the left arm in an “L” shape. The new hand signal would be to hold the right arm straight out, pointing toward the right.

One opponent of the bill, Rep. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, said the new hand signal could confuse motorists.








The House voted 115-0 for legislation intended to help people with autism.

Senate Bill 51, sponsored by Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria, earlier won Senate approval and now will go to the governor’s desk.

The measure will guarantee “more extensive services” for people with autism through the Illinois Department of Human Services, Schock said.




Peoria airport




On a 73-42 vote, the House approved a measure that would expand the Greater Peoria Regional Airport’s taxing district to include all of Peoria County.

The taxing district’s boundaries have not changed since 1950, and the district presently includes Bartonville, Peoria Heights, West Peoria and parts of the city of Peoria. Supporters of the legislation say it unfairly taxes only a small portion of the county and that the expansion would generate extra money that could be used for capital improvements and to leverage more federal dollars.

There was no House floor debate Tuesday on Senate Bill 263, sponsored by Schock.

Even though the Senate already approved a previous version of the legislation, the measure has to go to the Senate a second time because of a revision made in the House.

The revision, sought by Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville, would grant the Crawford County Airport Authority in southeastern the same ability to expand its boundaries.

If the Senate goes along with that change, the bill would head to Blagojevich.








Legislation that passed the House would require state government to pay psychiatrists who counsel Medicaid patients over the telephone or use other electronic means.



Senate Bill 6 is aimed at helping rural or other residents who do not have access to nearby psychiatrists, said its House sponsor, Rep. Patti Bellock, R-Hinsdale.



It was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville, who testified during a committee hearing that a patient in her district had to wait three to four hours before being admitted into a mental facility because no psychiatrist was available to review the case.



The bill passed unanimously in both legislative chambers and now goes to the governor.






Salvia divinorum




The Senate voted to classify an over-the-counter hallucinogen among the most dangerous drugs and sent legislation to do that to the governor for his signature.



House Bill 457 would make Salvia divinorum a Schedule 1 controlled substance — the same legal category as heroin or cocaine. It also would ban possession of the plant or its seeds or extract.



A member of the mint family, Salvia divinorum grows naturally in a small region of Mexico, although it can be cultivated elsewhere. It is said to cause hallucinations and is marketed over the Internet and in some retail outlets.



Sen. John Millner, R-Carol Stream, and Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Addison, said they were asked to sponsor the legislation after a child of a DuPage County sheriff’s employee suffered severe depression after using the substance.



The legislation passed unanimously in the House and Senate.