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Bill Protecting Job Applicants’ Facebook Passwords Sent to Governor

Here is a wrap-up of the latest political news.

Your employer can see whatever embarrassing photos you publically post on Facebook, but you won’t have to surrender access to your account, if Gov. Pat Quinn signs a bill that is on his desk.

Illinois workers would be protected from businesses that want access to their Facebook accounts and other social media under the legislation, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The bill says employers cannot require workers or job applicants to grant access to social media.

The Sun-Times says it is rare, but there have been cases of job applicants being forced to allow interviewers to examine their private accounts.

The Illinois Senate voted 55-0 May 22 to ban that practice. The House approved the measure in March.

Employers could still look at whatever a worker has posted to the general public. And they are allowed to set general workplace policies on Internet and email use.

Extended Bullying Policy Bill Fails

A concern that its real purpose was to lecture students on embracing homosexuality killed a bill that would require Illinois schools to adopt more detailed bullying prevention policies. The proposed legislation, House Bill 5290, fell one vote short of passage May 2 in the Illinois Senate, although it could get another chance in the remaining days of the legislative session, according to a news report in the State Journal-Register

The bill would have required anti-bullying policies to include a definition of bullying and a statement saying it was against the law. The policies would have spelled out how allegations could be submitted anonymously and how they would be investigated. Policies also would have been required to describe what could happen to students who bully others, such as counseling or community service. 

Some conservatives feared the bill would be used as cover to indoctrinate students. The Illinois Family Institute lobbied for an “opt out” provision that would let students and teachers skip any lessons or events that violated their religious beliefs.  

The measure needed 30 votes to pass but got only 29, with 12 senators voting “no” and 12 voting “present.” 

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, has proposed an amendment that states: “No student or school employee shall be required to attend or participate in any bullying program, activity, assembly, or event that may infringe upon his or her free expression or contradict his or her personal, moral, or religious beliefs.”

For more coverage, see Capitol Fax.

Updated Eavesdropping Law Passes State House

Illinois House voted 71-45 May 22 to allow civilians to make audio recordings of police officers exercising their public duties in public places, the State Journal-Register is reporting.

Senate Bill 1808 would create a new exemption in Illinois’ eavesdropping statute, which now allows a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for people who record police officers without their consent.

In an effort to appease law enforcement opposition, the bill’s chief House sponsor, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, added a provision that would make it a crime to edit the recording of a police officer if it was submitted as evidence of wrongdoing.

Nekritz and other supporters said it is time to modernize state law.

“This bill does not create any new rights. It decriminalizes behavior that citizens engage in every day,” Nekritz told the Journal-Register.

Other lawmakers wanted to go a step forward. According to the Journal-Register, Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, said the answer would be to go to one-party consent—in which recording would be permissible if only one person in a conversation consents. Illinois law requires the consent of everyone involved.

The bill now goes back to the Senate, which has approved a different version of the bill. But the law’s days might be numbered without legislative action anyway. To date, two state judges and one federal judge have ruled that the statute is unconstitutional.

New Bill: In-line Skates are Vehicles, Subject to Traffic Laws

The Illinois Legislature May 23 sent Gov. Pat Quinn a bill that would require in-line skaters to follow the same traffic laws as all other vehicles on the road.

Under current law, in-line skaters are required to be on the sidewalk, and are not allowed to skate on the road.

“People are skating at too high of speeds to be forced to be on the sidewalk,” the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Chris Nybo, R-Lombard, told stltoday.com.

The bill, which passed the House 101-16, also prohibits in-line skaters from attaching themselves to cars on the road.

The bill, Senate Bill 3336, will be sent to the governor for his signature.  

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