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Statement re Passage of Illinois Senate Bill 1547

Illinois Governor Rauner signed Senate Bill 1547 into law on August 21, 2015. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Toi Hutchinson and Representative Anthony DeLuca, will protect survivors of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities from penalties based on 911 calls. The following can be attributed to Jenna Prochaska, Staff Attorney at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law:

Senate Bill 1547, signed into law today by Governor Rauner, creates a necessary protection for survivors of domestic violence and individuals with disabilities. It bars local governments from enacting or enforcing ordinances that penalize tenants or landlords when the police are called in response to incidents of domestic and sexual violence or on behalf of a person with disabilities.

No one should fear losing their home because they call the police to protect themselves. However, more than 100 Illinois local governments have enacted so-called “crime free” or nuisance property ordinances, which often threaten landlords and tenants with penalties when the police are called to a property. At least 35 of these ordinances directly punish landlords or tenants based on the number of police calls to the residence. Labeling crime victims as a “nuisance” when they call the police sends a victim-blaming message that can discourage survivors of domestic and sexual violence from calling 911. These ordinances can also discourage individuals with disabilities and their loved ones from calling the police to seek mental health and emergency services.

Senate Bill 1547 will promote public safety by encouraging tenants, neighbors, and landlords to call the police when emergency services are needed. It further will ensure that survivors of domestic or sexual violence and individuals with disabilities will not be evicted or labeled a “nuisance” simply because they asked police for help. Senate Bill 1547 was supported by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, along with the ACLU of Illinois, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Housing Action Illinois, Access Living, and Chicago Battered Women’s Network.

This new law takes effect in 90 days.

For more information contact:

Kate Walz, Director of Housing Justice
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
50 E. Washington, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 368-2679 (direct line)

 

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org.

 


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

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