Springfield….A package of bills sponsored by 118th district State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R- Metropolis) aimed at protecting the rights of crime victims unanimously cleared the Illinois House on Wednesday.
HB 2308 allows a judge to prohibit a defendant from contacting victims or witnesses from jail while awaiting trial. Windhorst says inmates awaiting trial sometimes use their phone privileges to harass victims while waiting for their court date.
“I am proud to sponsor this victims’ rights legislation,” Windhorst said. “My goal is to keep incarcerated offenders from being able to contact their victims while awaiting trial. We owe that to the victims of violent crime and domestic abuse. When someone comes to law enforcement asking for protection,
they should be able to rely on the fact that they will be kept safe from their aggressor.”
HB 2309 also passed the House with unanimous support. Windhorst says the legislation provides that when a petition for an emergency stalking no contact order, a civil no contact order, or an emergency order of protection is filed, the petition and court order will not be publicly available until the order is served on the offending individual.
“This bill is another tool to help protect individuals in potentially dangerous situations where domestic violence or abuse takes place,” Windhorst said. “These protective orders are not valid until served on the subject of the order. The reason I sponsored the legislation was to make sure those who are subject don’t find out about them through publicly available websites or other means and avoid being served. We want to make sure that if someone files an order of protection that they can count on law enforcement to be able to serve the orders and keep them away from that person from day one.”
Having passed the Illinois House, HB 2308 and HB 2309 will now move to the Illinois Senate for consideration.