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Legislation strengthens orders of protection

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Friday, March 15, 2019  |  Article  |  Anna Gazette-Democrat

Crime (28) , Legal System (27) Windhorst, PatrickÔÇôState House, 118
A Southern Illinois legislator earned unanimous approval from the Illinois House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee on two separate, but related pieces of legislation last week. 

“I want to thank my colleagues on the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee for joining with me to support two important law enforcement efforts this week,” State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, said in a news release. 

“I was proud to carry legislation at the request of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association.”

Windhorst represents the 118th District in Southern Illinois. Part of Union County is in the district.

HB 2308 ensures that a defendant is prohibited 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.

“This is a victims’ rights piece of legislation,” Windhorst said. “HB 2308 will keep incarcerated offenders from being able to contact their victims while awaiting trial.”

HB 2309 also passed the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee 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 shall not be publicly available until the petition is served on the offending individual.

“This is another action that we can take to help individuals in situations where domestic violence or domestic abuse takes place,” Windhorst said. 

“This measure will ensure that there is no, ‘heads-up’ or tip-off to a potential respondent to the emergency order of protection. We want to make sure that if someone files an order of protection that they can count on law enforcement to keep them away from that person from day one.”

HB 2308 and HB 2309 are Windhorst’s first pieces of legislation to clear a House committee since he took over as 118th District state representative in January.

The bills were reported to the House floor to await action.