05162018CM0595c rSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate today approved a bipartisan initiative to regulate gun dealers and reduce the number of illegal guns being used to commit crimes in the state.

Senate Bill 337 is sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and builds on a similar measure he sponsored that Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed March 13. Lawmakers were unable to override the veto despite urging from Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, medical professionals who treat gunshot victims and others.

“We are back with a much better bill that addresses the governor’s concerns about small businesses, but we are doing so without compromising public safety,” Harmon said.

Senate Bill 337 contains provisions to better record and track private gun sales. It treats all firearm licensees the same, regardless of their size. It requires the Illinois State Police, rather than the state agency that regulates professions and occupations, to certify gun dealers.

To crack down on illegal transfers after a gun purchase, it establishes a penalty for those who fail to maintain a record of private gun sales and requires the state police to make key information about guns used in crimes available to the public.

Additional provisions in the bipartisan proposal include:

•    requiring gun dealers to safely store firearms at all times,
•    requiring gun dealers to make copies of FOID cards or IDs and attach them to documentation detailing each gun sale,
•    requiring employees to undergo annual training about the law and responsible business practices, and
•    requiring gun dealers to open their place of business for inspection by state and local police.

Senate Bill 337 was approved 35-18 and will be sent to the House for consideration.

“This is a sensible measure that satisfies everyone’s concerns,” Harmon said. “It doesn’t compromise our objectives, nor does it infringe on anyone’s 2nd Amendment right to buy, sell or own a firearm. I look forward to passage in the House and to Gov. Rauner signing it into law.”

Category: News

harmon press conference rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) joined Democratic and Republican lawmakers today to announce a new effort to tackle the issue of illegal guns being used in crimes in Illinois.

The legislation, Senate Bill 337, incorporates portions of Harmon’s Gun Dealer Licensing Act, which Gov. Bruce Rauner recently vetoed, as well as provisions to better record and track private sales.

“We took seriously concerns about the bureaucracy included in the Gun Dealer Licensing Act,” Harmon said. “This legislation provides much-needed oversight on gun purchases without creating a new bureaucracy.”

Harmon’s measure would require the Illinois State Police, rather than the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, to certify dealers.

The legislation also treats all firearm licensees the same, eliminating exemptions for small and large dealers to focus on their actions, not their size.

To crack down on illegal transfers after a gun is purchased, the measure puts in place a penalty for individuals who fail to maintain a record of a private sale and requires State Police to make key information about guns used in crimes available to the public.

“We recognize that blame does not lie solely on the dealer when someone uses a gun to commit a crime,” Harmon said. “By certifying gun dealers and implementing better practices to track straw purchasers, we hope to be able to make it harder for someone to use an illegal gun to commit a crime.”

Several key provisions from the Gun Dealer Licensing Act are :

•    requiring gun dealers to implement a safe storage plan for firearms during retail hours and after closing,
•    requiring the posting of signage reminding employees and customers to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have access,
•    requiring certified licensees to make a copy of the buyers or transferee’s valid FOID card or ID and attach it to the documentation detailing the sale,
•    requiring employees to have annual training regarding legal requirements and responsible business practices,
•    and requiring certified licensees to have their place of business open for inspection by the State Police and local law enforcement.

Senate Bill 337 awaits action in the Senate.

Category: News

05022018CM0435 rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) passed legislation today that would create safe zones in Illinois in which immigration enforcement is limited.

The measure requires the attorney general to put in place a model policy by April 1, 2019, on limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent permissible at locations including state-funded schools, state-funded medical treatment and health care facilities, public libraries, facilities operated by the secretary of state and state courts.

These safe zones were in the original version of the Trust Act that passed the Senate but were amended in the House and not in the final version signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner last year.

“I represent a diverse district that includes immigrant families who make invaluable contributions to their community,” Harmon said. “I want my constituents to feel safe when they do routine things like visit the doctor or take their children to school, not fear that they’ll be treated like criminals.”

A 2014 study by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights found that roughly 68 percent of undocumented immigrants participate in the labor force in Illinois, a higher rate than that of the general public (66 percent).

According to a 2011 memorandum, it is the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s official policy to avoid enforcement activities at “sensitive locations” like schools, day cares, medical facilities and courthouses. This guidance is nonbinding, however, and the Illinois Supreme Court has recorded numerous arrests of immigrants at courthouses in the past year.

“I believe the current political climate has left immigrants feeling horribly vulnerable,” Harmon said. “I hope this legislation gives them a sense of security in the state they call home.”

Senate Bill 35 passed the Senate 31-16 and now heads to the House for consideration.

Category: News

04262018KS2948 rSPRINGFIELD – Legislation to decrease opioid dependence by increasing access to medical alternatives passed the Senate today.

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) passed the Alternatives to Opioids Act out of committee earlier this year and worked closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health to address remaining concerns before bringing it to the Senate for a vote.

The measure adds any condition for which opioids could be prescribed to the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program, allowing individuals who might otherwise use an opioid to participate in the program.

“Opioid addiction is one of the most pressing public health issues in our state,” Harmon said. “It kills thousands of Illinoisans every year and costs the state nearly $1 billion. We should be open to any reasonable solution to tackle it.”

The legislation creates a pilot program that allows patients to take a physician certification to a dispensary to receive medical cannabis. Patients can participate in the program and use medical cannabis to help them transition off their initial opioid prescription or to treat their pain without ever using opioids.  

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control last year found that a patient can become addicted to opioids within a week or even a few days of use.

“We know that medical cannabis is a safe alternative treatment for the same conditions for which opioids are prescribed,” Harmon said. “This legislation aims to stop dependence before it begins by providing an immediate alternative.”

Dispensaries would be required to verify the physician certification and dispense medical cannabis in set amounts based on the recommended duration of the opioid prescription. The patient would be given an endorsement card indicating that they are in lawful possession of medical cannabis.

Senate Bill 336 passed the Senate 44-6 with bipartisan support and will now head to the full Senate for consideration.

Category: News

04192018CM0231 rSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement today on his decision not to call a vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act:

“Today, I made the difficult decision not to ask the Senate to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of the gun dealer licensing bill.

“While I am confident that I had the votes in the Senate to override the veto, I could not assure my colleagues that the House would vote against the governor, particularly given his vociferous and unreasonable opposition to this measure.

“In the past few days, I have had productive conversations with suburban Republican members, in particular Senator Chris Nybo, that make me believe we can create a new path to regulating gun dealers in Illinois.

“I have also recently received overtures and encouragement from unexpected and unconventional allies who can better inform our decision making as we move forward towards a successful resolution.

“While making this decision, I frequently reminded myself that ‘victory’ is not overriding Gov. Rauner’s veto or winning any other political battle in the Capitol. Victory means protecting the people we represent from the senseless violence fueled by the ready availability of guns in our communities.

“Today, I am reintroducing the substance of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act as an amendment to an existing bill, Senate Bill 337, and I will begin work immediately on gathering support for the measure.

“Licensing gun dealers at the state level is a sensible step to reduce gun violence, and I will not give up. I am sure we will enact this measure – under this administration or the next.”

Category: News

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Email President Harmon

Springfield Office:
327 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(p) 217.782.8176

Oak Park Office:
6941-B W. North Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(p) 708.848.2002

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