Illinois Voters Get To Have Their Say On Marsy’s Law

This question asks if crime victims should have more rights protected by the constitution during court proceedings and criminal trials. The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights would ensure they have information about hearings and plea negotiations, access to restitution and protections against alleged perpetrators. The proposal is patterned after “Marsy’s Law,” which California voters approved in 2008 … Please read, comment and share.

Illinois Voters To Face A Rare 5 Ballot Questions

– The Associated Press, By Sophia Tareen

When Illinois voters cast ballots for the November election, they will have a rare opportunity to weigh in on nearly half a dozen hot-button issues.

In a practice more common in California and some other states, Illinoisans will wade through five ballot questions — ranging from constitutional amendments on voter and victim rights to advisory referendums on birth control, the minimum wage and a so-called “millionaires’ tax.” The most Illinois voters have seen before is three, at least since 1970, according to available state records.

Lawmakers say the non-binding questions are aimed at taking the public’s temperature so they know how to proceed in Springfield. But at least some of the measures also have a political purpose, as part of a coordinated campaign by Democrats to boost turnout for the midterm election.

The list of questions could’ve been longer, but attempts fell short to include questions about term limits — an effort backed by Republicans — and altering Illinois’ political redistricting process.

The initiatives haven’t had as visible a promotion as the contested races, and some political experts believe voters may just skip them.

“These are not part of Illinois political culture,” said David Yepsen, director of Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. “Voters aren’t used to it.”

Here’s a look at the measures:

CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS

This question asks if crime victims should have more rights protected by the constitution during court proceedings and criminal trials. The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights would ensure they have information about hearings and plea negotiations, access to restitution and protections against alleged perpetrators.

The proposal is patterned after “Marsy’s Law,” which California voters approved in 2008 after the murder of a college student.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved putting the measure on the ballot. But among opponents was House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, who argued that such standards could slow trials and should be dealt with through laws, not the constitution.

Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan backs it, saying crime victims are “owed a voice.”

 

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