This week Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation that protects civil liberties and Second Amendment rights, while providing law enforcement and family with tools to temporarily remove firearms from unstable individuals who would use guns to harm themselves or others. Reick was one of the lead Republican negotiators of the bipartisan bill, and ensured that the final product preserved the rights of lawful gun owners and included due process for any individual who would have their guns temporarily seized.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) joined Governor Bruce Rauner today for the signing of legislation that will help prevent people who are a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing guns. HB 2354, which received bipartisan support in the House and Senate, was signed in Chicago at a ceremony attended by Democrat and Republican lawmakers and representatives from several branches of law enforcement. Reick was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

“The legislation signed into law today addresses the growing problem of unstable people using guns to cause harm, while also protecting gun owners’ rights,” said Reick. “The firearms restraining order bill that was sent to us by the Senate represented an extreme overreach into the civil liberties and Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. It also lacked adequate due process for the individuals from whom firearms would be removed. I was pleased to work with the Chief sponsor of the bill to create language that helps remove guns from mentally unstable individuals without trampling on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement can petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order. There then must be a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days requesting a six-month restraining order at which time the respondent will have the right to attend and respond. The standard of proof for an emergency order is probable cause that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by owning or having access to firearms. If probable cause is found, the court will issue an emergency firearms restraining order and shall issue a warrant directing law enforcement to search the respondent’s property and seize his/her firearms. At that point, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will have the authority to suspend the respondent’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and concealed carry license. 

If an emergency firearms order of protection is issued, the respondent is guaranteed the right to a full hearing, at which time it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a danger to him/herself or others. If the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties are also written into the bill that provide for penalties of perjury for any individual who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

“I believe this negotiated bill is the best of its kind in the nation,” said Reick. “It is already being viewed as a national model.”
At a recent joint meeting of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, a former Walter Payton College Preparatory student testified that the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) teacher who sexually abused her at school when she was 14 is now collecting a taxpayer-funded pension. Outraged by her testimony, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has filed legislation that would strip teachers who molest school children of their public pensions.

“I was shocked to learn that there was no provision in Illinois law to take these child predators’ pensions away,” said Reick. “School is a place where students should feel safe, and we’ve learned of numerous instances where the teachers charged with protecting kids have actually been sexually abusing them. And this is not just limited to CPS. There are cases right here in McHenry and Kane Counties alleging sexual misconduct by teachers toward students. It’s sickening.”

HB 5929, filed July 9 in Springfield, would amend the Chicago and Downstate Articles of the Pension Code to allow the forfeiture of pension benefits of any teacher who is found through an administrative hearing to have sexually abused a student. “This legislation puts Illinois teachers on notice that when they sign up for a public pension, they do so knowing that the benefit will be taken away if they violate a child,” Reick said. “It’s a real shame that we even need to legislate this. In the case of former Walter Payton College Prep student Morgan Aranda, it’s as though her abuser was rewarded for his despicable acts.”

While Reick said he would have preferred to write legislation that would retroactively remove pensions from child abusers, the pension guarantee written into the Illinois Constitution prohibits it. His bill would apply to any teacher hired after the effective date of the bill. Reick expects wide, bipartisan support of his legislation and hopes it will be heard during the legislature’s upcoming fall veto session. If passed and signed into law, the provisions of HB 5929 would take effect immediately.
Legislation championed by State Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) that will help ease Illinois’ teacher shortage has been signed into law. HB 5627 (now Public Act 100-0596), for which Reick served as Chief Co-Sponsor, removes red tape that is keeping well-trained educators out of Illinois classrooms.

“This is common sense legislation that ensures that quality teachers are in Illinois classrooms,” said Reick. “My office was working with a retired teacher from Woodstock who was named one of the top ten educators in the state during his tenure. This individual found the process to become a substitute teacher to be tedious and extremely expensive. I was pleased to help pass legislation that addressed this and other issues that have made it difficult for schools to find and retain an excellent workforce.”

According to Reick, the new law provides for the following:
  • Full reciprocity of out-of-state applicants for an Illinois Professional Educator License, which would allow out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois without meeting additional requirements 
  • Makes numerous changes to the Substitute Teaching License law to ease the process for out-of-state licensed teachers and retired teachers with lapsed licenses to work as substitute teachers 
  • Eases requirements for the timing of completion of professional development 
  • Retired educators could work in school districts through June 30, 2020 a total of 120 paid days or 600 paid hours each school year without infringing on earned pension benefits 
  • A short-term substitute teaching license would be established for individuals who hold an associate’s degree or have earned at least 60 hours toward a degree from an accredited institution of higher education 
“These are excellent changes that should ease the process for those who would like to teach in Illinois schools,” said Reick. “The standards remain high for the caliber of individual we would entrust to our public school classrooms, but much of the red tape and expense is removed.”

The provisions of the new law took effect on July 1.