State Senator Robert Peters, D-Chicago, is pictured in a file photo during a virtual committee hearing earlier this year. He is the Senate sponsor of a bill decriminalizing HIV transmission, which passed Tuesday in the Senate. (Credit: Blueroomstream.com)
11 more states decriminalized HIV
By SARAH MANSUR & JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate passed measures on Tuesday decriminalizing HIV transmission and requiring public high schools to teach media literacy.
Both measures have already been passed by the House and will only need a signature from Governor JB Pritzker to become law.
House Bill 1063 would eliminate existing criminal laws that criminalize HIV transmission as a Class 2 crime. If Pritzker signs the bill, Illinois will join 11 other states who do not have laws criminalizing the transmission of HIV, including Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
HB 1063 would also repeal existing laws allowing law enforcement or state prosecutors to access a person’s HIV status. Under current criminal law, a person who transmits HIV to another person can be charged with âcriminal transmission of HIVâ.
Current law prohibits the forced disclosure of a person’s HIV status, but provides exceptions for law enforcement officials or state prosecutors to subpoena or request the HIV status of defendants.
The Illinois HIV Action Alliance, which lobbied for the bill, welcomed its passage.
âThe truth is that criminalizing HIV has never improved public health or safety in Illinois – instead, it has only hurt people living with HIV, their families and their communities. This has fostered stigma and discrimination, and it has discouraged testing, treatment and disclosure for decades, âthe group wrote in a written statement Tuesday.
Senator Robert Peters, a Democrat from Chicago, sponsored the bill in the Senate, and Representative Carol Ammons, a Democrat from Urbana, was the main sponsor in the House.
He walked out of the Senate by a 37-17 vote on Tuesday, and passed the House last month by a 99-9 vote. He will go to the governor for his signature.
The Senate also joined the House in adopting Bill 234, which would force public high schools across the state to teach how to understand and assess news and social media as part of their introductory computer classes.
Senator Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, sponsored the bill in the Senate.
The requirement would start in the 2022-2023 school year and would include instructions on accessing information on various platforms; analyze and evaluate media messages; create their own media messages; and social responsibility and good citizenship.
There was no debate on the measure on Tuesday as it went through 42-15. It was passed in the House on April 20 by 68 votes to 44.
Capitol News Illinois is a non-profit, non-partisan news service covering state government and distributed to over 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.