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Decatur – State Representatives Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) and John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) held a press conference Wednesday in Decatur to discuss legislation they are sponsoring to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois for cop killers and child murderers.

With violence against law enforcement officers making headlines on an almost weekly basis, the Republican legislators believe it is time to bring back the death penalty for the worst criminals.

“The statistics are alarming,” said Rep. Mitchell. “There have been 95 law enforcement fatalities so far this year, with 26 officers being shot and killed in the line of duty. We must do everything possible to support law enforcement and provide them with the tools necessary to prevent these despicable acts of violence. If you kill a police officer, you should get the death penalty.”

State Rep. John Cabello, Republican spokesperson on the House Judiciary – Criminal Law Committee, also serves as a Rockford Police Detective. Cabello introduced legislation earlier this year to reinstate the death penalty and create the Capital Crimes Litigation Act of 2015. Rep. Cabello filed the legislation in response to the most heinous crimes involved in first degree murder charges.

“We need a mechanism in place for the criminals who decide to commit a heinous act that results in a violent death,” said Rep. Cabello. “This legislation is aimed at combatting the worst of the worst. Criminals that decided to take the life of a first responder, child or multiple victims should face the most serious consequences for their actions.”

House Bill 4059 narrows the list for prosecutors seeking capital punishment for a convicted first degree murderer to the murder of a peace officer, correctional employee or fireman while performing his or her duties, multiple murders, murder of a child under the age of 12, murder committed on school grounds, and murder as a result of terrorism.

“Correctional officers interact with convicted murderers on a daily basis,” Rep. Mitchell added. “If a prisoner is already facing a life sentence, what is going to deter him from killing an officer who is protecting the public from these murderers? We believe the possibility of being executed would make these criminals think twice before attacking officers.”

Rockford… State Representative John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) passed legislation this past spring to provide non-violent offenders the opportunity to regain entry into the workforce.  Today, the Governor signed that legislation (HB 3149) into law.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said Rep. Cabello. “The legislation will grant non-violent offenders the opportunity to petition to the courts to seal their records if they have successfully completed the educational requirements. However, a judge will make the final decision as to whether the petitioner is worthy of approval.”

House Bill 3149 allows an offender who earned a high school diploma, associate’s degree, career certificate, vocational technical certificate, bachelor’s degree, or a GED, during the period of his or her sentence, aftercare release, or mandatory supervised release, to petition the courts to seal their record immediately upon completion of the requirements.      
“The recidivism rate in this country and right here in Rockford is unacceptable.  How can we expect these offenders to not fall back into criminal activities after they are released if no one will hire them because of their record? This incentive gives hope and direction to those willing to change their lives for the better,” added Rep. Cabello.

The law does not allow for an offender to utilize the opportunity if they have completed the same educational goal previously. If the offender’s petition for sealing is denied, then the applicable waiting period under the sealing law shall apply to any subsequent petition for sealing by the offender.
Springfield... State Representative John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) sponsored legislation that the Governor signed into law today that aims at making major reforms to Illinois’ law enforcement community.

“Congratulations to law enforcement for recognizing the need for change and leading by example for the rest of the nation to follow,” said Rep. Cabello. “As a chief negotiator on my side of the aisle, I made sure the combination of reforms represented law enforcement and community as equally as possible. Quite frankly, not everyone likes the legislation, but it’s significant in that it moves the ball in the direction it needs to go and is a prime example of the type of successful compromise that can be reached between both Democrats and Republicans.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 1304, is a result of negotiations between all four caucuses and stakeholders from the police and legal community, which is a combination of police officer related bills that were held in Judiciary – Criminal committee and various Judiciary – Criminal sub-committees this past spring session.

Specifically, the legislation defines incidents involving law enforcement involved deaths, provides for independent investigations and prosecutions, enhances reporting mechanisms, outlines traffic and pedestrian stop procedures, creates choke-hold restrictions and allows for body cameras worn by officers.

“There was a lot of hard work and tough negotiations made while crafting this legislation, but the final product is still a work in progress. There is always room to improve, but this is a step in the right direction and can be a blueprint to guide other states as we work to reform law enforcement for the better.”

The bill applies to law enforcement statewide and is effective immediately for provisions concerning funding of the Law Enforcement Camera Grant through fines and the Commission on Police Professionalism. The remainder of the bill has no effective date and is thus effective January 1, 2016.

Click HERE for Legislation Highlights PDF

The Adjunct General of the Illinois National Guard, Richard J. Hayes Jr. visited the Machesney Park Armory on Monday. State Representative John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) welcomed General Hayes to the Armory.

General Hayes and Rep. Cabello toured the facility and met with local staff. General Hayes officially started as The Adjutant General on Monday, June 8, after being appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner on May 25. He replaced Maj. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, who is retiring after more than 38 years of military service.

The Machesney Park Armory was built in 1993 and stands close to 44,000 square feet. The compound houses multiply units that account for a wide variety of duties. Anyone wishing to get more information about joining the Illinois National Guard can visit the recruiting office at the Armory, 10451 N 2nd St, Machesney Park, IL 61115.

Rockford... On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities. This legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

On Sunday, State Representative John M. Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and local RAMP leaders celebrated the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA with legislation of their own, which Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law.

“The signing of House Bill 4049 is a great step forward for the disability community. With a signature Illinois laws will now reflect the language being used by individuals with disabilities who make up 20 percent of the population. In taking this step the State of Illinois is recognizing the work of advocates in the Disability Rights movement across the country to elevate, educate, and infiltrate individuals with disabilities to equal status at all levels of the communities in which they live. Disability Rights ARE Civil Rights.”

House Bill 4049 removes antiquated language from current statutes in Illinois and replaces those terms with Person First Language. For example, the law changes all occurrences of "the physically handicapped" to "persons with physical disabilities", changes all occurrences of "the handicapped" or "handicapped persons" or "handicapped individuals" to "persons with disabilities", and changes all occurrences of "handicapping condition" to "disabling condition".

“I was honored that RAMP reached out to me to carry this monumental legislation,” said Rep. Cabello. “Their staff is always going above what is asked to help the community and I deeply appreciate their effort to get this legislation passed. It’s important we continue to recognize the progress that has been made through ADA and that we strive towards reaching full ADA compliance in Illinois.”

House Bill 4049 has an immediate effective date.

SPRINGFIELD, IL – For those in northern Illinois, the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center may be a best-kept secret among outdoors enthusiasts. To highlight this 750-acre hub of youth conservation activities, the Illinois Conservation Foundation is hosting a free open house from Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2. 

“Not enough families know about the programs and resources that the Torstenson Center offers,” said Wayne Rosenthal, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director and ICF Chairman.  “They’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the range of educational activities available to them when we open this beautiful property up to the public.”

Attendees are welcome to come with children and families to take part in conservation-related activities and events.  Children will get a chance for hands-on experiences with archery, crafts, and mammal identification with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police trailer.  They’ll also get to learn about pollinators and outdoors activities, as well as wildlife brought to the event from the Hoo Haven Wildlife Refuge.  

Additional organizations that will be on-site include the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and more.  In addition to scheduled events, the ICF is also offering tours of the full property to see the new catch-and-release fishing pond, the beautiful 11,000 square-foot log cabin and archery range.

“This is a great opportunity to visit several organizations that share a similar mission,” said Eric Schmidt, ICF Executive Director.  “We’re all inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders, and this is a chance to turn ‘screen time into green time’ for area children.”

This event will occur rain or shine, and food will be provided in return for donations to the ICF and Torstenson Center.  The Torstenson Center is located at 13735 Cook Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063.

For more information, please visit or call (217) 785-2003.