SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) — A new bill has passed the Illinois House that would allow a person who must register with a state agency due to a criminal conviction to change their name under specific circumstances .
HB2542, or the Name Change Bill, was filed by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and would allow individuals on registries for arson, sexual or violent crimes to legally change their names.
House sponsor Edgar Gonzalez Jr. said the bill, if it becomes law, would make it easier for those people who have been convicted of crimes to reintegrate back into society.
“I think being able to change your name after rehabilitating and working to better yourself is a small thing for those people in order to reintegrate.” Gonzalez Jr. said.
Cassidy said during debate in the House that her name change bill is not only for people who have been convicted of crimes. Many others stand to benefit from this legislation, she said.
“This has a particularly dangerous impact on people who have survived human trafficking, survivors of domestic violence, folks who are transgender, and are seeking to get their documents lined up with their identity,” Cassidy said.
Gonzalez agreed the measure would help members of the LGBTQ community.
“I think it is important that the bill allows people to more clearly identify with their gender identity,” Gonzalez said.
During debate, state Rep. Mark Batinick raised the issue of criminals who might want to change their names to “avoid” certain people and start new.
However, the legislation would require any name change to also be published publicly unless the petitioner could show that doing so would cause “a hardship, including but not limited to, a negative impact on the person’s health or safety.”
The bill currently sits with the Senate Assignments Committee after passing through the House.
By Andrew Hensel for the Illinois Radio Network
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October 8, 2021 at 08:40AM