Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into a law a measure that loosens restrictions for people with past felony convictions who want to legally change their names.
The measure passed last month in the Illinois Senate after being approved with bipartisan support in the House in 2021.
While opponents have argued the measure would allow felons to escape scrutiny and potentially commit more crimes, supporters maintained the legislation would protect transgender individuals who face discrimination, as well as victims of human trafficking who face danger from their abusers.
Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, there is no longer a lifetime ban on name changes for people who have been convicted of identity theft, as well as for those on state registries for convictions on offenses that include murder, arson and various sex crimes. For all other felonies, the law lifts a 10-year waiting period from the completion of a sentence for people to change their names.
Judges will have the final word over approving name changes for people convicted of felonies that had been subject to the lifetime ban, and the measure would allow county prosecutors to object to those name-change petitions. In those cases, the petitioners would have to convince judges that they want to change their name because they’re transgender, were victims of human trafficking, for religious reasons or because they got married.
“The bill moves Illinois closer to a fair, modern system regarding the ability of transgender and gender expansive individuals, as well as survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence to change their names,” Khadine Bennett, director of advocacy and intergovernmental affairs at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said in a statement Friday afternoon.
“Survivors of human trafficking and transgender people too often are at risk simply because they do not have identity documents that align with their authentic selves,” Bennett said. “This is corrected under the new law.”
via “Illinois Politics” – Google News https://ift.tt/vLtWdl4
February 10, 2023 at 07:28PM