Wheeler Advances Legislation to Aide Lake and McHenry Courtroom Security

This week, Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has kept-up her busy start to the 2015 legislative session by passing her first bill of the year with the support of the full House of Representatives. House Bill 299 will provide a direct benefit to a unique problem in Lake and McHenry counties with regards to security officers in each county’s court system.

“As I’ve said before, my number one focus when I consider legislation in Springfield is how it will impact my constituents at home,” said Wheeler. “The counties brought this unique issue with court security officers to my attention and it made perfect sense to bring it before the House and get it resolved in as timely a manner as possible. The bill clarifies an aspect of state law so that our court systems are able to function more smoothly and without unnecessary bureaucrat confusion.”

In Illinois, many counties hire court security officers through their County Sheriff’s Departments, which makes officers hired in this manner subject to the disciplinary rules of the Illinois Sheriff’s Merit Commission. However, in four Illinois Counties, such as Lake and McHenry Counties, a structure exists in which some officers are hired directly by the court system and not the Sheriff’s Department. Due to this, it was unclear how to deal with disciplinary matters for these officers and led to a legal conundrum. Wheeler’s legislation clarifies that only officers hired as certified applicants through the Sheriff’s Merit Commission will be disciplined under those guidelines, while other officers will be subject to the guidelines upon which they were hired.

Now that HB299 has passed the House with the support of all present members, it is expected to move through the Senate quickly and be brought before Gov. Rauner to be signed into law quickly. To follow the final passage of this bill into law click here.

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