Senate Committee Passes Anti-bullying Bill

CHICAGO (May 13, 2014) – The Illinois Senate Education Committee today sent a strong anti-bullying bill to the full Senate, and Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, is calling for swift final action to send the bill to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk before the May 31 end of the spring session.

The measure, HB5707, introduced in the House by Rep. Kelly Cassidy and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Heather Steans, passed the House last month by a strong, bipartisan 64-43 vote. Today, the Senate Education Committee approved it on a bipartisan 10-4 vote and sent it to the full Senate.

The bill enhances state anti-bullying policy by writing a comprehensive state standard to be implemented by school districts. It requires schools to have an anti-bullying policy in place, investigate cases of bullying, and create a yearly report of incidents.

“We need to strengthen anti-bullying efforts in Illinois by creating standards that all school districts must follow. All students should be able to go to school in a safe and welcoming environment,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “The measure received bipartisan support when it passed the House; let’s make sure it passes with the same in the Senate.”

Cherkasov urged Illinoisans to seek a commitment from their state senators to cosponsor the bill and then vote yes before the scheduled May 31 adjournment of the General Assembly.

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