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Category: Press Releases

State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D–Orland Hills) supported the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act today, a measure that regulates the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones.

Hastings, a co-sponsor of the bill, noted the importance of drones but cautioned that privacy must be protected.

“Drones are a powerful technology that has revolutionized the fight against terrorism overseas,” Hastings said. “But we have to ensure that the use of this technology does not infringe on citizens’ right to privacy.” 

The proposed legislation would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant before using a drone to collect information. The bill includes a handful of exceptions, including when the Department of Homeland Security determines such surveillance is needed to prevent a terrorist attack. Other exceptions would be cases of imminent danger or preventing a prisoner escape.

The measure, Senate Bill 1587, passed the Senate 52-1 and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Hastings-041113br0645State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Hills) passed a measure today aimed at lowering college tuition costs for veterans. Senate Bill 2167 grants Illinois residency to veterans who are entitled to educational assistance under the Post 9/11 Educational Assistance Program passed. Granting veterans residency allows them to qualify for in-state tuition, thus lowering the cost of tuition fees and rates. 

Hastings’ bill would resolve a disparity in the Post 9/11 Education Assistance Program that has inadvertently burdened a significant number of American veterans with thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket tuition and fees based on residency status.

“The Post 9/11 Education Assistance Program is a great initiative that is an investment in the future of our most recent generation of veterans,” Hastings said. “Unfortunately, veterans are having difficulties obtaining state residency, which results in higher tuition costs and fees. This measure would reconcile that issue by granting Illinois residency to veterans who are utilizing the Assistance Program and attending an Illinois public university or community college.”

The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act is a federal law passed in 2008 that provides financial assistance to veterans wanting to go to college after finishing active duty. The law applies to veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Assisting our veterans in their transition to civilian life is an important priority,” Hastings said. “Fortunately, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides an opportunity for our veterans to get the proper education they need to find good-paying jobs after the finish serving their country.”

Senate Bill 2167 passed the Senate 55-0 and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

Hastings041013br0146SPRINGFIELD – Yesterday, the Senate passed a measure that will help the family of a law enforcement officer who takes his or her own life due to mental health issues stemming from active duty.

Senate Bill 1653, sponsored by State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Hills), allows the survivors of a law enforcement officer who takes his or her own life to be able to petition the Court of Claims for line-of-duty compensation – financial assistance given to the family of a fallen public safety officer. A mental health professional must establish that the suicide was a result of mental illness arising from the officer’s active duty service.

“Suicide is an unfortunate reality in our society,” Hastings said. “Not only do we have an obligation to ensure officers have access to treatment to help prevent these instances from occurring, but we also have an obligation to assist the families overcome these tragic incidences when they occur.”

Suicide rates for law enforcement officers are higher than the general population. According to a 2012 study, suicides occur 1.5 times more frequently among law enforcement officials than in the general population. Law enforcement officers kill themselves at a rate of 18/100,000 vs. 12/100,000 for the rest of the US. 

“Law enforcement officers perform their duties in constant, high-stress situations on a day-to-day basis,” Hastings said. “They interact with individuals suffering from physical and psychological trauma and are often put in high-risk situations where mistakes can lead to fatal results.”

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President, Michael Shields, indicated that this measure should have been included in the initial passage of the Line-Of-Duty Compensation Act.

“Suicide is something that, unfortunately, plagues police departments across the state of Illinois,” Michael Shields said. “This is something that should have been included initially when the line-of-duty death benefit became law and this was our way of following through to ensure that families that have already suffered such a devastating loss aren’t left penniless.”

Senate Bill 1653 passed the Senate 54-0 and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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CONTACT SENATOR HASTINGS

Welcome to the official website of Senator Michael E. Hastings. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Hastings directly or you may call any of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

Springfield Office:
118 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9595

East Office:
813 School Ave
Matteson, IL 60443

District Office:
20855 South LaGrange Road
Frankfort, IL 60423
(815) 464-5431

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