Quinn Gives Green Light to Eavesdropping Bill, "Tax RollBack" in Effect

Governor OKs New Eavesdropping Restrictions

·         New law allows citizens to record law enforcement officers.  Last week, Gov. Quinn signed SB 1342 into law as P.A. 98-1142; the measure puts new eavesdropping restrictions into place after the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the previous eavesdropping law last March.

As a result of the March court ruling, all Illinois residents had absolutely no expectation of privacy in regards to eavesdropping or digital recordings in public or private, not just law enforcement officers.  There were no protections in place for anyone in Illinois against being recorded against their wishes.

Under the previous law, recording anyone against their will in Illinois could be punishable under a Class 4 felony with a one to three years sentence.  For eavesdropping upon law enforcement (State’s Attorneys, Police Officers, and agents of the Attorney General) that punishment was significantly higher at a Class 1 Felony punishable with a four to 15 year sentence.

SB 1342 reinstates the Class 4 felony for concealing the recording of private interactions between Illinois residents, and actually reduces the punishment for recording law enforcement officials from a Class 1 to a Class 3 felony.  House Republicans also filed an amendment to this bill which would have made any eavesdropping in Illinois a misdemeanor for the first offense and would have stripped the enhanced penalties for police officers.

Despite widespread confusion and misinformation online, this new law incorporates provisions that DO IN FACT allow citizens to record police in an open and public manner.  In addition, in situations that are in public, even if a person is concealing what he or she is doing, the courts have found there is no expectation of privacy for law enforcement.  SB 1342 only prohibits a person from secretly recording law enforcement in situations where there is an expectation of privacy (e.g. two police officers discussing a case at the station).  

·         “Tax rollback” Under the terms of Illinois’ largest-ever tax increase law, P.A. 96-1496 (SB 2505) Illinois income taxes paid by individuals and corporations has been partly (not completely) rolled back as of January 1, 2015. Under the terms of the tax-hike law, passed by legislative Democrats and signed by Gov. Quinn, the income tax paid by Illinois residents on their individual income has been partly rolled back from 5.00% in calendar year 2014 to 3.75% in calendar year 2015 and following years.  The corporate income tax rate has been partly rolled back from 7.00% to 5.25% at the same time.  The new rates created by this rollback are supposed to remain in place for 10 years, until December 31, 2024, when a second rollback cycle is supposed to take place.  For more on the tax rollback, please visit The Caucus Blog.