CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois voters have approved a constitutional amendment affording crime victims more rights during criminal prosecutions.
The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights would ensure that victims receive necessary information about court proceedings, including hearings and plea negotiations. It would ensure access to information about seeking restitution and staying safe around alleged perpetrators.
The proposal had the backing of Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan and was pushed by prominent victims’ rights advocate Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins.
The vote to put it on the ballot brought just two “no” votes in the House. They came from prominent Democratic lawmakers who feared for the Illinois Constitution’s integrity and that the measure might tip the balance against criminal suspects’ rights.
The proposal was patterned after the 2008 “Marsy’s Law” in California following a college student’s murder.
Illinois voters have also passed a constitutional amendment regarding voters rights.
Illinois voters have approved a non-binding ballot question on raising the minimum wage.
The advisory referendum asked whether the state should raise its minimum wage to $10 from $8.25 by 2015. Democratic campaigns nationwide have pushed the idea.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, sponsored the initiative. Supporters hoped widespread support for the question would add momentum to a legislative proposal to raise the wage.
It also became an issue the race for governor between Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW’-nur). Quinn supports raising the wage, but previous legislative efforts have fallen short.
Rauner initially wanted to cut the minimum wage. Now he supports raising it if other business reforms are included. Many businesses fear a hike would kill jobs.
Voters in Illinois support an advisory referendum about whether insurance plans in Illinois should include birth control as part of prescription coverage.
Illinois law has required contraceptive coverage since 2003. Supporters of the ballot question say if it gets overwhelming approval, the voters’ endorsement will ensure that the provision remains law in the future.
They point at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that craft-store chain Hobby Lobby is not required to pay for birth control. Birth-control advocates say that decree guts the state’s 2003 law.
But opponents of the measure crafted by Chicago Democratic Sen. Iris Martinez say it was simply a ploy to drive Democratic voters to the polls.
Voters also turned out in favor of a non-binding proposal for a three-percent tax on all income over $1 million.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)