Illinois' Blue Lives Matter Legislation Could Add First Responders

Aug 30, 2016

When state lawmakers return for the fall veto session, a southern Illinois lawmaker will introduce adding first responders to Blue Lives Matter legislation.

State Senator Dave Luechtefeld says he will propose adding firefighters, EMT's and correctional officers as categories of individuals that receive additional protection from being targeted for discrimination.

The retiring Okawville republican says like police officers, first responders are often dealing with very dangerous situations.
"Many times it's not just because they're dangerous, but because people will target these people in cases like this. So, I think it's a good bill and hopefully we can, in the long run, get is passed."
Republican Paul Schimpf is running for Luechtefeld's open seat in November. He says it's a hate crime when law enforcement and first responders are targeted for doing their jobs.
"We trust those individuals to really enforce order in our society and they are the bedrock of our society. That's why I said an attack on those individuals really is an attack on our society at large.''

59th district state senate candidate Dale Fowler says it's the right thing to do.

"These first responders and these public safety officials are out every day saving our lives. I think it's important for us to take all the steps necessary to do the same for them."

Luechtefeld says he doesn't expect the proposal to go anywhere this fall, so he hopes Fowler and Schimpf can carry it forward if they are elected in November.

Earlier this month, the state of Louisiana passed a similar revision to its existing hate crime statute. The city of Chicago is considering a similar bill.