Abortion notification repeal, drug decriminalization and midwife licensing among failed bills

SPRINGFIELD — In the final days of the legislative session, lawmakers passed bills to allow for college sports betting, to phase out isolation and seclusion practices at school, and to create more affordable housing units.

Despite the hectic rush to move important legislation by the May 31 deadline, some consequential bills did not come up for a final vote.

A bill to repeal the parental notification requirement for young girls seeking an abortion didn’t come up for a vote. Bills to license professional midwives and decriminalize small amounts of drugs passed in the House but not the Senate.

While these bills appeared to be stalled this spring session, they could still be taken up for a vote if lawmakers return to session later this summer to address energy legislation.

Repeal law requiring abortion parental notification for minors

House and Senate Democrats filed bills (House Bill 1797 and Senate Bill 2091) to repeal a 1995 abortion law that requires girls under the age of 18 who are seeking an abortion to notify their parents at least 48 hours before the procedure, with some exceptions.

Under the current law, the notice requirement doesn’t apply if a minor is accompanied by an adult family member, such as a parent, grandparent, stepparent or legal guardian, or if an adult family member waives the notice in writing.

There are additional exceptions to the 48-hour notice requirement, including for minors who are victims of physical or sexual abuse or neglect by an adult family member.

Another exception in the law, referred to as “judicial bypass,” allows for minors to obtain a court waiver, if the minor can show she is mature and well-informed enough to make the decision to obtain an abortion, or that it is not in their best interest to notify an adult family member.

Both bills are stalled in committees, and neither received a vote by the full House or Senate.

Creation of state licensing for professional midwives

House Bill 3401 would allow certified professional midwives to obtain official state licensing.

Currently, certified professional midwives are not eligible for licensing through the state, unlike certified nurse midwives, which are a separate occupation that requires a nursing degree.

CPMs are licensed in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

The bill would create the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act to license individuals who perform out-of-hospital births and have earned the credentials associated with being a professional midwife through the North American Registry of Midwives.

HB 3401 defines the practice of midwifery as the “means of providing the necessary supervision, care, and advice to a client during a low-risk pregnancy, labor and the post-partum period, including the intended low-risk delivery of a child, and providing normal newborn care.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support in the House, by a vote of 105-2, but was never taken up for a vote by the full Senate.

Reclassfying small amounts of drugs from felonies to misdemeanors

House Bill 3447 would reclassify small amounts of drug possession, including heroin and cocaine, from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor.

Under the bill, a person who possesses less than three grams of heroin would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Currently, that offense would be charged as a Class 4 felony, which carries a one- to four-year prison sentence.

Misdemeanors under the bill would also include possession of less than five grams of cocaine, less than five pills of most schedule III substances such as Xanax and Valium, and less than 40 pills of oxycodone and similar painkillers. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by a jail sentence of less than one year.

It would also reclassify some low-level drug dealing offenses as a Class 4 felony, from a Class 3 felony.

HB 3447 passed narrowly out of the House, by a 61-49 vote, with just one vote more than needed. The Senate did not take up the bill for a full vote.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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