Legislative Update -- August 20, 2020August 20, 2020
Illinois remains at #7 nationally in self-response rates, at 68.9%, compared to 64% nationally. We are getting closer to the final response rate in 2010, which was 70.5% in Illinois compared to 72% nationally; but that isn't enough. Illinois risks losing a seat in Congress, an electoral college position, and funding: More than $20 billion in federal funding comes to Illinois based on our population as recorded by the decennial Census.
Mask Mandate Enforcement
We are aware that library staff may be concerned with enforcement of Governor Pritzker's statewide mask mandate, discussed in the August 13 Legislative Update, particularly in light of recently-signed legislation that explicitly adds "merchants" to the set of individuals against whom "battery" becomes "aggravated battery" of the battery occurs while the individual is performing duties including relaying health and safety guidelines during (and six months following) a declaration of disaster.
Fortunately, there were (and are) already such protections in current law for librarians. From ILA's legislative consultant: "Current law provides librarians with stronger protections than what is found within Public Law 101-0651. Current law holds if a person commits an assault against an individual on public property (for example--inside a library or school or university)--a state's attorney can charge that person with aggravated assault depending on the situational facts. Current law also holds if a person commits battery when the victim is on public property, a state's attorney can charge that individual with aggravated battery if the facts allow for it. Today, an assault and/or battery charge can be enhanced to aggravated assault and/or aggravated battery if a person against whom that crime is committed is a government employee performing his or her official duties--regardless if a state of emergency or a disaster has been declared."
Librarians concerned about this should absolutely check with their own legal counsel. We know the prospect of working effectively with communities to implement the mask mandate is daunting and we hope this information is helpful.