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Laws decriminalizing HIV transmission that require media literacy education pass Senate Capitolnewsillinois.com

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State Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, is pictured in a file photo at a virtual committee hearing earlier this year. He is the Senate sponsor of a bill to decriminalize the transmission of HIV that the Senate passed Tuesday. (Photo credit: Blueroomstream.com)

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

11 other countries have decriminalized HIV

BY SARAH MANSUR & JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
news@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed measures that decriminalize the transmission of HIV and require public high schools to teach media literacy.

Both measures have already been passed by parliament and only need the signature of Governor JB Pritzker to become law.

House Bill 1063 would remove existing criminal laws that punish HIV transmission as a Class 2 crime. If Pritzker signs the bill, Illinois would join 11 other states that have no laws criminalizing HIV transmission, including Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

HB 1063 would also repeal existing laws that allow law enforcement or prosecutors to access a person’s HIV status. Under current criminal law, a person who transmits HIV to another person can be charged with “criminal transmission of HIV”.

Current law prohibits the forced disclosure of an individual’s HIV status, but provides exceptions for law enforcement officers or prosecutors to summon or apply for the HIV status of a defendant.

The Illinois HIV Action Alliance, which campaigned for the law, praised its passage.

“The truth is, HIV criminalization has never improved safety or public health in Illinois – instead, it has only harmed people with HIV, their families, and their communities. It has promoted stigma and discrimination and has advised against testing, treatment and disclosure for decades, ”the group wrote in a written statement on Tuesday.

Senator Robert Peters, a Democrat from Chicago, backed the bill in the Senate, and Rep. Carol Ammons, a Democrat from Urbana, was the primary sponsor of the House of Representatives.

It was passed on Tuesday by 37 to 17 votes from the Senate and last month by 99 to 9 votes from the House of Representatives. It is presented to the governor for signature.

The Senate also joined the House of Representatives in passing House Law 234, which requires public high schools in the state to provide instruction on how to understand and rate news and social media as part of their computer literacy courses.

Senator Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, supported the Senate bill.

The requirement would begin in the 2022-2023 school year and would include instructions on how to access information across different platforms; Analysis and evaluation of media messages; Creating your own media messages; and social responsibility and citizenship.

There was no debate on the measure on Tuesday as it passed 42-15. The House passed it on April 20 with 68 to 44 votes.

Capitol News Illinois is a non-profit, non-partisan news service that covers state government and is distributed to more than 400 newspapers across the state. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


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