So, rather than votes, this report contains some interesting or noteworthy bills introduced during the first half of the year. All were referred to a committee with no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 496: Criminalize endangering an animal by leaving it in a vehicle. Introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D), to make it a crime to leave an animal in a vehicle in conditions that could cause harm (too hot, too cold, etc.). The bill authorizes penalties starting at 45 days in jail if no harm ensues, and up to five years in prison if the animal dies. Republican Sen. Rick Jones sponsored a companion bill with sentencing guidelines.
Senate Bill 508: Ban coal-tar driveway sealants. Introduced by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D), to ban the sale or use of coal tar sealant or other high PAH sealant for pavement.
House Bill 4723: Give immigrants in-state college tuition rates. Introduced by Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D), to charge in-state tuition at state universities and colleges to most resident aliens, including individuals who entered the country illegally as a child and have been granted a deferral from prosecution. This is part of a broader Democratic immigration package.
House Bill 4724: Restrict ‘stop and frisk’ to ‘reasonable suspicion.’ Introduced by Rep. Ronnie Peterson (D), to prohibit law enforcement agencies from adopting “stop and frisk” policies. This would only be allowed if an investigating officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the person is, will or has been engaging in criminal activity, or the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is armed and dangerous.
House Bill 4728: Provide free counsel to deportation targets. Introduced by Rep. Erika Geiss (D), to require the state to provide legal services to an illegal immigrant who is subject to a federal immigration removal hearing, and does not qualify under the state law that requires counsel be appointed at no cost to indigent individuals being prosecuted for a crime.
House Bill 4731: Mandate target of 5 percent of state contracts go to immigrants. Introduced by Rep. Jim Ellison (D), to require state procurement officials ensure that businesses owned by immigrants get at least 5 percent of spending on state contracts. If this does not happen because such firms don’t submit bids, the governor would have report on actions taken to get more immigrant bidders.
House Bill 4736: Increase minimum age for tobacco. Introduced by Rep. Tommy Brann (R), to increase from 18 to 21 the minimum age to sell, buy or use tobacco.
House Bill 4743: Permit and regulate fantasy sports game betting. Introduced by Rep. Aaron Miller (R), to establish a permissive licensure and regulatory regime on fantasy sports games and contests that offer money prizes, with an initial license fee of up to $5,000 for would-be vendors.