ROCKFORD, Ill. – As violence against religious institutions continues to gain attention, state Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, has introduced legislation that would increase the penalty for property damage done to places of worship.
“I am disturbed by the increased threats and attacks against certain religious communities that have taken place these past few months,” Wallace said. “All Illinois residents, no matter their religion, have a right to worship without fear of violence being taken against them. We must continue to promote religious tolerance as an important staple of the Illinois tradition.”
Wallace is the sponsor of House Bill 3713, which increases the penalty for damage to a place of worship from a Class 4 felony to a Class 3 felony if the total value of the damage is less than $500. For cases of greater damage, the penalty would be raised to a Class 2 felony.
Wallace’s bill comes in the wake of increased national media attention toward hate crimes targeted at religious communities, as well as concern from Rockford religious leaders.
“We can never fully prevent intolerance, but we can ensure that criminals who cause damage are held accountable,” Wallace said. “Our community is made up of a variety of different religious communities, and every single one of them deserves to be respected.”
For more information, please contact Wallace’s constituent service office at 815-987-7433 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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