SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Speaking out against religious intolerance, state Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, is supporting a proposal that would increase penalties if an individual is convicted of murder, assault, battery or unlawful use of a weapon in a place of worship.

“Unfortunately we have seen a rise in violence and hatred toward people of various faiths,” West said. “Rockford is home to a diverse community of many faiths, and nobody should feel uncomfortable or threatened while practicing the religion they choose.”

West is backing House Bill 38, which makes a crime in a place of worship an aggravated factor if the crime is first degree murder, assault, battery or unlawful use of a weapon. Under current law for first degree murder sentencing, comparable crimes are considered “aggravated” if they occur against a police officer, a firefighter, a child under the age of 12, a teacher, a paramedic or corrections employee. House Bill 38 has been filed in the wake of high profile shootings across the country at synagogues, churches and other religious places.

“It’s disheartening to see the negative rhetoric and tragedies that have received media attention in recent months,” West said. “Nobody should feel uncomfortable in their church, synagogue, mosque or any other sanctuary. It’s on all of us to practice tolerance and encourage others around us to respect others.”

For more information, please contact West’s constituent service office at 815-987-7433 or Press@StateRepWest.com.

Rep. Maurice WestRep. Maurice West

67th District

Visit Rep. Maurice West’s website

Springfield Office:
237-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3167
District Office:
200 S. Wyman
Suite 304
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7433