SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Northlake, which creates a new felony offense for endangering first responders passed the Illinois House of Representatives with vast bipartisan support.
“First responders deal with incredibly strenuous situations, and they put their lives on the line every day for our safety,” Willis said. “The last thing they need to worry about is someone intending to cause them harm while they are doing their job. My legislation criminalizes the endangerment of our emergency responders.”
Willis sponsored House Bill 841, which creates the Daniel Capuano Memorial Act, stipulating a new criminal offense of endangering emergency first responders. Dan Capuano was a firefighter who responded to a fire in a vacant warehouse, but lost his life after the owners of the property failed to maintain proper permits and conducted illegal work on an elevator shaft.
The act details the offense as being committed from the following acts: creating a dangerous situation, deliberately withholding the dangerous condition, and the dangerous condition is the cause of a first responder’s death. Willis’ bill passed the Illinois House with vast bipartisan support and now advances to the Illinois Senate.
“This bill will send a strong message to the men and women who put our safety ahead of their own that we are serious about their protection,” Willis said. “No one should ever knowingly put a police officer, firefighter or any other first responder in danger. I want our emergency responders to know that we have their backs, no matter what.”
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