Senate OKs bill targeting fake degrees, credentials

Senate OKs bill targeting fake degrees, credentials

Proposal response to UI's hiring of ex-SLA member

SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that would make it illegal to use a false academic degree for the purpose of getting a job, gaining access to an advanced degree program at a university or getting a promotion was approved unanimously by the Illinois Senate on Monday.

The legislation also includes a provision that makes it a crime to present false credentials to obtain employment. That item was amended onto the bill last week by Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, in response to the University of Illinois' employment of former Symbionese Liberation Army member James Kilgore.

"Dr. Kilgore fraudulently stole the identity of a deceased child to obtain his degree under false pretenses," Rose said. "The university has said that it is working on comprehensive background checks for employees. I look forward to working with them on this point.

"Should their initiative have some 'teeth' to it, this may not be necessary. But with the session winding down, we needed to advance the amendment back to the House for concurrence now. I look forward to a conversation with U of I officials on this point."

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, who sponsored the original bill in the House, said last week that she had no objection to Rose's amendment on HB 4090.

The legislation was approved 46-0 in the Senate on Monday afternoon and now goes back to the House.