SPRINGFIELD — In the final days of the legislative session, lawmakers passed bills to allow for college sports betting, phase out isolation and seclusion practices at school and create more affordable-housing units.
Despite the hectic rush to move important legislation by the May 31 deadline, some consequential bills did not come up for a final vote.
A bill to repeal the parental-notification requirement for young girls seeking an abortion didn’t come up for a vote. Bills to license professional midwives and decriminalize small amounts of drugs passed in the House but not the Senate.
While these bills appeared to be stalled, they could still be taken up for a vote if lawmakers return later this summer to address energy legislation.
House Bill 3447 would reclassify small amounts of drug possession, including heroin and cocaine, from low- level felonies to a misdemeanors.
Under the bill, a person found to possess less than 3 grams of heroin would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Currently, that would be charged as a Class 4 felony, which carries a one- to four-year prison sentence.
Other offenses that would become misdemeanors under the bill include possession of less than 5 grams of cocaine; less than five pills of most Schedule III substances, such as Xanax and Valium; or less than 40 pills of oxycodone or similar painkillers.
Class A misdemeanors are punishable by a jail sentence of less than one year.
The bill would also reclassify some low-level drug dealing offenses as Class 4 felonies instead of Class 3.
HB 3447 passed out of the House, 61-49, just one vote more than required. The Senate did not take up the bill for a full vote.
Repealing notification for abortions
House and Senate Democrats filed bills to repeal a 1995 law that requires those under 18 who are seeking an abortion to notify their parents at least 48 hours beforehand, with some exceptions.
Under the current law, the requirement doesn’t apply if a minor is accompanied by an adult family member, or if an adult family member waives the notice in writing.
There are additional exceptions to the requirement, including for minors who are victims of physical or sexual abuse or neglect by an adult family member.
Another exception, referred to as “judicial bypass,” allows minors to obtain a court waiver, if they can show they are mature and well-informed enough to make the decision to obtain an abortion, or that it is not in their best interest to notify an adult family member.
Both bills are stalled in committees, and neither received a vote by the full House or Senate.
Licensing for professional midwives
House Bill 3401 would allow certified professional midwives to obtain official state licensing.
Currently, certified professional midwives are not eligible for state licensing, unlike certified nurse midwives, a separate occupation that requires a nursing degree. Certified professional midwives are licensed in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
The bill would license individuals who perform out-of-hospital births and have earned the credentials through the North American Registry of Midwives.
HB 3401 defines midwifery as “the means of providing the necessary supervision, care and advice to a client during a low-risk pregnancy, labor and the post-partum period, including the intended low-risk delivery of a child, and providing normal newborn care.”
The bill passed with bipartisan tally of 105-2 in the House but was never taken up for a vote by the full Senate.