Quinn Signs Campus Smoking Ban, Tougher Drug Penalty Legislation

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ public colleges are going smoke-free — indoors and out — starting next summer.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he’s signed a law that bans indoor and outdoor smoking at all state-supported colleges and universities.

The bill makes exceptions for smoking inside privately owned vehicles traveling through campus and some activities under the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act. A companion bill signed by Quinn also allows smoking on campus inside parked, non-state-owned vehicles.

Quinn says the measure will protect students’ health and help nonsmokers avoid unwanted smoke. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan and state Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago, both Democrats.

The ban takes effect July 1, 2015.

Several Illinois colleges already have adopted smoke-free policies.

Illinois has increased the penalties for some drug offenses.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed three drug-related pieces of legislation Saturday. They take effect Jan. 1.

Manufacturing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of any school property will now be a Class X felony, punishable by a minimum of six years in prison. It was previously considered a Class 1 felony.

Another new law adds synthetic drugs known as 25-I, 25-C and 25-B to the list of controlled substances that are illegal to manufacture, deliver or possess with the intent to distribute. Quinn’s office says the hallucinogenic drugs have been available online and linked to serious and fatal reactions.

Quinn also signed a bill that makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to buy or possess products containing the herbal stimulant Kratom.

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a law making it easier to track statistics about Illinois’ Latino population. The Democrat attended the Fifth Annual Cuban Festival Sunday to sign the legislation requiring state agencies to update data-collection practices. It adds “Hispanic or Latino” as a separate racial or ethnic category in state agency reports.

Illinois is creating a non-profit foundation to better help veterans.

The Illinois Joining Forces Foundation will support Illinois Joining Forces, a network of organizations that serve veterans, active military and their families.

The network was created in 2012 and housed in the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Department of Military Affairs.

Supporters say having a non-profit foundation —rather than the state — oversee the network will provide more flexibility in raising and distributing funds. It also will allow the group to hire an executive director who’s not a political appointee.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill creating the foundation on Saturday.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Acting Director Rodrigo Garcia says the law “marks the next stage in our efforts to help so many deserving people across Illinois.”

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