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Governor signs measures to protect license plate data in abortion, immigration activities

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(The Center Square) – Illinois continues its push to offer abortion access to those out of state as Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation to protect the license plate data of those coming to Illinois for the procedure from any repercussions back home.

House Bill 3326 limits other states’ ability to access automatic license plate reader data in Illinois to punish someone from out of state seeking an abortion in Illinois.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias spearheaded the measure and said during a June news conference that Illinois is leading the charge in abortion rights.

“I could not be more proud of this landmark legislation. No other state in America specifically prohibits ALPRs from being used to track and penalize individuals for their actions in another state,” Giannoulias said.

The measure did receive pushback from Republican lawmakers during the spring legislative session as state Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy, had concerns about the safety of shutting off these cameras for those seeking abortions.

“Under this law, a minor girl from Missouri could be brought to Illinois by her abuser to undergo an abortion, and that license plate data couldn’t be used to bring him to justice,” Tracy said. “We’re going to perhaps make this too broad and allow a true perpetrator and an abuser to go free and avoid prosecution.”

As the plate readers are used primarily to track crimes and help locate suspects, Giannoulias said they must ensure that they are utilizing the cameras correctly.

“Make no mistake, ALPRs are an important tool for law enforcement, especially when apprehending suspects in violent crimes or recovering stolen vehicles in carjackings,” Giannoulias said. “We need to regulate these cameras so they are not being used for surveillance and tracking the data of innocent people.”

The law also restricts the use of automatic license plate readers to check someone’s immigration status.

Illinois becomes the first state in the nation to adopt such a law and has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the nation.

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