05092017CM0249 mStarting in January of 2018 Illinois will have additional safeguards against hate crimes under a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago).

The governor signed House Bill 2390 on Tuesday, which expands the definition of a hate crime to include transgressions that are committed on the grounds of a place associated with a particular religion, not just inside a church, synagogue or place of worship.

“This legislation is designed to send a strong message that we will not tolerate hate crimes in Illinois,” Steans said. “Individuals who deface the grounds of a religious facility will now be held accountable for their actions.”

The law removes the $1,000 restitution cap and allows courts to impose fines that are commensurate with any injury or damages caused. Courts also will have the discretion to award punitive damages. In addition, parents and legal guardians now will be held liable for any damages caused by a minor under the law.

“With recent events in Charlottesville and across the nation, now more than ever it is important to cement the rights and protections of religious organizations into law,” Steans said.

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