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  • Writer's pictureThe MIG Journal

Senate Debate Day One

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Today was the second day of the Model Illinois Government simulation and the Senate has been discussing many bills, some of which were heavily argued, while others did get ‘all-yes,’ and others still were being amended. Anyway, the second day in the Senate was quite energetic and every Senator brought their own thoughts and proposals, which sometimes made me look at the law from a different point of view which otherwise I would never think about. During the Committee Actions and Floor Sessions, Democrats and Republicans had done a great job and managed to say out loud all the proposals and arguments supporting their team’s position on the issues which influence the lives of Americans.

The first bill which was discussed was SB2404 which, in short, was about the medical cannabis delivery license obtainment issue (with amendment) – passed. After some debate by the Democrats, the Minority Leader argued that the minds of individuals ages 18-25 are still under development and allowing these young individuals to deliver such a controversial substance should be prohibited. The Minority Leader continued, saying that in order to join the military you must be at least 17 years old to enlist in any branch of an active army, so that’s why the Minority Leader told the President that we should arouse the question of at what age an individual really becomes an adult: “17 years old kids can fight, but they cannot deliver the cannabis for medical purposes.” As a result the amendment to the law passed with “all-yes” from both Democrats and Republicans.

The other bill SB1756 was offered to be amended, saying that carrying guns law should only apply to state and federal buildings and does not apply to public transportation vehicles. The debate started with the Majority Senator saying that people use guns as tools, and they use this tool because they don’t feel enough protection from the government. And then the Senator argues that it is the government’s task to protect its citizens, not a random guy who carries the gun. However, the Republicans opposed that if a person has a license to obtain the gun, it does not mean that he will start to shoot random people in public places, and it means that this person does not have mental illnesses and it means that this person knows what he or she does. They continued their argument by saying guns in the right hands can be used greatly if they are educated about how to use them in the way to help protect themselves and other people around them. After that, the Majority Senate pointed out that there are guns which are in hands of not just ‘good people’ but also ‘bad people,’ and what the government should do is to test people more accurately and more frequently check the backgrounds in order to make sure that the law works for the good sake because guns are very deadly weapons. However, the Republicans claim that deadly weapons can be not just guns, but also knifes and other tools which were not originally created to be used for criminal purposes. And the ratio of crimes and murders involving other means of weapons than guns is much higher than with the guns. So, it’s not reasonable to say that guns are the only deadly weapon. At the end of the debate, the bill with the amendment did not pass.

Sometimes, the debate process of some bills seemed to be emotional and more subjective, and this was the case with SB2266, as the bill was about animal abuse. SB2266 moved to make animal abuse cases a class 2 felony rather than class 3. Senators in general had a point of view that animals are living beings and they have feelings and if we abuse animals it should be seen the same as if it involves a person. However, Republicans claim that animals have an animality which is different from the behavior patterns of the people, and sometimes an animal can become uncontrollably aggressive, and the question is if an animal is seen by the Democrats as if they were people, then an animal should be punished for his expression of aggression by hurting other people. After that, the Majority Leader claimed that they see the bill to be about hurting animals who are innocent and show no signs of danger, and they pointed out that most serial killers were proven to show the signs of the unhealthy attitude towards animals, so it is better to prevent the future crimes by starting from the root causes: “The animal abuse should be seen as a serious crime.” But the Republicans argued that sometimes it’s hard to understand what the circumstances were when the animal abuse occurred, it’s hard to prove what it was, hurting an animal on purpose or it was an act of self-defense: “Sometimes there is no choice but to protect ourselves from some specific dangerous behavior of animals”. When debate ended, the bill passed.

The degree of involvement of religion in education has been debated in American society for quite a few decades, so this debate involved almost all senators from the Right and the Left. The number of the bill is SB2141. What is interesting is that the bill discussion didn’t seem to have a difference in the opinions between the right and the left. The debate started with the Majority Leader stating that the religion should not be a sole base of the education process of the young people, however the Democrats don't see anything wrong with having religion-based educational institutions. Republicans say that religion should not become an educational cult and youngsters and students at universities should not be forced to be part of the church, as it will mean that people’s freedom of religion was taken from them. Democrats added that religion-based educational institutions are brainwashing sometimes, and some children were simply forced by their parents to attend this kind of school/university. Democrats pointed out again that they don’t have strong distrust in religion-based institutions. The debate ended with the result of the bill being passed.

Overall, both Democrats and Republicans met SBOL001 positively and were willing to pass it. The electronic database of the gun holders will ensure safety and will reduce the cases connected with gun violence and racism towards people of color. Also, this bill will make the search of people who committed a crime involving a gun easier. As the Majority Leader pointed out, the background check then will be more often, and it will allow the process of giving FOID cards more accurate. However, the Minority Leader added that there is a chance for this kind of database to be hacked and downloaded. As a result, the debate ended with the result of the bill to be passed with almost ‘all-yes’.

By: Olga Shalaeva

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