Rep. Andrew Chesney
Despite the often contentious politics in the state capitol, Illinois state Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) was glad to see they could come together to pass laws addressing roadway safety.
“There are also those issues that provide rare, hopeful moments of bipartisan progress,” Chesney said in a blog posted to his website. “One of those issues is enforcement of roadway safety surrounding protection of our law enforcement, emergency personnel and first responders.”
Chesney points to such tragic episodes as two state troopers being killed in crashes over a 72-hour period in March and at least 16 troopers being struck and injured by vehicles over the first four months of this year as some of the reasons why legislators may have been moved to finding harmony on the issue.
“Punctuated by the tragic death of Trooper Brooke Jones Story this spring in Stephenson County, I was proud to work across the aisle in developing a response that included Scott’s Law violation prevention, education as well as penalty enhancements for violators of this important safety law,” Chesney said. “Scott’s Law is simple enough – slow down and move over for emergency vehicles working on our roadways.”
Chesney proudly reflects on having co-sponsored Senate Bill 1862 and Senate Bill 2038, both of which sought o address the issue.
“I also have been very up-front with Republican Leader Jim Durkin, as well as Democrats in the Illinois House, about my eagerness to continue to work on these issues to reduce or eliminate first-responder roadway fatalities,” he said.
Chesney said he’s convinced everyone owes a measure of gratitude to law enforcement and first responders that should propel them to do everything they can to try to keep them protected when it comes to the condition of roadways.
“We worked hard this spring to keep politics out of roadway safety and I, honestly, expect no less for this new task force,” Chesney said. “I am very thankful for this circumstance. In an uber-progressive environment in Springfield, stopping penalty enhancements has been religion for progressives in Illinois, but it doesn’t take but a few instances of drivers seeing terribly irresponsible practices in their own experiences on the roadway to know the depth and breadth of the problem we must address.”