SPRINGFIELD - An initiative pushed by a Southern Illinois woman that would reform cases involving shaken baby syndrome received overwhelming support from lawmakers Thursday.
The Illinois House voted 104-5 in support of a measure heralded by Rebecca Gibson, whose 22-month-old child was shaken to death three years ago. The measure, which now heads to the Senate for further debate, would expand a state registry that compiles offenders of violent crimes against children to include people who shake a baby to death.
"All this does is facilitate information to the public so you don't have someone in your home baby-sitting your child that is responsible for the death of a child," said state Rep. Michael Carberry, D-Oak Lawn.
Under the legislation, offenders convicted of involuntary manslaughter in which baby shaking was the cause of death would be listed on the Illinois Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry. Criminals are listed for 10 years.
Gibson of Herrin worked with state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, to craft the legislation. Bradley let Carberry sponsor the legislation but stood up in support on the House floor.
"This is a very serious issue," Bradley said.
Some lawmakers raised concerns that the law would apply to young adults who accidentally shake a baby to death.
"Some people don't realize you shouldn't shake a baby," said state Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago.
The legislation is Senate Bill 5762.