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The Illinois legislature allows the deceptive practice of introducing "shell bills," and state lawmakers take full advantage of it. In the text of a shell bill, a simple word like "the" is proposed to be stricken from an existing state statute and then replaced with exactly the same word. An example is Senate Bill 1007 from the 2007 session, an excerpt from which follows:

    (a) Any person commits sexual exploitation of a child if in
    the the presence of a child and with intent or knowledge that a
    child would view his or her acts, that person:
           (1) engages in a sexual act; or
           (2) exposes his or her sex organs, anus or breast ...

The shell bill thus opens a section of state law for revision, without revealing the exact nature of the intended changes, which will be made later in the form of last-minute amendments to the bill. No one can tell, from looking at the introduced text of the bill, just what the author has in mind. And that's the point of introducing such a "shell."

The process of monitoring legislation in Illinois is intentionally made very difficult.


The Illinois legislature meets from January 13, 2010, through January 11, 2011. Bills from 2009 DO CARRY OVER to the 2010 session. Prefiling is not available for legislation

The NAC board member responsible for Illinois is Bill Schroer.

View the state laws for Illinois.

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