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May 22, 1997


The Honorable Justice Bilandic delivered the opinion of the court.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bilandic

JUSTICE BILANDIC delivered the opinion of the court:

At issue in these consolidated appeals is the constitutionality of Public Act 89-428, enacted by the Illinois General Assembly on December 13, 1995. The plaintiffs in each case challenged the Act as violative of the "single subject rule" contained in article IV, section 8(d), of the Illinois Constitution of 1970. The circuit court in each case ruled that the Act was unconstitutional on this ground and ordered that the appellants are permanently enjoined from enforcing any provision of the Act. We now affirm in part and reverse in part the circuit courts' judgments.


The single subject rule concerns the method by which legislation is enacted. We therefore begin with a review of the procedural history and substance of Public Act 89-428.

Public Act 89-428

Public Act 89-428 was introduced as Senate Bill 721 on March 2, 1995. At that time, the bill was entitled "An Act in relation to prisoners reimbursement to the Department of Corrections for the expenses incurred by their incarceration, amending named Acts." The bill was eight pages long and addressed only this specific topic. The Senate passed the bill on April 25, 1995, with no amendments.

When Senate Bill 721 reached the House of Representatives, amendments four through sixteen were placed on the bill. These amendments addressed an array of different subjects, including, inter alia, expulsion of school students for bringing weapons to school, increasing the penalties for the possession of cannabis, and providing for privatization of some services of the State Appellate Defender's Office. One amendment retitled the bill as "An Act in relation to crime." With these amendments, Senate Bill 721 passed the House of Representatives and was sent back to the Senate.

The Senate and House could not agree as to which of the 13 House amendments to the bill should stand. As a result, a conference committee was formed. The conference committee changed the title of the bill and replaced everything after the enacting clause. What had started out as an eight-page bill became a bill of over 200 pages. The bill became so voluminous that even the broad title of "An Act in relation to crime" could not cover all the subjects contained in the bill. Thus, the committee renamed the bill "An Act in relation to public safety."

The bill encompassed a multitude of subject matters, contained in six articles. Article 1, entitled "The Child Sex Offender Community Notification Law," created a statewide database for the purpose of identifying child sex offenders and provided for community notification of registration of child sex offenders. Article 1 also amended the Sex Offender Registration Act to change the definition of "sex offender" and to expand the definition of "sex offense."

Article 2 amended the Criminal Code of 1961 to create the offense of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. This article also amended numerous other acts, including the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act, the Children and Family Services Act, the Military Code of Illinois, the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act, the School Code, the Health Care Worker Background Check Act, and the Illinois Vehicle Code, to include references to the offense of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.

Article 2 also contained provisions amending the Juvenile Court Act to allow the prosecution as an adult of juveniles who are at least 15 years old and who are charged with committing aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, and juveniles who are at least 13 years old and who are charged with committing first degree murder during the course of certain other crimes. In addition, article 2 amended the Unified Code of Corrections to make life imprisonment the sentence for a defendant who, while under the age of 17, murders a person under the age of 12 during the course of certain other crimes.

Article 3 created the Environmental Impact Fee Law. Beginning on January 1, 1996, this law imposed an environmental impact fee of $60 per 7,500 gallons of fuel sold or used in Illinois to be paid by the "receiver" of the fuel. The fees collected were to be deposited in the Underground Storage Tank Fund created by the Environmental Protection Act and ultimately used to reimburse eligible owners of underground storage tanks for costs incurred in remedying contamination caused by leaking tanks. Article 3 also amended the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois, the Motor Fuel Tax Law, and the Environmental Protection Act.

Article 4 amended the Cannabis Control Act to enhance the felony classifications for the possession and delivery of certain amounts of cannabis.

Article 5 amended the Unified Code of Corrections to decrease the frequency of parole hearings for prison inmates.

Article 6 amended section 14-3 of the Criminal Code of 1961, which governs exemptions from the offense of eavesdropping. This amendment added subsection (j) to section 14-3, providing that the following activity would be exempt from the offense of eavesdropping:

"(j) The use of a monitoring system by any corporation or other business entity engaged in the provision of products or services to the public, or to the officers, employees, or agents thereof, when the acts otherwise prohibited herein are for the purpose of service quality control or for educational, training, or research purposes and such acts are performed with the consent of one party to the communication being intercepted.

No communication or conversation or any part, portion, or aspect of the communication or conversation made, acquired, or obtained, directly or indirectly, under this exemption (j), may be, directly or indirectly, furnished to any law enforcement officer, agency, or official for any purpose or used in any inquiry or investigation, or used, directly or indirectly, in any administrative, judicial, or other proceeding, or divulged to any third party." Pub. Act 89-428 ยง 601, eff. December 13, 1995.

Article 6 also amended the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 to provide that a criminal defendant who is receiving psychotropic drugs is entitled to a fitness hearing only where the court finds there is a bona fide doubt of the defendant's fitness. This article also added a new provision to the law governing the admission of the hearsay statements of child victims.

In addition, article 6 amended the Unified Code of Corrections' provision regarding the Truth-in-Sentencing Commission and rewrote its provision requiring convicted persons committed to the Department of Corrections to reimburse the Department for the expenses incurred as a result of their incarceration.

Public Act 89-428 provided that its provisions would take effect upon becoming law, except that article 1 would take effect June 1, 1996, and article 3 would take effect January 1, 1996. Public Act 89-428 was passed by both the House and the Senate and was signed into law on December 13, 1995. Shortly thereafter, the two declaratory ...

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