State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) stood with the Chief House Sponsor of HB 1482, Republican lawmakers from the House and Senate and the family of slain DCFS worker Pam Knight on Thursday to demand a Senate hearing and vote on legislation that would provide life-saving protections to DCFS workers.
HB 1482 was filed in response to the brutal beating and subsequent death of DCFS worker Pam Knight, who was beaten and later died after visiting the home of a two-year-old child at risk. The bill would close a loophole in Illinois law that excludes DCFS caseworkers from a law that provides for enhanced penalties for those who would attack and harm responders who put themselves in harm’s way in their efforts to keep Illinoisans safe.
“Protections afforded to police, fire and other workers who routinely walk into dangerous situations were not available to Pam Knight or her family,” said Demmer. “HB 1482 passed the House unanimously this year with 72 bipartisan House sponsors, but majority party leaders in the Senate won’t even schedule the bill for a hearing. DCFS workers deserve the same protections as other responders, and the fact that this issue has stalled for political purposes is unconscionable. The Senate must hear this bill and vote on this bill and Governor Pritzker must sign this bill.”
While speaking at a Springfield press conference, Don Knight, husband of Pam Knight, said, “Senators need to vote on this bill. This is not a political issue. Perhaps if these protections had been in place, my wife would still be with me.”
Demmer said passage of the bill cannot wait. “DCFS workers deserve to know that we value the work they do and that we recognize the risks they take in the name of public safety,” Demmer said. “We cannot wait until another DCFS worker is killed in the line of duty; we need to put these enhanced protections for DCFS workers in place without any further delay.”
Only eight days remain in the spring legislative session.