Lawmakers Dennis Reboletti, Adam Brown, Mattie Hunter Open Way for Seized Drug Money to Help Fund Addiction Treatment

(Chicago, IL) – A bi-partisan group of Illinois state lawmakers this year opened the door to a possible new source of funding for addiction treatment agencies: money seized from drug dealers.

The legislation, House Bill 2048, was introduced by State Representative Dennis Reboletti (R-Addison) and sponsored by State Representative Adam Brown (R-Decatur) and State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago). It empowers local state’s attorneys with the discretion to make grants to Illinois treatment agencies and half-way houses from the monies and the sale proceeds of all other property forfeited and seized under state drug laws.

The bill, which won unanimous support from both legislative chambers, was signed by Governor Pat Quinn on August 4.

“As government budgets for substance abuse treatment continue to shrink, it is deeply encouraging that lawmakers can work together to develop creative solutions to address the need for treatment funding,” said Pamela Rodriguez, president of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC).

“The gap between the treatment need and availability is widening,” added Rodriguez. “I want to thank Representative Reboletti, Representative Brown, and Senator Hunter for their hard work and Governor Quinn for approving the new law, which is a step toward reducing that gap.”

The new public act is a direct outcome of recommendations made by the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission, a statewide, bipartisan group established in 2008 to examine the impact of Illinois drug laws on racial and ethnic groups.

The Commission’s final report, released to the Illinois legislature in December 2010, recommended that local jurisdictions define a fixed portion, or criteria that would trigger the allocation of a portion, of existing drug asset forfeiture funds to support treatment and diversion programs in addition to enforcement and prosecution activities.

In addition to Brown and Reboletti, House sponsors included State Representatives Connie Howard (D), Jim Sacia (R), Chapin Rose (R), Esther Golar (D), Rita Mayfield (D), LaShawn Ford (D), Monique Davis (D), and Camille Lilly (D).

In addition to Hunter, Senate sponsors included State Senators Jacqueline Collins and Donne Trotter.

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2012.

TASC, Inc. has a 35-year history of promoting social justice and providing alternatives to incarceration in Illinois. TASC’s Racial Justice Initiative, including dissemination of the findings of the Illinois Disproportionate Justice Impact Study Commission, has received generous support from The Chicago Community Trust.

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