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Illinois bill could increase gun restrictions on orders of protection

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Illinois bill could increase gun restrictions on orders of protection

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — An Illinois Lawmaker wants to empower judges to remove guns from the hands of those accused of domestic violence.

“I believe this bill, specifically, this part of the bill will have an impact and remove firearms from many volatile situations, preventing intimate partner homicide,” Representative Denyse Wang Stoneback (D-Skokie) said.

When a domestic abuse victim asks for an order of protection, there is a two week period before the hearing. A judge will often issue an emergency order of protection during that time. Right now, courts often wait to suspend a suspect’s FOID card after that emergency order is over. But Stoneback’s bill would allow judges to suspend FOID cards during the emergency order of protection period as well.

According to Stoneback, Some have the power to suspend somebody’s FOID Card along with issuing the emergency order of protection. Stoneback’s bill would ensure that the judge’s understand they have that power in law.

“Judges in Illinois have interpreted sometimes a lot in both directions,” Stoneback said. “Sometimes they have removed firearms, with ex parte hearings due to imminent dangerous or volatile situations, and in light of the fact that the respondent will have notice of hearing at a later date, and other other judges have chosen not to remove firearms during this period.”

Before seeking out an order of protection, a victim of domestic violence often assesses if they are endangering themselves even more, according to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. If they know their abuser has a gun, it just adds another layer onto an already difficult decision.

“They have to consider everything, including, if I go to court and ask for an order of protection, and include the remedy for removal of guns, will that further put me in more danger?” Vickie Smith with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence said. “Or Will it further infuriating the person who’s harming me, or will I actually get some service and have those guns removed so that I feel safer, and it’s something that a survivor always has to weigh.”

The Illinois Coalition against Domestic Violence believes that many victims don’t trust the order of protection system, but that trust is crucial, because without it, they may not step forward and report their abuse.

“It’s long been a personal frustration of mine, that people think that, oh, let’s create an order of protection, because that’s going to be the way to protect people. That’s only the very first step. And everybody has to understand the mechanisms by which orders of protection work in order to make them work.

The bill would also extend the amount of time an accused abuser’s FOID card would be suspended.
If the judge suspends their FOID card, it would be for either 2 years, or the duration of the order of protection — whichever is longer.

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Vikings’ Eric Kendricks ‘excited’ about new coach Kevin O’Connell, direction of team

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Vikings’ Eric Kendricks ‘excited’ about new coach Kevin O’Connell, direction of team

On Jan. 10, hours after the Vikings fired Mike Zimmer, linebacker Eric Kendricks didn’t mince words when he spoke about what type of culture was needed with a new head coach. He said, “I don’t think a fear-based organization is the way to go.”

In February, the Vikings hired Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell as Zimmer’s replacement, and the team began offseason drills last month. On Wednesday, Kendricks spoke to the media for the first time since his strong comments in January.

Kendricks, who joined the Vikings in 2015, said he didn’t want to look back on the seven years he spent playing for Zimmer, who was known for his abrasive nature. But all indications are he is pleased with what has transpired so far under O’Connell, known for being much more easy going.

“I’m real excited about the staff,” Kendricks said. “Everybody’s been on board, everybody’s been communicating very well. … We have this amazing opportunity ahead of us again. … Whatever happened last year is in the past and we have to move forward. We can learn from a lot of things, but we also have to adapt and change with the new year.”

On the same day Zimmer was fired, the Vikings also dismissed general manager Rick Spielman, who was replaced later in January by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. During the process of looking for a coach, Kendricks said Wednesday he had conversations with management and the Wilf ownership group about what the team might be seeking.

“We had a great conversation at the end of the season and throughout the offseason a little bit,” Kendricks said “I’ve talked with the Wilfs as well. … Just having that bridge of communication with them and the management as well, I feel like it’s not really common. I’ve talked to players around the league and they don’t really have that communication with their ownership.”

Kendricks didn’t give specifics but said his conversations with Zygi and Mark Wilf were more detailed than anything he had before. He said previous dealings with ownership usually came when he went to community events and the Wilfs “happened to be there.”

All indications so far have been that Kendricks, 30, is building a strong relationship with O’Connell. The head coach is counting on Kendricks, who joins safety Harrison Smith, 33, and cornerback Patrick Peterson, 31, as one of three players on the defensive who is 30 and older.

“From day one, I’ve been so impressed by Eric and just his impact on our team, his impact as a leader, part of our leadership group that we have here, which I’m very, very fortunate in my first job as a head coach to have such a good group,” O’Connell said.

Kendricks has led the Vikings in tackles in six of his seven seasons and was named first-team All-Pro in 2019, and O’Connell calls him a “core player” and a key communicator on defense. But Kendricks will have a bit of a different role in 2022.

The Vikings have shifted from a 4-3 scheme, which featured Kendricks as the middle linebacker, to a 3-4, in which he will be one of two inside linebackers. So far, Kendricks likes how the adjustment has gone.

“Obviously, with the 4-3, you’re gapped out most of the time and this and that,” Kendricks said. “With the (3-4), it’s a little more ambiguous at times. It allows you to make decisions on the run, make plays, run around really. I like it.”

Another difference for the 2022 season is Kendricks no longer will play alongside outside linebacker Anthony Barr, his former UCLA roommate and teammate who joined the Vikings in 2014 but was not re-signed as a free agent. Kendricks called that “definitely weird” but that it’s “the nature of the business.”

Kendricks is building a good rapport with fellow inside linebacker Jordan Hicks, who signed as a free agent in March. Kendricks had gotten to know Hicks a bit previously at the 2015 combine and when he was teammates with his brother Mychal Kendricks in Philadelphia from 2015-17.

Kendricks called it “pretty wild” that he is entering his eighth NFL season. And he is challenging himself to be even more of a leader under the new coaching staff.

“I got to step up in ways that I can,” he said. “I got to be a leader when they least expect. Whether that’s how I work, maybe me being more verbal, maybe taking somebody to the side. I got to step up my game as a leader, for sure.”

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MN Senate Democrats make final push to legalize marijuana

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MN Senate Democrats make final push to legalize marijuana

A late push by Minnesota Senate Democrats to legalize marijuana failed Wednesday, underscoring that recreational pot use is unlikely to be allowed in Minnesota this year.

Marijuana is legal in Minnesota for certain medical purposes.

Wednesday’s effort, which failed in a procedural vote almost entirely along party lines in the Republican-controlled Senate, can be viewed through the lens of election-year politics.

Two cannabis-legalization parties are active in Minnesota, and Democrats fear that candidates from those parties can peel off some of their voters who feel strongly about marijuana. Wednesday’s maneuver by Senate Democrats, while doomed, can serve as DFLers laying down a marker that they are united in their support for total legalization.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor-controlled House passed a plan to legalize pot last year, with some Republicans voting in favor of it, and Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, has said he would sign it if it were to reach his desk.

However, support among Republicans in the Senate has never been strong, and many are stridently opposed. Some Senate Republicans have been amenable to “decriminalization” plans that would lessen penalties for pot and expunge records of those convicted for minor possession. Former state Sen. Scott Jensen, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Governor this year, supports such expungement.

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen called such measures “piecemeal” and said they wouldn’t suffice.

Wednesday’s vote in the Senate wasn’t actually on the merits of legalization, but on whether the proposal should be brought to the Senate floor. Every DFLer who voted on the measure voted in favor of that idea, while every Republican who voted cast their vote against it. Two retiring independents, Sens. Tom Bakk of Cook and David Tomassoni of Chisholm, split their votes, with Bakk opposing and Thomassoni supporting.

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Tartan High senior chosen as ThreeSixty scholar for four-year scholarship to St. Thomas

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Tartan High senior chosen as ThreeSixty scholar for four-year scholarship to St. Thomas

Gwynnevere Vang, a senior at Tartan High School in Oakdale, has been chosen as the ThreeSixty Journalism Scholar and will attend the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul on a four-year, full-tuition scholarship.

The honor is awarded each year to one student enrolled in the nonprofit high school journalism program, which draws participants from across the metro area. There are currently four ThreeSixty Journalism Scholars enrolled at St. Thomas.

Housed at St. Thomas since 2001, ThreeSixty Journalism launched at the University of Minnesota in 1971 as the Urban Journalism Workshop, providing basic journalism training to Minnesota high school students, particularly low-income teens and teens of color. The program was part of a nationwide effort to increase the presence of people of color in newsrooms in order to better reflect and serve increasingly diverse communities. The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune are active partners.

Vang, in a written statement, said her career goal is to travel the country — if not the world — telling stories about the earth’s natural beauty and environmental movements. She joined ThreeSixty in summer 2020 and remained active with the program during the school year, completing a TV Broadcast Camp and high school journalism classes while contributing to her school’s online newspaper, the Plaid Press.

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