Gov. Signs Bill: Enhances Penalties for Assaults Committed in Places of Worship

State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) announced that Governor JB Pritzker has signed House Bill 38 to enhance the penalties against anyone who knowingly causes great bodily harm or permanent disability to someone engaged in prayer or other religious activities at a church, synagogue, mosque or other building used for religious activities.

“I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation to make it clear that people of faith who are attacked in churches are valued and harming them will get you higher penalties,” explained Rep. Darren Bailey. “This is a good example of a bi-partisan bill that passed unanimously out of both chambers of the legislature and now is the law in Illinois.”

The new law provides that it is an aggravating factor in sentencing for first-degree murder when the murdered individual was a member of a congregation engaged in prayer or other religious activities at a church, synagogue, mosque, or other building, structure, or place used for religious worship.

Also under this new law, an assault and battery committed in a church, synagogue, mosque, or other building, structure, or place used for religious worship are enhanced to aggravated assault or aggravated battery with higher penalties.

The penalty for aggravated assault under this provision is a Class A misdemeanor and an aggravated battery under this provision is now a Class 2 felony.

Provides that a person also commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when the person knowingly carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, any firearm in any school church, synagogue, mosque, or other building, structure, or place used for religious worship.