Governor Pat Quinn has signed laws cracking down on domestic violence and for aiding victims. One of the bills toughens penalties for repeat offenders. It classifies subsequent offenses as felonies and increases prison time to as much as 14 years for four or more convictions. Currently, many domestic violence cases are considered misdemeanors. The law takes effect Jan. 1. Joliet Democratic Sen. Pat McGuire sponsored the legislation. He says it "sends domestic abusers a strong message." One of the other laws signed by Quinn requires school districts to have policies for responding to teen dating violence. It takes effect immediately. A third bill aims to protect victims covered by their abuser's insurance policy. It allows insurance companies to communicate with victims without informing their abuser. It takes effect January 1.
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