Rep. McCombie stands behind DCFS protection bill
Illinois State Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) is as proud of the bill she recently drafted that will grant protections to Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Adult Protective Service workers as she is of any legislation she has sponsored during her two-plus years in Springfield.
House Bill 1482 would add DCFS and Adult Protective Service workers to the list of state employees legally protected from assault while on the job. With its passage, the charge for injuring a DCFS worker on the job would go from simple battery to a felony-aggravated-battery charge, carrying a sentence of four to 15 years.
The legislative push comes in the wake of former DCFS worker Pam Knight being beaten to death last September while checking on the welfare of a 2-year-old boy.
“I’m honored to be drafting this legislation on behalf of Pam Knight and her family,” McCombie told Rock Island Today. “It’s just too bad that so much of what we do here in Springfield is reactive and, in this case, the impetus comes from the loss of life.”
House Bill 4586, which initially addressed the issue, stalled in committee in 2018, but McCombie is hopeful that the new legislation will get over the hump.
“I’m very optimistic,” she said. “So far, we’ve already gotten 70 co-sponsors. I believe everyone wants to protect frontline workers and have the same parity for all of them. I’m very thankful that Don Knight came to Springfield with his granddaughter in support of his wife.”
Soon after the tragedy, a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that attacks on DCFS workers are more common than people may realize. The newspaper found that there have been at least a dozen “extremely heinous” attacks on staffers over the last six years.
The bill will now move to the House Floor for a full vote.