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Schools must have a legitimate reason to demand students provide their social media passwords under a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Chief sponsor Rep. Mike Fortner, R-West Chicago, said his bill — HB 3527 —  strikes a balance between student privacy and school districts’ legitimate needs to investigate problems such as bullying.

“There are still different ways to get that information,” he said. “What they can’t do is to ask for that password and go off and use that password on their own,” he said.

Brian Schwartz of the  Illinois Association of Principals said the measure appears well balanced.
“We think it’s a much better bill and a much better law and will allow building-level administrators to investigate violations of school district policy but still allow (for) and protect kids privacy,” he said.

Fortner’s measure defines and clarifies a reasonable-cause requirement, whereas earlier legislation was sometimes being cited as justification to implement blanket policies.

Under the new measure, a school would now need reasonable cause — such as report by a victim, parent or witness — before entering students’ social media spaces to look for information.

“There should be a real event going on before demanding private passwords, otherwise it’s just fishing without cause,” Fortner had said.

The new act takes effect immediately.

Senator Kirk & Representative Mike Fortner
To Host Staff Mobile Office Hours

Staff from the Office of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
Staff from the Office of Ill. State Representative Mike Fortner (R-49th)

American Legion Hall Post 300
123 Main Street
West Chicago, Ill.
*Parking available in rear

Monday, August 31, 2015
10:00am – 1:00pm

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) announced that his staff will hold mobile office hours in West Chicago on Monday, August 31, in conjunction with Illinois State Representative Mike Fortner’s (R-49th) staff. Kirk staffers will be available to assist constituents with any problems they may be experiencing with the federal government, including Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, student loans, and immigration.

I am pleased to have the opportunity of partnering with Rep. Christine Winger and several area pet rescue and shelter organizations for a first ever Pet Rescue Fair to be held on Sunday, August 16th at the James "Pate" Philip State Park, 2054 W Stearns Rd in Bartlett. The event will take place from 12:30 pm until 3:00 pm and is free to the public. 

Participating organizations will have information and applications and, most important, dogs, cats and other small animals available for adoption. Participating rescue and shelter organizations include:

·         Anderson Animal Shelter
·         Greyhounds Only
·         Mobile Mutts Rescue
·         St. Sophia's Forgotten Felines
·         Kane County Animal Control

Springfield, IL… Proposed spending without revenue, playing political theater at its best according to State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago).

“Here we are again just a few days before the legislative session is set to adjourn discussing the state budget.  House Democrats propose a budget that by their own omission is more than $3 billion out of balance. Illinois’ constitution requires the General Assembly pass a balanced budget. Voting in favor of this unbalanced budget would be a violation of the oath we took as legislators,” said Fortner.

“Spending money we don’t have and avoiding reforms needed will dig Illinois further into its fiscal hole. A partisan budget does not solve anything but adds to false hopes for state funded services for our most vulnerable and to educate our children. We need a serious process with both parties at the table.”

State Representative Mike Fortner questions Speaker Madigan on the lack of individual protections from future inflation of a constitutional imposed "Millionaire Tax".
Springfield, IL…Today, State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) released a statement speaking to the need for Illinois elected official term-limits in order to end the partisan political agendas.

“Over the years in the General Assembly, at the beginning of nearly every spring session, I file a proposed constitutional amendment to limit terms of leadership for Speaker of the House, Minority Leader of the House, Senate President and the Senate Minority Leader. I do this because I have seen first-hand how necessary it is to have turn over in these positions,” said Fortner. “Term limits can have benefits that are not the obvious new face in office but an opportunity for new original ideas.”

“Ohio, a Mid-West state that does recognize term limits, placed an amendment on the ballot last December with a bipartisan support to reform redistricting and end some of the gerrymandering games that had become a point of contention in their state.  The only reason this happened, was because the members whose terms were limited could leave redistricting reform as part of their legacy. Had they thought they’d be serving past 2020, when the next redistricting is scheduled, it would have been unlikely to see them agree to the bipartisan reforms,” said Fortner.
Springfield, IL…Today, State Representative Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago) passed legislation in the House to strengthen individual rights to their social media privacy’s. House Bill 3527 was filed as a result of the newly effective laws that require students to release their private social media passwords to the schools upon request so long as the school notified the parents about the new policy and published it in the schools handbook.

In 2014, a bill passed requiring school districts to create an official policy on how to address cyberbullying. That bill, House Bill 4207, became effective Jan. 1, 2015. House Bill 3572 is a measure that clarifies and defines the term “reasonable cause” relating to social media, which has been used as a blanketed policy to demand students hand over their personal social media passwords. As introduced HB 3572 provides clarity of “reasonable clause” and actual scenarios that the schools would have to comply to avoid a violating a student’s individual privacy. 

“Without having a true definition of “reasonable cause” and what falls within those parameters, it became apparently clear to us that there were no regulations stopping schools for asking for this information,” said Fortner.

House Bill 3572 provides that a school does not have reasonable cause to request a student’s social networking password unless a victim or concerned party, such as a parent or guardian, has filed a complaint with the school or a school personnel have witnessed cyber-bullying taking place.

“In 2014 a school decided the way to comply with the cyberbullying law would be to send notification to parents indicating school personnel could demand Facebook passwords from students if a case of cyberbullying existed. The current law is not being interpreted correctly, this bill will clarify that only in the case of “reasonable cause” can the school make such a request,” said Fortner. “There should be a real event going on before demanding private passwords, otherwise it’s just fishing without cause.”