Illinois House committee approves Jelani Day bill

Jelani Day
Jelani Day(Free to use)
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 9:17 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - A bill honoring the life of Jelani Day is one step closer to becoming law in Illinois.

Day was a graduate student at Illinois State University who went missing in August. Despite efforts to find him alive, authorities found his body floating in the Illinois River on September 4.

His family criticized local investigators for not working quickly to have the FBI involved. The calls for change were heard around the country as family members of other missing people of color found the FBI was called in much later than cases with missing white people.

Senate Bill 3932 requires county coroners or medical examiners in Illinois to notify the FBI when human remains are not identified within 72 hours. It received unanimous support in the Senate six months after Day was first reported missing.

“There are databases and whatnot available to try and streamline some of these processes,” said Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago). “But often, the FBI doesn’t know that these remains have been found or that they are unidentified. So, this is based on alleviating that process.”

This change to the state’s Missing Persons Identification Act passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee Tuesday night.

The Jelani Day bill now heads to the House floor for consideration. If the plan gets approval there, it will head to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk.

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