Pritzker has a bill to ease the way for name changes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – A bill to Gov. JB Pritzker would remove restrictions on Illinois residents who cannot change their name because of past crimes.

Supporters say the legislation would particularly help people who are transgender or have been victims of human trafficking.

“We really focused on the people who need it, it’s like a life or death need because they fear abusive partners or their trafficker will find them,” Khadine Bennett of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinoissaid the Chicago Tribune.

Current law provides a lifetime ban on name changes for individuals convicted of identity theft or on state registries for certain felonies. Others convicted of crimes face a 10-year wait to change a name.

A judge would make the final decision on a name change with input from a local prosecutor under a bill approved by the General Assembly.

One transgender woman, Reyna Ortiz, said she was unable to officially change her name to match her identity due to a previous conviction for identity fraud. Her driver’s license still has a man’s name on it.

“There are so many trans women walking around with identity cards that don’t match their gender identity, and it leads to varying degrees of systemic discrimination,” Ortiz said. Pritzker has a bill to ease the way for name changes

Sarah Y. Kim

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