On January 9, 2008 the Chicago City Council passed legislation sponsored by Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th Ward) and Alderman Edward Burke (14th Ward) which expands the tools available to protect people from cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is defined in the legislation as harassing and threatening someone through electronic communication on at least two or more occasions.
In the wake of recent incidents of harmfu1 cyberstalking nationwide, the Chicago City Council has taken a proactive stance that such crimes will not be tolerated. The legislation imposes fines of up to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses as well as up to 90 days in jail or up to 1,500 hours of community service.
Illinois is one of forty-five states that have cyberstalking laws on the books and this city legislation broadens the options available to law enforcement officials and judges to punish this conduct.
As Chairman of the Chicago City Council's Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development, Alderman Margaret Laurino is concerned with making sure our city's legislation keeps up with technology. "As we heard from law enforcement officials from both the city and county at our committee hearing, this legislation gives us an additional tool to help fight crime and keep our citizens safe, particularly our children", said Alderman Laurino.