- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Jurors across Illinois will be getting a pay boost next year, under legislation signed by outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday.

The Chicago Democrat approved the measure that requires counties to pay jurors $25 for the first day of service and $50 for each additional day. Counties now are allowed to pay jurors as little as $4 a day, causing Illinois to rank near the bottom of U.S. states when it comes to state-set rates.

The law was passed by the General Assembly during the last week of the veto session earlier this month. It also reduces the number of jurors in all civil cases from 12 to six, in an effort to keep costs down. Currently, Illinois allows six jurors in some types of cases.

Evergreen Park Democratic Rep. Kelly Burke sponsored the bill. Burke said that while serving on a jury is a “civic duty,” it’s also a hardship for those who can’t afford to drive lengthy distances to and from the courthouse. Plus, she has said, state law doesn’t require employers to pay wages during jury duty.

The new law is opposed by county leaders who are concerned about the potential for increased costs. Additionally, research groups and advocacy groups have suggested that smaller juries mean less impartial verdicts, as some individuals with big personalities might dominate smaller juries.

The law takes effect in June.

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The legislation is SB3075.

Online: www.ilga.gov


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