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Rep. Bryant, Illinois House Republican Leader Durkin announce ‘Molly’s Law’

Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, and Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announce

Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, and Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announce "Molly's Law" on Feb. 20, 2016, at the Carbondale Civic Center alongside about 20 members of the Justice for Molly advocacy group. The proposed law would change the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases and amend the state's Freedom of Information Act. "We have to bring closure to families like the Youngs, who have endured the worst that any family should ever endure in society," Durkin said.

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

An Illinois lawmaker, in response to the controversial death of Molly Young, has drafted a twofold bill aimed at heightening transparency in state government and changing the timeframe during which wrongful death claims can be filed.

Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, introduced the legislation last week to amend the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and toll the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. The bill is named “Molly’s Law” for its ties to the Young case, which has sparked criticisms of the Carbondale Police Department and Illinois State Police by the community.

“Today I am proud to stand beside Larry Young, Molly Young’s father, who has been fighting since the death of his daughter in 2012 to gain information on the investigation into her death,” Bryant said in a statement given before a press conference Saturday.

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Under the proposed law public bodies that fail to disclose information deemed accessible by a circuit court would face a maximum fine of $10,000. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims would be changed to two years after a claimant’s discovery of evidence.

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin traveled to Carbondale from his Chicago-area home to join Bryant in announcing the bill.

“We have to bring closure to families like the Youngs, who have endured the worst that any family should ever endure in society,” Durkin said.

Durkin plans to co-sponsor the legislation and expects it to receive bipartisan support from the General Assembly and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Young, a 20-year-old Carbondale woman and former SIU student, died of a gunshot wound to the head in 2012. Her body was found in the apartment of her ex-boyfriend Richie Minton, a Carbondale police dispatcher at the time. Minton has never been publicly recognized as a suspect in Young’s death.

Police did not suspect foul play and no criminal charges were filed.

Larry Young launched a $1 million civil suit in 2014 implicating Minton on a wrongful-death claim. A Jackson County judge dismissed the claim last year because the two-year statute of limitations had expired.

The new law is designed to remedy limitations of FOIA and wrongful death statutes for families who have “in no way been given their day in court,” Bryant said.

Larry Young said he spoke to Bryant about the bill last year in hopes of helping other families who have struggled to obtain evidence in the same way he has.

“I feel honored that they put Molly’s name on it,” he said. “[Bryant is] doing what’s right.”

Bill Lukitsch can be reached at [email protected] or (618) 536-3329.

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