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AN ACT concerning courts.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
The Juvenile Court Act of 1987 is amended by
adding Section 2-10.3 as follows:
(705 ILCS 405/2-10.3 new)
Access to news media.
(a) All youth in the custody or guardianship of the
Department of Children and Family Services are entitled to the
freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States and Section 4 of Article I of
the Illinois Constitution. The Department of Children and
Family Services and its agents and assigns shall not interfere
with the right of any youth in its custody or guardianship to
communicate with the news media if the youth chooses to do so.
(b) Provisions related to minors under 18. Any time the
news media requests to speak with a specific, identified minor
under 18 years of age, the Department of Children and Family
Services shall immediately provide notice of the news media's
request to the minor's attorney and guardian ad litem. The
notice shall include at a minimum the minor's name, the news
media name, and the date of the inquiry from the news media.
Within one business day of the news media's request, the
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Department shall determine whether the minor wants to speak
with the news media, whether the minor has sufficient maturity
to make his or her own decision to communicate with the news
media and whether contact with the news media will more likely
than not cause the minor serious physical, emotional, or
mental harm. The Department shall provide notice of its
determination to the minor's attorney and guardian ad litem
within one business day of its determination.
(c) Provisions related to minors over 18. The Department
shall not take any action to interfere with the right of a
minor over 18 to speak with the news media.
(d) Court Review.
(1) Any party may file a motion seeking to enforce
rights under this Section.
(2) If the minor does not have an attorney, the court
shall appoint one for purposes of the motion.
(3) The Department shall facilitate the minor's
presence in court for hearings on the motion if the minor
wants to be present.
(4) The party filing the motion shall provide prior
notice of the hearing to the involved news media.
(5) Minors over 18. If the court finds that the
Department has interfered with the minor's right to
communicate with the media, the court shall enjoin any
further interference by the Department with the minor's
contacts with the news media.
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(6) Minors under 18. The Department shall have the
burden of establishing by clear and convincing evidence:
(i) that the minor does not have sufficient maturity to
make his or her own decision to communicate with the news
media and that contact with the news media will, more
likely than not, cause the minor serious physical,
emotional, or mental harm; and (ii) that less restrictive
means are insufficient to address the minor's lack of
maturity or the risk of serious physical, emotional, or
mental harm. If the court finds by clear and convincing
evidence that a minor under 18 years of age lacks
sufficient maturity to make his or her own decision to
communicate with the media and that the contact with the
news media will, more likely than not, cause the minor
serious physical, emotional, or mental harm, the court may
issue an order identifying the specific limits that the
Department may impose on the minor's communication with
the news media. The order shall not permit the Department
to prevent the minor from communicating with the news
media unless it determines that no less restrictive means
are available to address the likelihood of harm to the
(7) The court shall not impose any limitations on the
speech of a minor based on viewpoints the minor may
express or information the minor may divulge, unless it is
confidential information regarding third parties.
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(8) All orders resolving motions brought under this
subsection shall contain written findings in support of
the court's ruling.
(e) As used in this Section, "interfere" includes, but is
not limited to: withholding information from a minor about a
news media outlet's request to speak with the minor, including
any contact information necessary to respond to the request;
preventing a minor from communicating with the news media;
threatening or coercing the minor in any manner; or punishing
or taking adverse action because of a minor's contact with the
news media. "Interfere" does not include:
(1) providing information and advice about
communicating with news media that is consistent with the
minor's age, developmental capacity and circumstances,
including information about the minor's right to refuse
particular questions, the right to condition the
participation upon a promise of anonymity or other privacy
measures, the right to refuse to speak to the news media,
and similar advice designed to enhance the minor's right
to autonomy in communicating with the news media; and
(2) conducting an inquiry into (i) whether a minor
under 18 is sufficiently mature to decide for themselves
whether to communicate with the news media and (ii)
whether communicating with the news media will more likely
than not cause serious physical, emotional, or mental harm
to the minor under 18. The inquiry in this subsection must
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be concluded within one business day of the request from
the news media.
(f) As used in this Section, "less restrictive means" are
conditions on the minor's ability to communicate with the news
media that mitigate the likelihood that physical, emotional,
or mental harm will result, and include, but are not limited
(1) the news media outlet's willingness to take steps
to protect the minor's privacy, such as using a pseudonym
or limiting the use of the voice or image of a minor;
(2) the presence of the minor's guardian ad litem or
attorney or another adult of the minor's choosing, during
the communication with the news media; and
(3) providing the minor with age-appropriate media
literacy materials or other relevant educational material.
This Act takes effect upon