Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would bring
the state into compliance with the USA Patriot Act’s provisions on hazmat
The bill, SB1825, would set up the state to conduct its
portion of the fingerprint-based background checks now required of hazmat
drivers, a process being led by the federal Transportation Security
Introduced by Sen. Terry Link, D-Lake Bluff, the bill is on
an apparent fast track: It was introduced in late February, has already
unanimously passed the Senate Transportation Committee, and is awaiting a final
vote in the upper chamber.
However, Illinois officials are not waiting for the bill to
pass to gather fingerprints and other information for the security threat
assessments. Dave Druker – press secretary for Secretary of State Jesse White – said the state started taking information from new applicants for hazmat
endorsements Jan. 31, the same date that process started in the rest of the
country. The checks will begin for renewal and transfer hazmat applicants May
The Secretary of State’s Office requested the bill.
Druker said his department is recommending that truckers not
wait till their renewal date to begin the process.
“The one thing we do recommend, you know, is that the
drivers do give some advance notice and not wait till the expiration date to
come in, because it will take a couple of weeks” to complete the checks, he
said. Druker’s department is expecting waits of three weeks to a month between
the time the fingerprints are taken and the results of the background checks
– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor