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Voters will be able to decide in November whether victims should have greater rights protected by the state Constitution during criminal trials.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports that the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights would ensure victims have more information about and access to criminal proceedings against an alleged perpetrator.

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins has been a crusader for victims' rights since her sister, her sister's husband and their unborn child were murdered in suburban Chicago in 1990. She says victims should be allowed to make statements at sentencing, seek restitution, be notified of hearings and be kept safe.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the ballot question. One opponent, Northbrook Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, says giving such rights constitutional protection could produce unintended consequences.

P.J. Harrigan

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