SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — A bill that would make it easier for people to change their legal name in Illinois is waiting for Governor JB Pritzker’s signature.
Under current state law, anyone who has been convicted of a felony must wait 10 years after finishing their sentence to make the change. The bill would do away with that.
Some groups say that the current law also disproportionately impact survivors of human trafficking and the transgender community.
“It’s really about equity and safety for folks, particularly transgender and gender expansive people, whose name change can literally mean literal safety, but also access to housing, employment, health care, really anything you use your legal name for,” said Elizabeth Ricks, legal director of the Translife Care Program-Chicago House. “Mot having a name change can create a barrier for those folks.”
People convicted of identity theft, or anyone on a criminal registry, cannot change their name. However, under the proposal, they could go before a judge and change their name if they got married, are changing their gender identity, religion or if they are a survivor of human trafficking.