With Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the helm, the Chicago City Council met Wednesday. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune )
If you get busted for gambling--or peeing or drinking in the street--and don't pay the fine or skip the hearing, you could get slapped with another fine or jail time.
Currently, the fine for drinking, urinating or defecating on the public way ranges from $100 to $500. The fine for gambling is $25 to $200.
Under a proposal submitted by Mayor Emanuel at Wednesday's City Council meeting, those who are ticketed and don't pay the fine or don't appear at a hearing for the violation before the Department of Administrative Hearings, an independent quasi-judicial body, would face greater consequences.
They could get hit with a fine that is equal to the maximum fine for the offense or face up to six months in jail.
For example, if somebody is ticketed for peeing on the street and fails to go to the hearing, the law judge can enter a default judgment and levy the maximum fine of $500. The violator could get smacked with an additional $500 fine or go to jail if the amendment is approved by the City Council.
"These are not victimless crimes, as they have a negative impact on communities and the quality of life for our children, families and all residents," said Emanuel in a news release. "Increasing the fines and adding the threat of jail time is an indication of the seriousness of these crimes."
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said, "When individuals engage in behavior without any regard for the community or the laws they are breaking, there is potential that they will become involved in other, more serious crimes."
The measure now heads to the Committee on Public Safety.
Other noteworthy proposals from Wednesday's council meeting:
-An amendment to the city sticker ordinance proposed by City Clerk Susana Mendoza to stagger city sticker sales starting in 2014. It would make the city sticker sales a year-round program and would mark the major overhaul of sticker sales in 100 years. This spring would be the last time all car owners in Chicago renew their city stickers in June. In 2014, car owners would be assigned a new city sticker expiration month based on when their license plate registration expires. The amendment goes to the License and Consumer Protection Committee.
-A resolution put forth by Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) to call for a hearing before the Committee on Public Safety to have the police, public health, and business affairs and consumer protection departments to discuss crime due to the sale of illegal and single cigarettes. The resolution also urges the state to reduce its cigarette tax by $1 and the county to repeal its $2 per pack tax.
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