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Lawmaker Announces Winners of ‘Ought-to-be-a-Law’ Contest

March 2, 1990

NEW LENOX, Ill. (AP) _ A legislator took his power to the people with a ″There Ought To Be A Law″ contest and received suggestions such as banning kissing in cars and requiring people to use common sense.

State Rep. Larry Wennlund selected the two winners Thursday and said he will introduce the ideas this spring during the Illinois General Assembly session.

The winner in the under-18-year-old category was Dawn Downing, a freshman at Joliet West High School, who suggested insurance stickers be placed on license plates to make it easier for police to spot uninsured vehicles.

In the adult category, Deborah McCormick of Joliet won with her call for mandatory drug and alcohol tests for all drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents.

About 600 people in this northeastern Illinois community of 3,500 offered their 2 cents on what should be the law of the land, Wennlund said.

″If the message is to seek more input from your constituents, I think it’s a healthy message,″ he said.

Here are some of the suggestions that didn’t win:

- No naked movies on television, no Playboy channel in Illinois, and no school for 300 years, submitted by a third-grade class at Lincoln Elementary School in Monmouth.

- Pregnant woman be given stickers - set to expire shortly after their due dates - to allow them to use handicapped parking, from Beverly McNulty of Berkley.

- All state residents be required to have and use common sense, from a 70- year-old constituent whom Wennlund declined to identify.

- No drinking in Illinois, no drugs and no kissing in cars, from a second- grade class at Lincoln School.

Wennlund said the winners, selected by a panel of five journalists, would be invited to Springfield this spring to track the progress of their bills.

He said he came up with the idea for the contest last year, when an educator suggested school-bus drivers be tested annually for drugs and alcohol.

″Ninety percent of laws come from one special interest group or another,″ said Wennlund. ″Those generated from the average citizen many times make a lot more sense.″

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