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Illinois House committee advances bill that would require life rings along lakefront

Bill requiring rescue equipment along Lakefront on desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker 00:39

CHICAGO (CBS) -- People trying to stop drownings in Lake Michigan scored a partial victory in Springfield on Wednesday.

A new Illinois House bill mandating that life rings be installed along the lakefront just passed through the House Human Services Committee. The bill, HB4165, is also known as the Lake Michigan Rescue Equipment Act.

It will soon go to the full state House floor for a vote.

The bill was drafted by Halle Quezada of the Chicago Alliance for Waterfront Safety, and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) is a leading sponsor.

State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) says they're taking the steps to protect families.

"Everyone deserves to feel safe when they head to the beach this summer," Peters said. "I am glad that the General Assembly is taking an essential step to protect our families who visit beaches  on Lake Michigan."

Miguel Cisneros drowned at Pratt Pier in Rogers Park last summer. A strong and healthy recent graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep who had earned a full ride to Columbia University, his death attracted public outcry and brought sharp focus to the lack of life rings along the lakefront.

Cisneros' mother, Maria Diaz, said a life ring nearby could have saved her son.

More than 1,000 people have drowned in Lake Michigan since 2010.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. J.b. Pritzker. 

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