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Lawmakers Push Back Decision On Carjacker Penalties Bill

CHICAGO (CBS) - Lawmakers in Springfield are pushing back against legislation aimed at tougher penalties on carjackers.

CBS 2's Jim Williams reports the bill is stalled, even though it has the strong support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Kyla Greenfield was carjacked in Hyde Park three months ago. She says she sees merit in both sides of the debate over legislation in Springfield, taking aim at Chicago's carjacking epidemic.

"The guy slammed my car into park and pulled a gun on me," recalls Greenfield.

She says she wants all three kids who stole her car punished.

"They were all in this together," Greenfield stated. "Nobody said anything when this was going down."

Greenfield says she's concerned about a provision in the legislation that could stiffen penalties for anyone in a stolen car.

"There are instances where somebody might think 'Okay, I'm going on a date' or 'hey, I'm riding with a family member to the store. I don't know what they're into, they told me this is their vehicle,'" stated Greenfield.

Greenfield's concern is the same argument made by some members of the General Assembly's Black Caucus.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, tells CBS 2 News, "The Black Caucus' issue with the legislation is the enhanced penalty and its effect on juveniles."

Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was confident the bill would pass.

"We'll work through the issues, but I believe at the end of the day, since it affects every part of the city it will get a lot of support" said Emanuel.

Kyla Greenfield hopes the young men who took her car will get help and hopes they, "turn their lives around for the better because this is not the way to go."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others supporting the legislation say juveniles in possession of a stolen vehicle would get help, while in detention, after a psychological evaluation.

Opponents say that could take weeks in custody.

A hearing on the bill was set to happen this morning in a House committee, but has been put on pause at this time.

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