PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias (D-Ill.) hailed the General Assembly’s passage of a bill that would make Illinois the first state in the nation to regulate automated license plate readers (ALPRs).

HB 3326 protects license plate data of people traveling from other states to Illinois seeking reproductive and sexual health care, including abortion and gender-affirming care.

“Illinois is again leading the charge to protect not only the rights of our residents, but also those who come to our state seeking healthcare. These individuals don’t need government interference when they are abiding by our state’s laws and freedoms,” said Giannoulias.

Giannoulias said the legislation is necessary because Illinois is surrounded by states that have passed legislation hostile to abortion and gender-affirming care.

“Tragically, while we are defending the rights of Illinoisans, our neighboring states are criminalizing the right to make decisions about their residents’ bodies. Illinois has become an island of refuge for those seeking reproductive care,” he said.

Jennifer Welch, president of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said 20 states have enacted complete bans or restrictions on abortion, and those same states are targeting gender-affirming care.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year, Welch said nearly a quarter of PPIL’s patients come from other states. Previously, that number ranged between five to seven percent.

“Make no mistake, bans and restrictions on care do not stop people from needing essential healthcare. It just forces them to travel to states like Illinois,” she said.

Right now, there are no regulations surrounding ALPRs. States regularly share data with each other for law enforcement purposes. Giannoulias said the sole function of ALPRs is public safety, not violating individual privacy.

“Illinois is drawing a line in the sand. We will not allow people to be targeted for visiting our state to procure legal healthcare…It comes down to basic rights, and ensuring those rights include important health care choices are fundamentally protected,” he said.

Welch said the legislation also gives piece of mind to those traveling from other states for abortion and gender-affirming care.

“It’s confusing, it’s scary for patients to fear they could face persecution or prosecution when they return home. Once this bill is signed, people will know their license plate information will not be used to track them as they come to Illinois seeking reproductive or sexual health care,” she said.

HB 3326 passed 39-15 in the Senate and 69-34 in the House. The bill now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature.

Giannoulias said he hopes other states take Illinois’ lead and enact similar laws.

WMBD reached out to Central Illinois Right to Life, a pro-life organization, for comment but has not heard back.