CHICAGO (CBS) — Happy tears, nearly two years in the making for Cassandra Tanner Miller.
Her tragedy made the headlines in 2019, when Miller’s estranged husband shot and killed their 18-month-old son — and then himself.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Heavy Rain, Possible Flood Watch
CBS 2 was there for the official signing this morning — the culmination of nearly two years of activism by baby Colton’s mom, Cassandra Tanner Miller.
And she says this is the only the beginning.
Tanner Miller can’t hold her baby boy Colton anymore, but she told Hickey that, somehow, the new law feels like she’s clutching a piece of his memory.
“It feels like I can finally take a breath and tell him, hey, mommy did it,” she said. “I never gave up.”
CBS 2 has been following Tanner Miller’s story for nearly two years. It started with a walk through the crime scene in 2019. It was just months after Cassandra’s estranged husband broke into her Joliet home, savagely beat her
After Christopher Michael Miller beat hear, he then went upstairs — and shot and killed their little boy, Colton.
Colton’s name is on the bill that was signed into law Friday— as Cassandra wiped the tears from her eyes.
It’s one of seven domestic violence-related bills signed by Gov. Pritzker to help address some of the loopholes in the system here in Illinois — many of them exposed by Cassandra’s story.READ MORE: Man Dies After Being Shot In West Garfield Park
Those failures included her ex’s revoked FOID card that was never turned in, to his unmonitored stint out on an I-bond, to Cassandra’s warning to the Illinois National Guard, for which he served, of his violent behavior and drug use that unfortunately fell on deaf ears.
“It was failure after failure after failure by different government entities to take her situation seriously or even have the tools to act on them,” said State Rep. David Welter.
“I think that they finally had no choice but to listen,” said Tanner Miller.
While some of the gaps have been addressed — today we asked Gov. Pritzker about what the Illinois National Guard has done in terms of taking action on warning calls like Cassandra’s.
Unfortunately, the update isn’t very concrete.
“We’ve raised attention there to make sure they provide the right kind of instruction and training to members of the National Guard,” said Pritzker. “I hope they will continue to.”
Welter, the law’s sponsor, tells us that’s because this is just the beginning of the road.
Colton’s Law created a taskforce that will hopefully help identify other issues in the system by conducting a comprehensive review of processes, operations and enforcement of domestic violence laws in the state.
“I hope that they continue to listen because this is just the beginning,” said Tanner Miller. “The end is when we do not have another family that is hiding, that is dying, that is trying to escape at the hands of their abuser.”
The taskforce is expected to present an extensive report with their findings to the General Assembly sometime in 2022.MORE NEWS: 15-Year-Old Critically Wounded, Among 2 Shot In Belmont Heights Online Sale Meetup
Pritzker also signed legislation that allows victims of domestic violence to carry a card that proves an order of protection. Until now, victims have had to carry the actual court orders around. That program takes effect on January 1.