* Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford wrote an op-ed in response to a misleading (surprise!) Tribune editorial…
I’ve seen misguided criticism that we are eliminating cash bail too fast. It’s a two-year phase-in. Two years. How much bureaucratic foot-dragging did they want?
Others complain about new training requirements that are designed to familiarize police with uncomfortable situations and hopefully reduce violent encounters. It’s exactly what community voices have been calling on for decades. They argue that trust won’t be restored between the police and the public until training, supervision and accountability reforms ensure everyone is protected without bias. […]
Before the Senate adjourned in May, we changed our rules so Senate committees could meet via Zoom during this pandemic. Over the summer and fall, the Senate hosted 32 legislative hearings covering well over 100 hours of testimony regarding the Legislative Black Caucus agenda.
These were public hearings. We invited Illinois House members. Law enforcement groups testified. Media outlets covered the hearings. As we had discussions, we also negotiated legislation.
Nothing should have been a surprise to anyone paying attention.
Lobbyists for law enforcement groups were invited to be part of the process. In fact, police groups won key concessions. It’s hard to claim you were shut out when your lobbyists were getting things changed.
As a result of that lobbying, the elimination of qualified immunity was removed from the bill as were restrictions on collective bargaining rights.
* But the misinformation is overwhelming. Here’s a Sun-Times op-ed by Jason Johnson, the president of a group called the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund…
And the public — especially communities hard-hit by violence and crime — want more police, not less. Residents of impoverished and often dangerous urban areas overwhelmingly want more (53%) or the same (41%) police presence in their communities according to a poll conducted this summer by Gallup for the Center for Advancing Opportunity after the George Floyd incident. A similar Gallup poll found a staggering 68% of residents in Chicago’s South Side wanted the police to spend more time in their neighborhood — only 5% wanted the police around less.
Um, there’s nothing in the bill that would reduce police presence in those communities.
* Notice the sheriff doesn’t say how this bill would be so devastating to law enforcement…
I’m very sorry to announce the dismantling of public safety as we know it. The elected officials that snuck and voted in…
Posted by James Mendrick DuPage County Sheriff on Wednesday, January 13, 2021
What we’re seeing here is a group of people accustomed to always getting their way being told they can’t have veto power.
* And the usual process argument…
Like he’d have been a “Yes” if they had more hearings. Right.
* A trailer bill will likely be needed and laws can always be altered in the future if things go awry…
Legislators have taken a giant step toward reforming the criminal justice system in Illinois by approving a bill that would do away with cash bail, but the experiences of other states that tried similar reforms show it’s not a sure thing.
If Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the measure into law, Illinois will become one of a handful of states that have enacted major changes regarding cash bail.
California and New York passed similar laws in recent years, but they were dropped because of public opposition. New Jersey, which was one of the first states to eliminate cash bail, under a reform passed in 2014, has weathered challenges and is seen as a success.
“Other jurisdictions who have implemented similar reforms offer important lessons that we would be wise to pay attention to — both in terms of what to do and what not to do,” said Roseanna Ander, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
People just need to take a breath and stop believing all the outlandish rhetoric. We saw where that got us with the recent election.