* Yesterday, Republicans criticized potential property tax increases due to the SAFE-T Act. Channel 7…
At the heart of the matter, Republicans said it is the unfunded mandates associated with the law. Costs that local police departments and courts will incur because of the law which could then fall on taxpayers. […]
Republicans contend that counties will have to raise property taxes to pay for some of the requirements of the law including police body cameras and the systems to store the video. They also said it will require additional personnel in the courts, sheriff’s departments and pretrial services.
DuPage County estimates that over five years, the Safe-T Act will cost $63 million to implement. […]
Democrats contend that while the reforms do come with costs, they also come with savings, including not having to process so many bonds. Democrats question the motives of the law’s opponents.
* The Daily Herald…
Two Arlington Heights candidates for a state House seat have sharp disagreements on Illinois’ new criminal justice reform law, with Republican Jack Vrett saying it makes streets more dangerous and Democrat Mark Walker calling those arguments fear mongering.
Like other GOP candidates for state-level office, Vrett has made issues of public safety and crime the cornerstone of his campaign. Vrett, a labor and employment law attorney and former prosecutor running for 53rd District representative, has paid for a billboard along the Jane Addams Tollway that says he’d vote to recall Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. […]
“It will make it effectively impossible … for prosecutors to be able to convince a judge that someone should be detained before trial (in) all but the most extreme of circumstances, “Vrett said during a recent interview with a representative of the Daily Herald Editorial Board. “Judges are already supposed to take into account the economic circumstances of an individual defendant, and I certainly believe that we should not be locking people up in jail merely because they cannot afford to pay bail. But that’s not what this bill really does. This bill changes the standards to make it almost impossible for a prosecutor to actually make the case that a dangerous criminal shouldn’t walk the streets.”
Walker, the incumbent who returned to the legislature in 2019 after a previous stint from 2009 to 2011, called characterizations of the SAFE-T Act exaggeration, fearmongering and “unbelievable nonsense.” He said crimes like second-degree murder, for instance, remain detainable offenses under the legislation. And, he said, police officers do have the ability to arrest people for trespassing.
* WSIU Public Radio…
At a discussion with business leaders Wednesday morning State Senator Dale Fowler said he’s confident there will be more changes to it at the next session.
“I know we’re going to be working hard for some repeals on the Safety Act, and we want to just ensure that the business climate is as well protected.” […]
Williamson County Sheriff Elect Jeff Diedrich explained that if someone is trespassing the police can not remove them, only give them a citation, which could lead to bigger problems for the property owner.
“That has a propensity for people to take matters into their own hands. We have to be very, very careful with that because we don’t want to have victims then become suspects and if things go too far, that’s exactly what can happen.”
* The Center Square…
During a news conference Wednesday, state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, said changes have to be made to the law.
“This is not the time to add to our highest in the nation overall tax burden,” Wheeler said. “The Democratic-majority SAFE-T Act is literally forcing our local governments to consider raising property taxes to make our communities less safe.” […]
The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice disputed the claims, and said the SAFE-T Act does not require counties to raise property taxes to fund the criminal legal system.
“For the last two years, the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts has been working with stakeholders from every branch of government to ensure that counties across Illinois have the guidance and resources they need to effectively make this transition,” they said in a statement.
* Channel 2…
A new bi-partisan lawsuit was filed against the Illinois’ Safe-T Act, which calls for ending cash bail in the state.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine and Madison County Sheriff John Lakin have announced they’re filing a suit against the controversial law. The suit claims that eliminating cash bail is unconstitutional, partly because it violates the victim’s rights.
The lawsuit comes after several other counties in the state filed similar suits.
* Fox Illinois…
Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe and Scott County State’s Attorney Richard Crews are the latest to file lawsuits.
The two are suing over the elimination of cash bail, which is part of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act.
Crews and Briscoe are asking for a permanent injunction of the SAFE-T Act.
They argue it’s unconstitutional, it violates the single subject rule, it violates the separation of powers clause, it’s unconstitutionally vague, and it violates the three readings of charges requirement.
* The Telegraph…
In partnership with the Southern Illinois Area Police Chiefs Association, state Sen. Kris Tharp, D-Bethalto, met Tuesday with Metro East police officials to discuss their concerns with the SAFE-T Act. […]
“With my background as a law enforcement officer, my priorities as a senator remain ensuring that our communities are safe, keeping violent criminals off our streets and supporting police officers to effectively perform their duties,” said Tharp, a former Madison County deputy.
“Tuesday’s conversation was vital to addressing concerns in the SAFE-T Act, and I thank the chiefs for their participation.”
Tharp hosted Tuesday’s meeting with about 30 police officers at the Edwardsville Public Safety Building to give SIPCA members an opportunity to voice their concerns and propose changes to the SAFE-T Act. Tharp said he plans to bring their concerns to the negotiating table in Springfield.
* ILGOP press release…
The Pritzker Administration and Democratic leadership have gone into full damage control mode on the SAFE-T Act in the past few weeks with the looming elimination of cash bail going into effect on January 1st. Meanwhile, 100 of Illinois’ 102 States Attorneys have sounded alarm bells on cashless bail - including multiple Democratic States Attorneys who have filed lawsuits to stop it.
“No cash bail is no cash bail. There’s going to be so many bad actors that are not going to be subject to bond hearings or detention hearings based on the law that he has created,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.
Democrats can diminish and deflect all that they want, but by no discernable metric has the law been a success. Meanwhile, we’re already seeing the disastrous effects of the elimination of cash bail in other states that have passed similar legislation. New York eliminated cash bail for most non-violent offenses in 2019.
Since going into effect in January 2020, New York’s bail reform law has led to an unprecedented massive rise in crime, violent reoffenders, and accused criminals skipping trial. According to the New York Post in February, “Nearly every single city police precinct has seen spikes in crime so far this year — including five in which the rate has doubled.”
As a direct result of the new bail law, 20.1% of “felony arraignments” were rearrestedin 2021, with 16.1% failing to appear at arraignment. These stats could indicate an even more grim future on the horizon for Chicago which has already seen a 37% spike in crime since this time last year.
Bizarrely, Speaker Welch is sticking by the law. “We know the SAFE-T Act will help people, it will help people,” he said as reported by NBC5 Chicago.
“I guess it’s no surprise that so many Illinois Democrat political leaders continue to support legislation that makes law enforcement more difficult, more dangerous, and more expensive. So many of their Illinois Democrat colleagues have been indicted or convicted for corruption since 2019, they’re probably very supportive of the defund, disarm and demoralize law enforcement movement and overly sympathetic to criminal defendants,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy.
Seven Democratic State Lawmakers - including Speaker Madigan - and nine Chicago Aldermen have been indicted or convicted since Pritzker took office. The SAFE-T Act’s champion in the Senate, Elgie Sims, is currently facing an FBI investigation.
Further, the SAFE-T Act is expected to lead to property tax hikes across the state as a result of unfunded mandates placed on law enforcement.
* Rich discussed this Forest Park Review editorial with subscribers today…
[Forest Park Fire Chief Phil Chiappetta] asked Ford why legislators acted so quickly and why there were not more discussions and negotiations with law enforcement before [the elimination of cash bail] was passed as part of the much broader state SAFE-T Act.
Here’s where Ford was most direct and most correct.
Cash bail has been a linchpin of systemic racism in our criminal justice system forever. It plainly punishes people who are Black and Brown and poor. It plainly favors white people of means with the ability to hire solid lawyers and raise bail readily. […]
Ford’s explanation for why the Democrats in the legislature and Gov. J.B. Pritzker pushed it through is entirely accurate and illustrative of why criminal justice must be thoroughly reformed.
“If we didn’t pass something, we wouldn’t have gotten anything from law enforcement. We wouldn’t have gotten a serious conversation,” Ford told local leaders.
Now with cash bail as we have known it disappearing in 90 days, prosecutors and police are eager to talk. We hope they further fine-tune this law and bend it toward justice and safety.