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Question of the day

Thursday, Nov 17, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WTTW

Former prosecutor John Curran, who on Tuesday night was elected by Senate Republicans as their next leader, said Republicans have not been part of those [SAFE-T Act] talks.

“We continue to be frozen out of this process. I am in regular communication with the state’s attorneys that are at the negotiating table and involved, as well as the chief of police representative and the sheriff representative,” Curran said. “It sounds like it’s been a very uneven process that’s taken place behind closed doors. If they open that process up I think we can get a lot of these issues resolved.”

Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1.

Curran said he knows that Democrats therefore have the numbers to go it alone.

“What we know is the go-it-alone path is going to produce results that are not meeting the needs of working families in Illinois. They are at the point, they’re not going to be able to handle their base if they go it alone,” Curran said. “They need Republicans participating in the process in a meaningful manner in order to moderate and bring balance to what we do as policy makers for all Illinoisians. So we play an incredible, important role. Democrats would be foolish not to respect that and invite that in.”

What Sen. Curran appears to be offering is a way for Senate President Don Harmon to get around the Black Caucus and the progressives and run a more law enforcement-friendly trailer bill.

* The Question: Should Senate and House Democratic leadership take Sen. Curran up on his apparent offer? Explain.

       

50 Comments
  1. - Socially DIstant watcher - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:39 am:

    Sen. Curran appears to be offering a way for Democrats to betray their constituents and deepen fissures within their caucus. I can see why Curran would make that offer but cannot for any reason see why Harmon should accept.

    Elections have… What’s the word?


  2. - Homebody - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    Since the failures of Quinn, tacking in a more progressive direction has only helped Democrats expand their lead in the GA, while the ILGOP continues to shoot itself in the foot over and over.

    Why on earth should the Dems do anything to help the ILGOP?


  3. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    No. The whole point of this is to make the system more fair to the poor.

    If the GOP had something to say they could win an election or two.


  4. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    Yes. Doors should be open to ideas and input, especially with life and death issues like crime and public safety.


  5. - LOL - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    Why would Democrats invite the people who have lied about the bill at every chance they could into the room? If they wanted to be good faith negotiators they wouldn’t have run on a racist platform and continued their lies about the what ending money bond means for communities. At some point you have to walk the walk if you want people to believe you.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    ===What Sen. Curran appears to be offering is a way for Senate President Don Harmon to get around the Black Caucus and the progressives and run a more law enforcement-friendly trailer bill.===

    Framed as such, is an easy “No”… super easy no actually.

    Why? “Dance with the ones who bring ya”, paired with “why align yourself with a group so eager to marginalize the black caucus, as they, not once, said any of Proft’s racial ugly ads were bad?”

    Nope. No. No thank you. Not.


  7. - thunderspirit - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:46 am:

    I think they should listen.

    Note that hearing the opposition out doesn’t necessarily mean incorporating all — or perhaps even any — of their ideas, but it does acknowledge that more perspectives is almost always better than fewer.

    That said, the notion of doing an end-around key components of your own caucus should be a non-starter.


  8. - charles in charge - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:47 am:

    No. The Republicans refused to engage meaningfully in the process the first time around. They refused to even take meetings about ending cash bail. You don’t get to do that, and then lie and fearmonger and blow racist dog whistles about the bill incessantly throughout an election (in which you perform poorly) and then get invited in to participate in a trailer bill process.


  9. - Commissar Gritty - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:52 am:

    The people who deliberately misinterpreted the bill for the general public now want a chance to shape the bill that being made to address their bad-faith concerns?

    Hmm… Never hurts to listen, especially to law enforcement, but if ILGOP tried taking some electable positions and you might be able to get a bigger seat at the table.


  10. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:52 am:

    Hang on - let me see what the Kane County Reporter suggests.


  11. - New Day - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    Yes, they should. The SafeT Act is a trap for Democrats. Having the “fix” done in a bipartisan manner is both good government and good politics. The GOP will share part of the blame when the first person released with no bail commits a horrible crime. It’s going to happen. I support the bill and support eliminating cash bail, but even I know it’s going to happen. So listening to the GOP and making some tweaks to the law makes all the sense in the world.


  12. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:55 am:

    “Get around the Black Caucus and progressives”?

    Not if he wants to be re-elected Senate President.

    And, after the elections, it’s not the Democrats who need to be kumbayaing. Let’s see some examples of the people who got shellacked while offering mostly bad-faith lies and scaremongering about the SAFE-T Act show us their new found interest in bipartisanship first.

    Won’t hold my breath. The Republicans can change their caucus coaches, but they’re going to continue to run the Durkin and McConchie playbooks.


  13. - Homebody - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 10:56 am:

    New Day - They don’t want to “fix” it though. There is a huge difference between clarifying ambiguity and just rolling it back.


  14. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    The issue of crime in Illinois will mature post-Jan 1, 2023. Look at NY which enacted so-called “criminal justice reform/bail reform” laws in 2019. The result Zeldin came within 5.8% of beating the Dem Incumbent. ILGOP should offer its own vision on crime and let the ILDEMs defend the Safe-T act. Let’s see where we are in two years


  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:05 am:

    No.

    –They need Republicans participating in the process in a meaningful manner[…]–

    Key words there being meaningful manner. When the ILGOP demonstrates they can do that, then they can get a seat at the table.

    Instead, they choose to spend their time spreading falsehoods and trying to scare people.

    They made their choice. They can make another choice to change their current circumstances. The power sits completely with them. Continuing to try to push the blame off on other parties is simply displaying they are still not ready to sit at the table.

    Keep digging that hole, ILGOP. Your complaints about how dirty you are getting from all the dirt in the hole you are digging aren’t the fault of anyone in the democratic caucus.


  16. - Leigh John-Ella - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:07 am:

    This is a Senate Republican Caucus that walked out of the Capitol and refused to show up for a quorum call earlier this year, telling Democrats to do it alone.
    The onus is on the SGOP to show they are genuinely interested in legitimate participation in governing/legislating.
    Show me, leader Curran, don’t tell me.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:09 am:

    ===The result Zeldin came within 5.8% of beating===

    Losing is losing.

    How many more “moral victories” does the GOP need to highlight before it’s realized…

    … “we lost. We lost on issues that we don’t poll well, fear and loathing here to a bill that the GOP embraces racist thinking isn’t all that smart”, waiting notwithstanding


  18. - New Day - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:17 am:

    “The issue of crime in Illinois will mature post-Jan 1, 2023. Look at NY which enacted so-called “criminal justice reform/bail reform” laws in 2019. The result Zeldin came within 5.8% of beating the Dem Incumbent.”

    I’ve talked with lawyers in NY. The New York law is very different. Judges were stripped of their authority there whereas that is not the case here at all. The opposite is true here.

    Oh, and “within 5.68% of beating?” Around these parts we call that losing and losing badly.


  19. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    Hahaha, I’m sure Harmon is itching to divide his just newly reelected supermajority to accommodate the Republicans who got drubbed in the election


  20. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    Yes.

    This bill as written is causing confusion, it seems no thought has done into how to execute it in the 2 years since it passed, and, frankly, people are scared.

    Cash bail should be abolished. With some tact.


  21. - AFSCME Steward - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:25 am:

    Of course they should listen. Elections are elections, they are not governing. I understand the GOP brand has been tarnished by extremists. But if the Democrats are so good at doing it alone, why does it have to be revised before it even goes into effect? They should listen to input from a variety of voices outside their own. States Attorneys, police chiefs, sheriffs and other knowledgeable persons should be sought out for advice. If it turns into partisan rancor, they can walk away. Even a minority party should be part of the discussions. It is never wise to think you know everything & refuse to listen.


  22. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    “Should Senate and House Democratic leadership take Sen. Curran up on his apparent offer?”

    No.

    1) The GOP spent the entire summer and fall lying about the bill, its contents and consequences, only a naive child would believe that they are now going to start acting in good faith.

    2) The voters decided that the IL-GOP needs to spend some more time in the wilderness thinking about who they are and what they’ve done. And the will of the voters should be respected.

    – MrJM


  23. - NotRich - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    the author of this post set it up for the responses to fail by saying
    “Go around’ the black caucus.. Ms. Isabel would have framed the question much better


  24. - don the legend - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    Senator Curran’s and the Republican’s interest in the Safe-T Act is dangerous. So Senator Harmon should channel Vito and tell Curran:

    But anyway, signor Curran , my no is final and I wish to congratulate you on your new business.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:33 am:

    ===the author of this post set it up for the responses to fail by saying
    “Go around’ the black caucus..===

    That is what is being asked.

    The GOP, after supporting and never condemning the ugly racist thinking ads that flat out misled on the issue…

    … Curran wants the white suburban leader of his caucus, who defeated an African American woman for the gavel, no less… to go around the black caucus… and ignore those whom support him… and “work” with him… to rehabilitate Curran and his caucus… lacking diversity on many levels… as a “win”?

    The wording is spot-on.

    If the wording is upsetting, think about the framing and history, long and short, surrounding the ask.

    It’s a no, because how exactly can one square it yes with the institutional knowledge?


  26. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:33 am:

    Bipartisanship is typically preferable.

    I would invite any gop member who has an accurate understanding of the act. Only serious members who deal with facts.


  27. - Jibba - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    Yes. And have Curran meet a working group led by the Black Caucus.


  28. - Annonin' - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:36 am:

    “appears to be offering”
    Not very attractive and why backstab the caucus?
    Not a very good start by newbie leader. If they were invited to a meeting we guess they would try to talk us into believing George Floyd was just a regular tourist who slipped and fell under the knee of the copper or McDonald was a true threat.


  29. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    No.

    Since Barry Goldwater, the GOP’s idea of “law and order” has been a dog whistle for something else. The ILGOP used scare tactics with the SAFE-T Act during the campaign and now they still want to make points with their base.

    Nope. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.


  30. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    If they are acting in good faith, than yes. Just because Republicans lost (and they have themselves to blame for that), doesn’t mean the law doesn’t have serious issues.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    ===But if the Democrats are so good at doing it alone, why does it have to be revised before it even goes into effect?===

    Trailer bills are common, not the rule, but also not the exception.

    It’s odd that this want of bipartisanship is the want, as the GOP made it clear that *going around* the black caucus is how that bipartisanship is achieved?

    ===It is never wise to think you know everything & refuse to listen.===

    The GOP can…

    Write their own trailer bills… instead of flat out saying they want it repealed.

    Vote Red on the trailer bill(s), again be seen as the ads wanted the old angry white voters to see them… keeping in mind… “going around” the black caucus…

    Complain to pink slime vertical integration “news” and let Proft use that dividing race card for the next 2 years.

    But… the one option Harmon shouldn’t choose is going around the black caucus as the purposeful means to rehabilitate the SGOP


  32. - Pumpkin Pie - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    Yes. Our government has to get back to having meaningful bipartisan discussions about tough issues. It doesn’t mean we agree in the end, but shutting out one party during negotiations doesn’t do the public any good. John Curran is a thoughtful legislator with a strong bipartisan focus and expertise in this subject matter as a former prosecutor. He deserves a seat at the table.


  33. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 11:44 am:

    ==. If it turns into partisan rancor, they can walk away.==

    If? My States Attorney is promising that half the people in our jail will be released on January 1, including murderers and kidnappers


  34. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 12:07 pm:

    “John Curran is a thoughtful legislator with a strong bipartisan focus and expertise in this subject matter as a former prosecutor.”

    Prosecutors abandoned any claims of “subject matter expertise” with regard to the SAFE-T Act when so many of them routinely mislead the public about the bill and its consequences.

    They were either ignorant about the SAFE-T act or deliberately dishonest about it.

    Neither explanation merits a seat at the table.

    – MrJM


  35. - Sir Henry - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 12:12 pm:

    Absolutely, but Law Enforcement is playing with a week hand. They made this a huge issue in the election and were rejected. At the end of the day President will side with the black caucus. Good ideas should always be considered.


  36. - Leigh John-Ella - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    Leader Curran should come forward with his proposed revisions and how many votes he can put on said revisions.
    Republicans have had more interest in finding TV cameras than they’ve had in finding a negotiating table.
    Is this any different? It’s up to Curran to prove he’s different and the Republicans will be different.


  37. - Pundent - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 12:27 pm:

    From what I’ve seen from the GOP, they wish to speak to the politics of the SAFE-T act and are wiling to willfully and purposely distort facts to serve their political purpose. They’ve shown no interest now or then to speak to the actual policy. That approach didn’t work so well in the most recent election. And perhaps the first step would be a little more honesty in that regard.


  38. - walker - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 12:44 pm:

    There is much more committed support for these bills than among simply the Black Caucus. That commitment has been strengthened among most Dems during the campaign defending agains falsehoods and scare tactics.


  39. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:00 pm:

    I was going to say that they should offer and give the new leader a chance, but the commenters here have convinced me otherwise. I agree that the MAGA GOP or the SA’s were acting in good faith.

    If Curran has any “good faith” proposals, he can pick up the phone and call Harmon. I could say Harmon would react to legitimate proposals, but I wouldn’t expect one from Curran or McCombie.


  40. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:02 pm:

    … that neither the MAGA …


  41. - Pumpkin Pie - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:16 pm:

    =Neither explanation merits a seat at the table.=

    How silly of me MisterJayEm. You’re right, we should definitely keep passing massive rewrites of our criminal justice system late at night without any time for legislation to be vetted and then ignore the concerns of the prosecutors and states attorneys who are actually going to be tasked with implementing them. That’s a good approach to public policy.

    In all seriousness, republicans have supported bail reform…recently. Don’t forget Bruce Rauner actually signed bipartisan bail reform legislation into law. Common ground isn’t out of reach if both sides are willing to come together. Let’s give that a chance to happen.


  42. - PublicServant - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:33 pm:

    Invite in the people who have been so transparently lying about what the act does for blatantly political reasons? What would that accomplish for the good of the people of Illinois who have already spoken about their need for the ILGOP?


  43. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:34 pm:

    – without any time for legislation to be vetted –

    And here’s a great example of the falsehoods that were being spread by the republican caucus.

    That is a flat out false statement. From my point of view, knowing that these laws were being debated for *months* prior to being bundled into an omnibus bill to be voted on, means anyone who made these types of statements was openly admitting to *not doing their job in the legislature for months*.

    I didn’t make any of the legislators say those things. They said those things of their own free will, for the purposes of misleading their own constituents.

    Forgive me(or don’t I don’t care) for not taking seriously anyone who engaged in that behavior, and who has shown no intent of changing their behavior.

    –ignore the concerns of the prosecutors and states attorneys–

    Concerns they never bothered to have *for years* while the bills were being discussed and voted on, until a few weeks before the election.

    If you think I’m going to take someone like Glasgow who was making claims in September of “it’s going to be the end of days”, then you are wrong. Again, if they were so concerned, then it is simply shining light on their failures to do their jobs for the past two years.

    I’m sorry, but all the detractors have quite clearly told everyone who they are. Don’t get angry now that we are treating them based on their own behaviors.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:35 pm:

    ===keep passing massive rewrites of our criminal justice system late at night without any time for legislation to be vetted and then ignore the concerns of the prosecutors and states attorneys who are actually going to be tasked with implementing them.===

    … and yet with months passing since the bill was signed, the purposeful and deceitful manner Republicans and State’s Attorneys decided to “politic” a bill they seemingly still haven’t read.. the SGOP deserves to cut out the black caucus to attempt to pretend to be engaged?


  45. - froganon - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:36 pm:

    Curran should produce a list of the changes his caucus wants. Harmon, in close consultation with Dem leadership, especially the Black Caucus, can vet the list and eliminate items that aren’t up for change. If there’s anything left, Curran can sit on the committee.


  46. - froganon - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 1:40 pm:

    New Jersey also instituted a No Cash Bail Reform in 2018 or 2019. Their law is different from NY and their crime rate has gone down. NY needs to reform the reform. Hopefully, our legislators took thier cues from both states’ experience and wrote a better law. Time will tell. Regardless, Cash Bail is a vile practice that must be eliminated.


  47. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 2:17 pm:

    “You’re right, we should definitely keep passing massive rewrites of our criminal justice system late at night without any time for legislation to be vetted and then ignore the concerns of the prosecutors and states attorneys who are actually going to be tasked with implementing them.”

    I said that they lied about the bill.

    I said that they lied about the bill because they did lie about the bill.

    Nothing in your comment comes remotely close to addressing that stubborn fact.

    – MrJM


  48. - Politix - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 2:18 pm:

    They spent their entire campaign season peddling racist lies and fear mongering and now they want in on the conversation. Huh. How about no. The GOP must reap what it sows. They lost bigly. It’s time to face the consequences.


  49. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 3:39 pm:

    No…absolutely not…slippery is this slope…Nope.


  50. - Amalia - Thursday, Nov 17, 22 @ 6:28 pm:

    I don’t think this is the way to do it, but I do recommend that Democrats find a way to handle by changeing the messed and by making small changes in the bill. Look to NY state for a vision of your future. the bill there was in effect and the wall of sound on it was damaging to the number of Dems in Congress. Take the position of crime victims, not defendants.


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