Illinois Republicans hope to revise cashless bail law before Jan. 1 effective date – but don’t hold your breath

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The editorial comments in this are brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

SPRINGFIELD, IL- Despite the fact that Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States…the American equivalent of Mogadishu…Illinois voters again committed electoral suicide by returning the same party to control of that state’s government.

One of the most egregious acts committed by the Democrats who run the show is the so-called SAFE-T Act, which will do anything but ensure the safety of Illinois residents.

The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity Today act was approved by the Illinois General Assembly in 2021 and was vehemently opposed by law enforcement interests in the state. [emphasis added because it’s always about equity, not safety]

The act eliminates cash bail across the board in the state effective on Jan. 1, 2023. Law Enforcement Today previously reported on the bill. Law enforcement authorities say the bill will further embolden criminals in the state and put state residents and visitors in further danger.

In a so-called “veto” session scheduled for this week at the Illinois state capitol, both Republicans and Democrats are seeking to make some tweaks to the bill, according to The Center Square.  The bill is currently subject to litigation from dozens of state attorneys and sheriffs from across the state.

Republicans are seeking an outright appeal of the bill, but some Democrats have said the Republicans are not acting in good faith.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, a Democrat who represents the crime-ridden city of Chicago questioned the ability of Republicans to work with Democrats.

“The SAFE-T Act is an example of the Republicans being negligent in their oath of office by not negotiating honestly, and coming to the table to represent,” he told The Center Square.

Meanwhile, State Rep. Adam Niemberg, a Republican told the outlet that he is seeking a repeal of the act altogether while accusing Democrats of refusing any input from Republicans in the development of the bill.

“In a perfect world, it is a complete repeal,” Niemberg said. “This bill was passed at 4 a.m. in the Senate and at 6 or 7 a.m. in the House. There was no debate allowed on this piece of legislation.”

Moreover, Niemberg alleges the measure isn’t legal to begin with.

“We are at a particular point in time where this will go into effect on Jan. 1, and we have 100 out of 102 states attorneys that are highly questioning this piece of legislation,” he said. “Furthermore, there have been many questions on the constitutionality of the measure.”

Meanwhile Ford implied that changes may be forthcoming, however would not divulge to the outlet what exactly those changes might entail.

“We have worked together to make sure we passed three trailer bills,” Ford said. “We are working on even more to make sure that we improve the SAFE-T Act.”

Despite Niemberg’s wishes however, it appears that Democrats have no intention on gutting the law, FOX-32 in Chicago reported last week.

The outlet reported that perhaps some “clean-up” will take place, however no substantial changes to the measure are expected.

“There was never going to be any gutting. That was never on the table,” House Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Democrat told the Chicago Sun Times. “It has always been about strengthening and clarifying the original language.”

A “working group” is working on language to be included in a so-called “trailer bill” that will be introduced. That group also includes law enforcement.

However a source with direct knowledge of those efforts said there is no interest among supporters and sponsors of the act in “massive substantial changes.” In other words, it appears any changes will merely be smoke and mirrors.

Gordon-Booth said there was some consensus reached in a couple of areas, however “there’s some work left to do’ on others.

That said, the fate of the bill may rest on the lawsuit, which is pending, which consists of some 60 lawsuits consolidated into a single one. Some Republicans in the Illinois legislature believe the court will quash the measure, including House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

“I feel that it is an overreach,” Durkin said last week. “I believe that it is a complete annihilation of the separation of powers that we have under our Constitution and also flies in the face of victims’ rights.”

The consolidated lawsuits will be heard by a judge in Kankakee County, who has set a target date to rule on the legal challenges of Dec. 15. Oral arguments are set to begin on Dec. 7. The consolidated suit centers around whether the act aligns with the Illinois state constitution, both by what it provides and also how it was enacted into law.


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