HB 163, SA2 Eliminates Felony Murder, Eliminates Suspension of Driver’s License for Repeat Traffic Offenses, Hurts Police
On January 5, 2021 a criminal justice reform bill was amended onto HB163. The bill, HB163 (SA2), affects police officers in Illinois and was scheduled to be called beginning Friday, January 8th up to Thursday, January 14th* while lawmakers are in the lame duck veto session. Some believe the bill will be called Saturday, January 9, 2021. Today is also National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day — January 9, 2021.
The Illinois Sheriff’s Association (ISA), the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP), and the law enforcement labor union Metropolitan Alliance of Police (MAP) oppose HB 163, SA2; and are asking citizens and law enforcement officers to contact their representatives and senators to oppose HB 163, SA2. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association calls HB 163 the “Defund the Police” Bill.
“This is one of the most anti-police bills ever drafted by the Illinois General Assembly. It is also very bad for local governments, which could be stripped of additional funds at a time when funding already is in crisis.”
— ILACP President James R. Black
According to State Representative Darren Bailey (Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 109th District in Southern Illinois), the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, the ILACP, and MAP; HB 163 (SA2) adds the following anti-police measures:
• Makes police officers civilly liable for anything at anytime (police officers are currently protected from personal civil liability). Eliminates qualified immunity for police officers and expressly applies punitive unbalanced civil penalties to police officers, while denying them typical and customary protections like caps on attorney’s fees.
• Creation of a new state law right of action against law enforcement for alleged civil rights violations that is more generous than the federal Section 1983 provisions (it includes a provision for attorney’s fees, eliminates state law and federal immunities and resets the statute of limitations)
• Allows unrestricted and ungoverned disciplinary policies of law enforcement officers.
• Removes law enforcement officer’s rights to collective bargaining for over 50,000 law enforcement officers in the State.
• Allows for officers to be disciplined or fired based on anonymous and unsubstantiated complaints with no sworn affidavits and these complaints could be kept forever in their files.
• Defunds municipalities by removing funding sources and interrupting as much as 40% of the total Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) monies.
• Prohibits departments from purchasing reduced-priced militaristic equipment from federal surplus, used to protect officers in emergency situations.
• Increases initial and ongoing education and training requirements, with no money to pay for the costs and no assurances the courses will be offered.
• Mandates body cams with no money to cover the costs (equipment, data storage, etc) and punishes non-compliance by withholding LGDF.
• Defunds any department that does not comply 100% with these requirements.
• Removes suspension of a driver’s license for ongoing traffic violations.
• Enacts multiple benefits for felons including access to victim’s compensation.
• Prohibits use of force and makes officers criminally liable for using any type of force. These include significant changes to Use of Force, including Total Ban on Chokeholds or action above the shoulders under ANY circumstances.
• Removes prohibitions against obstructing police officers.
• Significantly limits use of no-knock warrants.
• Eliminates felony murder.
• Creates one-hour access to 3 phone calls for detainees with no latitude for emergencies, which often isn’t practical in one hour, and allows outside contact by detainees prior to potential arrest of co-defendants/co-suspects who are still at large.
• Eliminates cash bail, allowing criminal suspects back on the streets immediately … mandates release.
The ILACP states that Law Enforcement, crime victims and the public at large will be severely harmed by the HB163, SA2 legislation. This approach to police reform lacks balance, due process and any input from professional law enforcement organizations.
REQUEST OR ACTION …
The ILACP has called for the following actions from citizens and police officers in order to oppose HB163, SA2.
1.) Never has it been more imperative for you to contact not only your state representatives and senators, but also your mayors and managers, and tell them to oppose HB 163, SA2.
2.) For starters, ask them to oppose the bill.
3.) Also tell them it is not prudent to consider a massive reform bill in a few short days and to rush it through without thoughtful hearings and deliberation on changes that will have massive negative consequences on our communities.
The ILACP also asks that citizens and police officers share the ILACP statement about this bill. The statement is available here as a PDF, and the full text of the statement is below. ILACP advised that the General Assembly’s deadline for action on this bill is Wednesday, January 13, and so they will be moving quickly.
* Some say the deadline is Wednesday January 13, 2021.
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