Amendments to Illinois’ SAFE-T Act are now law.
The controversial legislation passed the previous General Assembly in January 2021. It brought about sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice system and regulations on police. Lawmakers passed three trailer bills with various clarifications since then.
Regardless, the measure faced several lawsuits from around the state from state’s attorneys and sheriffs of both political parties. Those lawsuits seeking to block implementation have been consolidated into a single case to be heard in Kankakee County Dec. 20.
Last week, during veto session, lawmakers along party lines approved additional amendments to the measure addressing some, but not all, concerns.
“I’m pleased that the General Assembly has passed clarifications that uphold the principle we fought to protect: to bring an end to a system where wealthy violent offenders can buy their way out of jail, while less fortunate nonviolent offenders wait in jail for trial,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement announcing he signed the measure. “Advocates and lawmakers came together and put in hours of work to strengthen and clarify this law, uphold our commitment to equity, and keep people safe.”
The bill clarifies what serious crimes an individual can be held for pretrial, like murder, arson, kidnapping and more. It also clarifies that law enforcement can arrest someone who is trespassing, but only after first issuing a citation. There are other measures clarifying the process of warrants and summonses for failure to appear, and updates to the requirements for police worn body cameras, among other changes.
Republicans said the bill was flawed from the beginning and that the amendments proved that. They argued for the measure to be scrapped altogether, saying the measure makes Illinois streets less safe.
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