Illinois Lawmakers Could Address SAFE-T Act Concerns as Early as Next Week

Lawmakers return to Springfield for the fall veto session next week and the controversial SAFE-T Act is expected to garner some attention.

The crime reform package has been criticized by both sides of the aisle, especially the dozens of state’s attorneys around the state who have filed a lawsuit to have the legislation scrapped.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked Wednesday now that the pressure of the election is over, does he expect Democratic lawmakers to change anything about the SAFE-T Act next week.

“I will be watching carefully,” said Pritzker. “I’ve made my thoughts clear and we’ll see if we can get something done during the veto session to address the changes that we ought to be making.”

A proponent of the legislation, the People’s Lobby, said election results prove Illinoisans are in favor of ending cash bail.

“Republicans know the facts and data about pretrial incarceration are on our side, so they tried to win people over by stoking fear and outrage,” said State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville. “What they don’t understand is that Trumpian tactics don’t work in the suburbs.”

Illinois will become the first state in the country to abolish cash bail Jan. 1. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, a former prosecutor, said there are other stipulations in the act that should raise a red flag.

“There’s another provision in here which says there is a 90-day trial requirement for anybody who is detained otherwise they will be released from custody and that includes people who are charged with perhaps a detainable offense like armed robbery up to someone who has been charged with multiple murders. It’s outrageous,” said Durkin.

The lawsuit against the SAFE-T Act is expected to be heard in Kankakee County court in early December.

Kendall County state’s attorney Eric Weis said the case may go to the state’s highest court.

“If the law is declared unconstitutional, then obviously there is no law,” said Weis. “However, an appeal will then go directly to the Illinois Supreme Court.”