The Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is watching what will happen in the upcoming legislative veto session. During this time the legislature will be asked to review bills that were vetoed by the Governor and use the opportunity to provide fixes to legislation.
If you’ve followed the news, you likely heard about the Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity Today Act (Safe-T-Act) that is on the docket for this session as it would take effect in its next phase in January of 2023.
The initial intent of the Safe-T-Act law is certainly something many can get behind to reform our criminal justice system. However, there is a growing contingent of community leaders, elected officials, citizens, and law enforcement officers who believe certain elements deserve review and are calling for this to be done when the legislature began meeting the week of November 15 and continuing the week of December 1.
At the crux of the argument is the elimination of cash bail, the issues with the removal and detention of those accused of committing criminal acts such as trespassing, and the scope of authority judges in Illinois would have in detaining those accused of serious criminal acts.
Also in question is the inclusion of unfunded mandates that will have a hefty impact on budgets in some communities.
It is not uncommon to pass legislation that has unintended consequences. In fact, other elements of the Safe-T-Act have been amended multiple times.
It is also not uncommon for these issues to be addressed during the veto session or regular legislative session. From a business perspective, when legislation is riddled with unintended consequences in addition to unfunded mandates, this creates a cause for concern as it will be paid for by the taxpayers of Illinois – you, me, and our job creators.
It certainly says something when 100 out of 102 States Attorneys oppose the law and push for it to be amended in the upcoming legislative veto session. Most recently, over 50 lawsuits that were filed by Illinois States Attorneys have been consolidated into one lawsuit and will be heard in Kankakee County.
What can you do? Educate yourself on the issue. A great summary of this bill can be found on the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority website at: www.icjia.illinois.gov/researchhub/articles/the-2021-safe-t-act-icjia-roles-and-responsibilities.
Don’t be afraid to do your own research. Reach out to proponents and opponents of the bill. Ask questions. Call or write your elected officials to ask how they voted and let them know your position.
Find your State Representative or State Senator on the Illinois State Board of Elections website at https://www.elections.il.gov.