Calling for veto of police bill; Session days cancelled

Urging a veto of dangerous bill which changes policing

House Republicans are calling on Governor Pritzker to veto House Bill 3653, a measure passed in the closing minutes of the lame duck House last month, which would make significant changes to law enforcement in Illinois and leave our state less safe.

“I believe no person should have to live in fear of their government, and we must address those issues. House Bill 3653 doesn’t do it. In short, it is a confusing, inoperable and contradictory attempt to reform policing and the criminal justice system,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. He went on to say that, “The [legislation], in its whole, is a document that lacks clarity and will be unworkable for police, the judiciary, defense attorneys and prosecutors.”

Among the many changes in the 764-page bill is the elimination of cash bail. The new bonding system is very complex and its ramifications are not understood, but the expectation is that most defendants who have been arrested will be released to back into the community while awaiting trial, including those arrested for violent crimes. I strongly opposed this change, because of the risks of allowing dangerous criminals back into our communities.

The bill also makes many changes and places additional requirements on police officers. It requires body cameras be worn by all officers, creates a new felony offense called law enforcement misconduct, creates an anonymous complaint policy and makes changes to use of force in making arrests, duty to render aid and duty to intervene. It makes major changes to the certification and decertification process for law enforcement officers.

Police officers and public safety agencies across the state strongly opposed this bill because they believe it will threaten the safety of Illinois families. It will make it more difficult for law enforcement to protect Illinoisans and in many instances it seems to give more rights to criminals than to victims.

“Police reform is not a bad thing when it’s done correctly,” said Joe Moon, President of Illinois State Troopers Lodge 41. “The 700-plus pages of this bill, unfortunately, will put citizens in Illinois at risk.”

We are urging Governor Pritzker to veto this bill and instead work together will all sides to put together a real reform bill that will make our communities safer.

Click here to sign the petition to urge the Governor to veto this flawed bill.

8 out of 9 February session days called off

The 102nd General Assembly was sworn in on January 13, and we had been scheduled to resume regularly-scheduled session days this week, but the plan for February has been changed. Instead, we will meet only one day this month, February 10, to adopt the rules which will govern the House of Representatives for the two-year session. We are tentatively scheduled to hold session in the Capitol building – the first time we will have met in the statehouse since March 5, 2020. Session days in May 2020 and last month were held at Springfield’s convention center.

It is expected that these rules will allow for remote committee hearings, something which the U.S. Congress and other state legislatures have been doing since last spring. This is far from ideal, but under the circumstances it is an improvement. The legislature has been sidelined for far too long while the Governor has been running Illinois’ pandemic response. We need to get the House and Senate back to work on a regular basis.

How much do we owe?

As of the time of this writing, the State of Illinois owes $4,804,933,623 in unpaid bills to state vendors. One year ago, the backlog stood at $6.2 billion. This figure represents the amount of bills submitted to the office of the Comptroller and still awaiting payment. It does not include debts that can only be estimated, such as our unfunded pension liability which is subject to a wide range of factors and has been estimated to be more than $141 billion.

More news from around the state

The latest update from the Department of Public Health reports deaths in Iroquois, Livingston and Vermilion counties

2021 Illinois tax filing season begins Friday February 12

Republican State Reps Urge JCAR to Reject New Political Activism Training Requirements for Teachers

Livingston County testing site drawing back on hours

Illinois Republicans introduce “Voter Empowerment Project”

IDES announces progress in implementing Continued Assistance Act

Illinois population declines by 79,000

Red Cross urges blood donation to maintain supply amid pandemic

Illinois’ COVID economic recovery rated second-worst in the nation

Prepare your water pipes for this weekend’s extreme cold

Applications for Governor’s Hometown Awards now accepted

State to buy Chicago office building, save $20 million a year

February’s Kids for Conservation topic: Feathers

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My district offices remain closed to in-person visits, but are still accessible by phone at (815) 432-0106 (Watseka) and (815) 844-9179 (Pontiac).