SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) – Illinois lawmakers returned to Springfield Tuesday to discuss potential changes to the SAFE-T law, which abolishes cash bail and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
There is no proposal to change the law yet.
On Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the law needed only minor changes to clarify its language.
“I believe that this bill is a good bill that contains some necessary changes that will be presented to the General Assembly in the next two days. So let’s let that happen,” Pritzker said.
This is the last week lawmakers are scheduled to meet in the state capital before the law goes into effect.
62 prosecutors across Illinois, both Democrats and Republicans, have filed suits to block implementation of the law.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today Act or the SAFE-T lawwas introduced by the Illinois Black Caucus as part of black lawmakers’ response to the murder of George Floyd and passed by the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives in the early hours of January 13, 2021.
Governor JB Pritzker signed the law into law on February 22 of that year, after which it became known as Public 101-0652.
The law abolishes the cash deposit system from January 1, 2023 US Commission on Civil Rightsthe cash bail system disproportionately impacts black and brown communities and other underrepresented or impoverished groups who cannot afford bail.
Someone arrested after January 1st can be released before their trial based on the presumption of innocence guaranteed by the United States Constitution. However, a judge will have the power to decide whether an individual should be released based on a public safety assessment rather than the size of the defendant’s wallet.
Certain offences, including violent crimes, stalking and domestic violence, warrant revocation of pre-trial release; This means they will not be released after arrest. This is described in Section 110-6.1.a of the Act.
Many law enforcement agencies in Illinois have warned The act will encourage criminals and make it harder for the police Keep criminals off the street.
Pritzker said he does not entertain the idea of moving the effective date to the summer of 2023 and expects changes to be made by the end of the week.
The law’s supporters insist the “spirit” of the law remains intact, but prosecutors are proposing big changes, including expanding the number of offenses for which judges can jail people.
The SAFE-T Act currently defines which offenses qualify for incarceration. Supporters of the law said it was about becoming less dependent on detaining people before they are found guilty.
Most of the debate will take place within the Democratic Party. The Republican leadership is still calling for the law to be repealed in its entirety.
Lawsuits filed by individual prosecutors have been consolidated into one in Kankakee County so that a judgment affects all counties at once.
A judge’s verdict in the case could be as early as December 15.