PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Shots were taken early and often at Thursday night’s Illinois governor’s debate between incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker and his opponent Sen. Darren Bailey.

One of the hot topics of the debate was the controversy surrounding one provision of the SAFE-T Act that will eliminate cash bail in Illinois. That provision is set to take effect on Jan. 1 of 2023.

Following the first gubernatorial debate that took center stage at Illinois State University, Thursday night, East Peoria Mayor John Kahl took to Facebook.

“Thank you to Tazewell County State’s Attorney Kevin Johnson and the 49 other State’s Attorneys who had the fortitude to join together in filing a lawsuit yesterday against Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in response to the unconstitutional Public Act 101-652 (SAFE-T-Act),” said Kahl.

Kahl also added Illinoisans deserve and appreciate this kind of leadership.

On Sept. 27, Kahl took to Facebook for his first statement regarding his concern with the elimination of cash bail.

“On behalf of the citizens of East Peoria and the officers of the East Peoria Police Department who serve to protect our citizens and members of our business community, the East Peoria City Council unanimously approved Resolution 2223-072, a resolution supporting continued efforts to resolve public safety concerns with the SAFE-T-Act,” Kahl said.

Kahl continued to express his concern and said he was misled by Illinois leaders.

“At the IML Conference in Chicago one year ago this month, we were led to believe during a panel discussion that a number of members of the General Assembly and Attorney General Raoul recognize the need for law enforcement to have a seat at the table to address their concerns and that a number of trailer bills would soon follow,” Kahl said. “Lip service has not served us well. The citizens of East Peoria and the officers of the East Peoria Police Department expect and deserve better of all who represent us in Springfield.”

Cash bail ends in Illinois effective Jan. 1, 2023, and unlike Republicans, Gov. Pritzker says the provision will make Illinoisans much safer under the new system.

“The criminal justice system that Darren Bailey and Republicans are standing up for is one that allows murderers and rapists and domestic abusers to buy their way out of jail,” Gov. Pritzker said.

With the first debate in the books, and both candidates on complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to support of the SAFE-T Act, the topic will likely come up in the next debate, which is set for Tuesday, Oct. 18 in Chicago.