PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)- Illinois House Republicans are calling on state lawmakers to repeal the SAFE-T Act.
The sweeping criminal justice reform bill which was signed into law in February of last year includes eliminating cash bail by 2023, requiring all officers to use body cameras by 2025, and creates changes to the way complaints and misconduct against police officers are handled.
During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, House Republican leader Jim Durkin criticized the impact of the legislation. He said hundreds of law enforcement officers have retired or left the field due to the law.
Durkin also said changes to the state’s felony murder law make it tougher to hold violent offenders accountable, pointing to the shooting death of Cook County resident Melinda Crump in December of last year.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, during a hearing on Monday, a Cook County grand jury declined to indict suspect Travis Andrews on first-degree murder due to changes created by the SAFE-T Act. Andrews was indicted on weapons charges connected to the shooting.
“We have got to be better than this business as usual, nothing to see here approach by the Democrats. We need to repeal the law because it isn’t working and we must rebuild our criminal justice system so people can feel safe in Illinois knowing that criminals do not get a free pass,” Durkin said.
Republican lawmakers said they’ve filed legislation to repeal the SAFE-T Act and are hoping for bipartisan support.
“We need more Democrats to come forward and join us and say let’s change course before more dangerous people get off easy and are back out on the streets after committing serious crimes. Let’s change course before more people die,” said State Rep. Dan Ugaste, 65th District (R).
GOP lawmakers also said the SAFE-T act was rushed and did not receive Republican or public input.