ON THE RECORD: Rep. Tim Butler speaks out against police reform bill, calls on Republicans to take responsibility for Capitol Insurrection

On The Record

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — After the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, Illinois State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) is calling on the Republican party to wipe out any similar problems the party currently has.

“My hope is that those of us in the Republican party can own this because this was a rally that was at the behest of the President who is a member of our party. We need to make sure we root out any trouble that we have and make sure people understand this isn’t tolerated in our democracy, we can’t have this. Hopefully going forward it’s something we never see again,” Butler said.

Butler had worked at Capitol Hill for many years and said he was saddened to see what happened on Jan. 6. He said the current reports we’re hearing about potential future violence are concerning and denounced the violence we saw nearly two weeks ago.

“There’s a reason there are National Guard troops surrounding our State Capitol and State Capitols around the country, and 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington D.C. because of legitimate threats,” Butler said. “I worked for Congress for almost 20 years, I worked for Ray LaHood for 14 years, I worked for Capitol Hill when I get out of college, I’ve worked on the floor of the House of Representatives.”

Butler strongly opposed Illinois HB 3653, which is a historic criminal justice reform bill, saying he and his colleagues did not have enough time to review the bill before voting on it.

“It’s an important issue. Unfortunately, the way number one that it was managed, where this piece of legislation was passed in the House, literally in the waning minutes of the 101st General Assembly, isn’t the way to do it,” Butler said. “I think the process was flawed. We didn’t have enough time to discuss enough input from a lot of the advocates on a good process. Other states have done these types of things, and it’s taken a few years to get to what happened in just a few days in Springfield this past week.”

Butler said the bill did “get better” over the week, but said he still has concerns with eliminating cash bail and having anonymous complaints against officers that could “lead to issues.”

“Now people have to sign an affidavit if they have a complaint about an officer,” Butler said. “I think there was much more work to be done on this issue, but unfortunately it was pushed through at the last minute and now it sits on Gov. Pritzker’s desk.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed on Jan. 8 for a federal tax decoupling to save the state millions of dollars. Butler said the General Assembly disagreed with Pritzker’s approach, and said we might be getting more federal relief once President-elect Biden takes office.

“If we have federal resources coming down the pike, which could be more under President Biden in a few weeks, then we need to take a look at that,” Butler said.

Butler said Pritzker was “largely absent” in any discussions at the General Assembly and now needs to get the legislative leaders together to fix all budget problems the State faces both this year and next.

Next week for On the Record, Matt Sheehan will be joined by Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs on Tuesday, 1/26 at 6:20 a.m.

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