SAFE-T Act Updates, Unemployment Funding, Assault Weapons Ban, and More
In This Issue:
SAFE-T Act Veto Session Outcomes
Other Veto Session Highlights: Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
Assault Weapons Ban Update
Holiday Open House
Gifts that Give Back
Dear Friends, Earlier this month, my colleagues and I wrapped up the 2022 veto session with progress on a few notable fronts, including updates to the SAFE-T Act. Because this has been an area of intense concern in our community, I go into some detail below on the main changes that we brought about with House Bill 1095, which was signed into law last week. Veto session also brought developments to the unemployment insurance trust fund, which is important for advancing the cause for workers and businesses. The General Assembly will next be in session in the new year, when we come back together January 4th for for lame duck session. At that point, we will take action on another piece of legislation important to our community—the assault weapons ban. Hearings are already taking place, and I’ll tell you more below about how to watch those hearings and the main areas this legislation seeks to address. Especially knowing how busy our lives are at this time of the year, I want to thank the many of you who have reached out to me and my office to ask questions, let us know your thoughts, and generally engage with us on these important issues. Please continue to do so this coming Saturday by joining Senator Laura Ellman and me at our holiday open house. Whether you can attend or not, I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season and new year! Sincerely, Janet P.S. During veto session, I was happy to host Naperville-area students Luisa and Katie as part of our Page for the Day program. If you or someone you know are interested in participating, send me a note.
SAFE-T Act Veto Session Outcomes Over the last few months, you’ve likely heard much about the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, also known as the SAFE-T Act. It’s a topic that this newsletter has covered in the past, such as in our October 2022 issue. At the beginning of December, my colleagues and I in the General Assembly passed House Bill 1095, which incorporates hundreds of hours of negotiations and feedback from law enforcement, prosecutors, public safety advocates, survivors, and other stakeholders. As a result of negotiations, States Attorneys throughout the state as well as groups such as the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Sheriff’s Association, and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, removed their opposition to the Act. HB1095 addresses good-faith critiques of the SAFE-T Act and corrects misconceptions to ensure a safe and successful implementation. Some of the main updates include:
Removes any ambiguity that a person who poses a risk to public safety can be detained. This includes crimes such as arson, kidnapping, robbery and other serious offenses. It underscores that non-probationable felonies, forcible felonies, hate crimes and other serious crimes – such as aggravated DUI causing great bodily harm – are detainable by a judge.
The SAFE-T Act continues to have no effect on those already convicted of a crime. To address misinterpretations of the law that had suggested all violent offenders will be released Jan. 1, 2023, HB1095 lays out a clear transition process for courts and law enforcement and their pre-trial practices.
Further clarifies and makes consistent all language pertaining to what prosecutors must show to detain an individual, which is that the person poses a real and present threat to any person or the community, based on specific articulable facts of the case.
Addresses concerns about the enforcement of trespassing to ensure that a trespasser can be cited – and then arrested – if they refuse to leave.
Language is also updated to clarify what is considered as “willful flight.” It defines “willful flight” as intentionally avoiding prosecution and notes that patterns of nonappearance or a lack of steps to address nonappearance can be considered as factors in determining willful flight.
Updated language clarifies court authority in setting conditions for electronic monitoring and removes language that would have made escape chargeable only after 48 hours.
Additionally, the measure creates a state grant program for increasing public defenders to handle an expected increase in caseloads, further clarifies remote hearing rules, further explains bench warrant processes and allows for good reason delays to be excluded from a speedy trial clock. It also allows for the state and defendant to appeal all court decisions related to pretrial release and clarifies that the public defender handling the detention hearing also handles the appeal. Communities and families across Illinois will be safer because of this legislation. I want to especially thank the many community members who took the time and effort to reach out to me to learn about the details and nuances of the SAFE-T Act when they had questions. With this bill, we are making for a smarter and fairer criminal justice system--which means safer streets--because those charged with violent crimes will now not be able to buy their way out of jail. Other Veto Session Highlight: Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Following record-level pandemic-era job losses in 2020, our state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund faced a $4.5 billion deficit. To shore up this fund, we made a $2.7 billion infusion earlier this year and an additional $450 million payment in the fall. During veto session, under an agreement with the backing of business and workers groups, my colleagues and I voted to eliminate the remainder $1.8 billion of debt via the bipartisan Senate Bill 1698. SB1698 helps to ease tax pressure for employers, who will save at least $900 million in taxes over the next fiver years. At the same time, workers needing to claim unemployment will not see a cut in their benefits—either in level or time that benefits can be received. The legislation also helps to ensure that the fund stays solvent in the case of future downturns, which provides stability for businesses and protections for workers facing job loss. Assault Weapons Ban Update I next return to Springfield in the new year’s January lame duck session, which encompasses the last few days before the new 103rd General Assembly is sworn in on January 11, 2023. During this time, one of the main focuses for my colleagues and me will be passing an assault weapons ban, which is currently encompassed in House Bill 5855. This package of legislation aims to do the following:
Ban assault weapons immediately, require registration of existing weapons, prevent future sales of ammunition magazines with 10+ rounds, and prohibit rapid-fire devices that turn weapons into fully automatic guns;
Hold gun manufacturers or retailers responsible who market firearms products through deceptive marketing practices;
Establish an interdisciplinary state-wide strike team within the Illinois State Police, in concert with the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to combat the influx of illegal guns across state lines into Illinois;
Remove the ability for people under 21 to own firearms and ammunition, with exception for those serving in the U.S. Military or the National Guard, as well as allowing hunting and sports shooting for minors with guardian supervision;
Strengthen Firearm Restraining Order laws to keep firearms from dangerous persons.
My colleagues on the House Firearm Safety and Reform Working Group continue to negotiate with stakeholders on this bill. You can watch the subject matter hearings online, currently scheduled to take place at 10:00 am on December 15 and December 20 via the ilga.com Audio/Video virtual rooms (the room will be live closer to the start of the hearings). Holiday Open House Join Senator Laura Ellman and me for a special coffee and conversation as we enter the holiday season. This is an opportunity for you to share some holiday cheer and your voice on topics that are important to you. You can also take a tour of the current rotation of art pieces on display as part of the Naperville Art League’s Art Around Town exhibit, which showcases the work of local artists in locations throughout our community, including our office.
What: Holiday Open House When: Saturday, December 17 from 10:00 to 11:30 am Where: District 41 Office, 475 River Bend Rd., Suite 500, Naperville, IL 60540
Gifts That Give Back!
As the holiday season ramps up, our office is highlighting an array of holiday gifts available from local nonprofits. Please take a look at our guide to find something for everyone on your list, while also supporting our community.