SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois House has passed a sweeping criminal justice reform package.
It passed in the House with a 60-50 vote.
The bill already passed the Illinois Senate in the early morning hours Wednesday.
It will now be sent to Governor JB Pritzker for approval and signing.
It is part of a larger plan authored by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to rid Illinois of, what it calls, systemic racism.
The package includes the elimination of cash bail. It would allow certain criminal offenders to be set free without waiting in jail for their court date, because they can't afford bond.
A judge would issue pre-trial release conditions for offenders.
The bill would also eliminate qualified immunity for individual police officers, prohibit police departments from purchasing certain "militaristic" equipment, mandate the use of police body cameras for all officers, prohibit chokeholds, require the maintenance of police misconduct records, and require the use of special prosecutors in officer-involved deaths, among other things.
Some senators argued that not enough time was spent examining the 764 page bill before it was passed. It was received at 3:40 a.m. Wednesday. Debate started at 4:01 a.m., and the bill passed at 4:49 a.m.
Senator Jason Plummer wrote on Facebook, "Who could've possibly read and reviewed this bill in less than an hour? This issue deserves a thorough and serious discussion. Sadly, it was instead jammed through the legislature during the early morning hours of this lame duck session. This is not how our system of government is supposed to work."
Prior to the vote Senator Chapin Rose wrote, "Dems filed their final Defund Police Bill of 764 pages at 3:04 a.m. to HB 3653 ... debate started at 4:02 a.m. - less than an hour later! I am telling you right now, not a single person in this Senate Chamber knows what the final provisions of this bill are. I'm voting NO!"
Other senators praised the quick action taken on the bill, which will now head to the House for a concurrence vote.
Senator Robert Peters said, “For too long, people in this state have spent time in jail only because they could not afford to pay their bail."
Peters was recently elected Chair of the Senate Black Caucus. “The end of that practice is near. I’m thrilled that ending cash bail was part of the package we passed today, and I look forward to similar action from the House.”
Peters filed Senate Bill 4025, known as the Pretrial Fairness Act, earlier this year. It was then folded into the criminal justice reform package.
“Being poor is not a crime, end of story,” Peters said. “Folks who have the means to cover their bail don’t spend a minute in jail, while others could be locked up for weeks or even months before their trial begins. This is not a just or equitable system, and I’m proud to have fought for its elimination.”
Some law enforcement groups have been critical of the bill. Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said law enforcement should be able to "share our experiences in developing effective policy."
The Illinois State's Attorneys Association has also expressed disapproval for the bill, saying in a statement they "will profoundly undermine public safety and overturn long=standing common-sense policies and practices in the criminal justice system."
Director of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Shawn Roselieb expressed his frustration that police groups were not included in discussions leading up to the vote. He said police were willing to examine policies and talk about what could be improved, but they were never even given a "seat at the table" to be a part of the process.
The Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition issued a statement saying:
"In the dark of night Illinois legislators made Illinois less safe. More than 112,000 citizens so far have signed a petition to oppose the community-endangering law enforcement legislation being rammed through the General Assembly, but how did the Senate respond to those constituent concerns? By introducing a 764-page amendment at 3:51 a.m. and shoving it through in the middle of the night before the people voting on it even had a chance to read it. We had been working in good faith with the Attorney General on a bill that would make great strides to modernize law enforcement, but that legislation was dumped into this monster bill and the result is a betrayal of the public trust that gives many more advantages to criminals than the police. It ties the hands of police officers while pursuing suspects and making arrests, and allows criminals to run free while out on bail.
The legislation includes no way to pay for any of these law abiding citizen-threatening measures, so taxpayers will have to pay extra for the privilege of being crime victims.
We applaud the Senators who had the fortitude to vote in favor of public safety by voting against this bill. We strongly implore the members of the House to listen to their constituent concerns, avoid going down the dangerous path the Senate took, and refuse to concur on this draconian legislation that makes communities less safe."