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huffpost – Illinois General Assembly passes penal reform bill

Powered by the Black Lives Matter movement and public outrage over the deaths of black Americans at the hands of police officers, the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday passed sweeping criminal justice reforms that would end bail in cash and would require all police officers to wear body cameras, among other things. other measures.

Bill 3653, drafted by the Illinois Black Legislative Caucus, was approved by the State Senate and then the State House on Wednesday. The bill is now heading to the office of Democratic Governor JB Pritzker, who praised the legislation after the House vote.

“This criminal justice package offers the opportunity to turn our state into a lesson in true justice for the nation,” Pritzker said in a statement.

However, he did not say definitively that he would sign the bill.

Among other changes, HB 3653 would abolish the cash bond, require all police officers in the state to wear body cameras by 2025, and introduce new guidelines for the “dismissal” of police officers.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr., co-sponsor of the bill, said he believed the legislation was “the first step in transforming criminal justice in Illinois in a way that will elevate our communities and support our law enforcement professionals. “

“It increases accountability and transparency in law enforcement, modernizes our bail and sentencing systems, and provides for better protection and more humane treatment of those who have been arrested and charged.” crime, ”Sims, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (R) celebrated passage of the bill, calling it “a big step forward” for Illinois.

“Let us continue our path towards reform and accountability,” she said. wrote on Twitter.

Many Republican lawmakers and law enforcement groups opposed the bill, with some critics saying it was passed too quickly and without sufficient debate.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition, which is made up of police unions and organizations representing law enforcement officials, said in a statement that lawmakers had “made Illinois less safe.”

Republican state representative Tom Weber echoed this sentiment, calling the bill “dangerous” and one that would make “every community less safe.”

“Public security budgets will be cut, unfunded warrants will be paid out to local communities and police, and officers could be punished and held personally accountable for unfounded or unverifiable complaints. However, perhaps worst of all, many violent criminals will be able to walk freely before trial, ”Weber said, referring to the removal of cash bond requirements.

In contrast, Democratic Representative Justin Slaughter, co-sponsor of the bill, said removing the cash bond would bring more fairness and humanity to the criminal justice system.

“What we do know is that it is inhumane to subject anyone to pre-trial detention before their hearing. In this country, you are innocent until you are proven guilty, ”Slaughter said, according to WGLT.

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