One of the most controversial bills that was passed during lame-duck session in January was a major criminal justice overhaul.
Many police officers, criminal justice advocates, and citizens are still working to stop House Bill 3653 from being signed into law.
Opponents of the legislation note that it will increase costs to police departments, which could lead to fewer police officers on the street or increases to property taxes. The financial issues are why many police groups have referred to the legislation as a backdoor “defund the police” plan.
If signed into law, House Bill 3653 will drastically change Illinois’ criminal justice system, and change how law enforcement are able to perform their duties. Legislative reforms of this magnitude require in-depth discussion from all stakeholders. Instead, lawmakers witnessed a non-transparent, one-sided effort that ramrodded this bill through the Senate despite our concerns and our opposition.
Some of the major components of House Bill 3653 include:
- Eliminates cash bail completely by January 1, 2023.
- Creates several new and potentially costly unfunded mandates, including new training requirements and body camera mandates.
- Bases preference for police department grants on compliance with body camera mandates.
- Requires suspects to be granted three phone calls within three hours of their arrest.
- Creates a task force to study the feasibility of removing qualified immunity from police officers.
Some of the most controversial aspects of the original bill were removed before voting, including language that would have stripped certain collective bargaining rights from police officers. While the original bill contained language that would have also stripped qualified immunity from officers, an important protection that many jobs have, the version that passed creates a commission to study the idea, which means it could still happen.
The 764-page final bill was filed in the early morning hours of January 13, and then called for a vote just after 4 a.m., leaving little time for lawmakers to read it before voting or even discussing it. In addition, debate was limited to just a couple of Senators from each side, severely limiting the transparency of the process.
By signing the petition below, you telling the Governor "DO NOT SIGN" House BILL 3653.