On Monday, Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 3653 into law. The 700+ page legislation makes sweeping changes to Illinois’ criminal justice system, and the bill was opposed by nearly every law enforcement organization in the state. In response to the signing of the legislation, Illinois State Senator Don DeWitte (R-St. Charles) issued the following statement:
"Everyone wants safe communities and a fair system of criminal justice, but nearly every law enforcement organization across the state opposed this bill. Legislation of this magnitude deserved a thorough and transparent process, and unfortunately, with House Bill 3653 we had neither. But now that the bill has been signed into law, I hope my colleagues from across the aisle are willing to work with Republicans to address the unintended negative consequences that may arise.
"The General Assembly does its best work when we work in a bipartisan manner. I believe that had a bipartisan approach been used with the drafting of the criminal justice reform bill, we would have seen better legislation than what was signed into law today. I believe the beneficial elements of the bill would have remained, and red-flag areas that caused the most concern could have been negotiated, resulting in bipartisan support for the end product.
"Since the bill's passage on Jan. 13 with the minimum number of votes needed at 5:00AM in the morning, Senate Republicans have held close to 30 virtual town halls with local units of law enforcement. We listened to their concerns and gained a better understanding of which provisions of HB 3653 would negatively affect their departments. We hope to file trailer legislation this year that addresses their most pressing concerns."