(The Center Square) – As lawmakers return to Springfield for Tuesday’s fall veto session, many expect the SAFE T Act to be an important part of the discussion. One law enforcement group, however, says it could take some time.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity Today, or SAFE-T, Act, was approved by the General Assembly in January 2021. It makes several changes to the criminal justice system in the state, including eliminating cash bail statewide, making it the first state to do so.
The measure faces a consolidated lawsuit from dozens of state attorneys and sheriffs and has led to debate from lawmakers and state officials since its passing.
Jim Kaitschuck of the Illinois Sheriffs Association told The Center Square it could be a while before changes to the act are agreed upon even though lawmakers return this week.
“Our last conversation was last Wednesday, and we do not have a schedule to meet again, but that could change,” Kiatschuck said. “Lawmakers are only in session Tuesday and Wednesday, so in terms of something moving this week, I don’t think that’s remotely likely.”
Over the past few months, Republicans have called for a repeal of the measure, while Democrats have discussed further legislation. Kiatschuck said one idea is more realistic than the other.
“It’s a trailer bill is more likely,” Kaitschuck said. “Especially with the change of politics that has occurred, I do not see how a full repeal would occur.”
Many groups have spoken out against the measure, including the Illinois Sheriffs Association. Kaitschuck has been a part of the negotiations on the subject and said it’s all up to lawmakers now.
“We shed some light on the concerns we have, and states attorneys have and how we would address some of those things,” Kaitschuck said. “Ultimately, now the case has been presented now, it’s a matter of making a determination as to what the General Assembly is able to change or wants to change.”