Several Democratic legislators are grateful attack ads they said were designed to scare voters about the SAFE-T Act did not lead to a red wave for Republicans on Nov. 8.
State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, spoke during a recent virtual news conference focused on the act. The news conference included state Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (Safe-T) Act, set to go into effect Jan. 1, is intended to address long-standing public safety issues and police distrust in many communities.
Critics of the law have taken issue with portions of the bill, including a provision that calls for the elimination of cash bail.
The SAFE-T Act was signed into law in 2021 by Gov. JB Pritzker.
“There was intense pressure put on me by Republicans before and after the election about the SAFE-T Act vote that I took,” Stava-Murray said. “And I took it for many of the same reasons that Sen. Gillespie took it for – because we all care about public safety. And the reality is that we all want to live in safe communities and the SAFE-T Act achieves a safer community for all of our community members.
“There wasn’t a red wave against this because I think voters are smarter than people give them credit for. And while there were some who were scared – in particular, some seniors were scared by some of the lies put forth – as soon as I sat down and had a conversation with them at their kitchen table and talked about what the bill actually did, that fear melted away.”
Gillespie said she is proud to support the SAFE-T Act and will continue to do so.
“I have been a supporter for the very simple reason that I sincerely believe it is going to help us be smarter on fighting crime and it’s going to keep our communities safer,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie said the criminal justice bill provides additional funding for body cameras.
“Which police officers in my district have said is actually helping them defend themselves against accusations,” she said.
Additionally, the bill supports funding to address mental health care for law enforcement.
“Which I think is a really important piece,” Gillespie said. “It’s providing trained professional support for them when they’re dealing with calls related to mental health or domestic violence issues. … We’ve been forcing police officers to act in the role of mental health professionals for way too long and we need to get them that support. And the SAFE-T Act does that.”
Stava-Murray said as implementations of the bill roll out, she will continue to keep her constituents informed.
“We do town halls, coffees and conversations, walking door-to-door, just talking to people and keeping up the conversation and making sure that they continue to give input and that I’m continuing to listen and lead in the direction that we’re hearing people want us to go in,” she said.