YORKVILLE – The new Illinois public safety law taking effect next year will make things more difficult for police and is likely to produce a public backlash.
That was the assessment of state Rep. David Welter, R-Morris, who called the legislation “The Criminal’s Bill of Rights.”
Welter was the featured speaker at the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon May 10 at Kennedy Pointe Restaurant & Pub.
The wide-ranging legislation will institute a cashless bail system taking effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Welter said provisions in the law will make it so some lawbreakers get off with being issued a ticket.
The lawmaker pointed to the rash of carjackings on the Chicagoland expressway system and in the city, along with smash-and-grab robberies targeting retail stores.
“I’m concerned about where we’re going in Illinois,” Welter said.
The new public safety law will require that persons charged with a Class 4 felony or a misdemeanor must be brought before a judge within 24 hours, rather than the current turn-around time of 48 hours.
At a recent forum in Montgomery, Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain expressed concern at the prospect of being forced to interview witnesses and perform other work leading up to an appearance before a judge in the reduced time frame.
They also worried about the effect the speeded-up process will have on victims of domestic violence.
Welter, who voted against the legislation, said he believes that when the public safety law takes effect, public reaction will force the Illinois General Assembly to rethink its provisions.
However, while there are some changes in the works for Springfield’s fall veto session, none of them address cashless bail or the shorter time frame to bring someone charged with a crime before a judge, Welter said.
Welter recognized that the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce group, composed of local business owners, professionals and civic leaders, was going to be concerned with bread-and-butter issues affecting the economy.
The state representative noted that the General Assembly approved temporary tax relief measures, including a 6-month suspension of state gasoline and grocery sales taxes, along with a one-time property tax rebate and an expansion of the earned income tax credit.
While voting yes on the tax measures, Welter said the temporary cuts do not go far enough.
He also accused Gov. JB Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers with approving an unsustainable budget shored up with federal COVID-19 relief funds.
“Those federal (American Recovery Plan Act) funds are one-time revenues we won’t get again,” Welter said.
Welter emphasized his support for nuclear energy and pointed to legislation he supported that will keep the Dresden, LaSalle and Braidwood plants in operation.
“I support green technology,” Welter declared, while asserting that wind and solar generation do not provide the base load created by nuclear generation.
At that point Welter introduced state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, who was a key player in negotiating the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act and credited with saving jobs at the nuclear plants.
Like Welter, Rezin expressed concerns over the pending public safety law.
Welter represents the 75th House District, which includes portions of Kendall, Will, Grundy and LaSalle Counties. He is facing Jed Davis of Newark in the June 28 Republican primary election. Welter saved his criticisms for Democrats and never mentioned the primary or his opponent.