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Manar crim justice reactSPRINGFIELD – In light of the state legislature’s passage of a criminal justice reform measure, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) released the following statement:

“Over the past four months, the Illinois Senate has conducted public hearings on specific legislative proposals related to criminal justice reform. Much of the content of the hearings was based on legislation pending before the General Assembly. The first public hearing was held on September 1, 2020. In total, nine public hearings were held, accounting for over 30 hours of public testimony. The work of those hearings was finalized and legislation was filed, reflected first in House Bill 163, with the anticipation that legislative action would be considered by the General Assembly during this past week.

“Because of concerns immediately relayed to me from individuals in law enforcement in the 48th District, as well as statewide law enforcement organizations, I opposed HB 163 for the following reasons: 1) the bill would have eliminated significant collective bargaining rights for law enforcement; 2) the bill would have eliminated qualified immunity for law enforcement; 3) the bill would have financially penalized units of local government that do not implement police body cameras under strict parameters (de-funding police departments); 4) the bill would have implemented sweeping changes for pre-trial services for individuals who have been charged with crimes.

“On Sunday, January 10, I made my opposition known to Senator Elgie Sims, the sponsor of the bill, on each of the above concerns. I appreciate Senator Sims’s willingness to listen and subsequently amending the language as negotiations continued. The final language that I did support is contained in HB 3653, not HB 163 as reported in multiple news outlets. HB 163 was never called for a vote.

“In summary, HB 3653 differs significantly from HB 163. Collective bargaining rights were preserved for law enforcement. Protections from liability (qualified immunity) for law enforcement were preserved and will not change. All funding changes being proposed in HB 163 for police departments were removed. Specifically, the proposal to de-fund a police department’s ability to purchase body cameras (see 3 above) was removed and in its place language was added to incentivize (not require) local governments to implement the use of body cameras. And finally, changes were made to the language for pre-trial services to incorporate many points that were suggested by state’s attorneys actively involved in the process throughout. This specific portion of the bill will become effective on January 1, 2023.

“In addition to all of these changes, the bill supports victims of crimes at a new level in Illinois by expanding meaningful portions of the Crime Victims Compensation Act.

“I appreciate the number of conversations I have had with law enforcement and concerned constituents who reached out to me regarding language in HB 163. And, I appreciate Senator Sims incorporating into the final language the concerns that I brought to his attention as the sponsor of the bill.”