- Supreme Court upholds end of cash bail
- Corn growers warn about proposed federal EPA rule
- Legislation helps human trafficking victims
- More news
Supreme Court upholds SAFE-T Act’s elimination of cash bail
Last week the Illinois Supreme Court voted 5-2 to uphold the portion of the 2021 SAFE-T Act criminal justice law which eliminates cash bail in the state of Illinois. The court gave Illinois counties a 60-day period to prepare for the changes, which will take effect on September 18. Starting on that date, judges will no longer be able to detain people arrested for most crimes until they can post bail. Instead, many criminals will be quickly released back into society after they are arrested.
Illinois already has one of the highest murder rates in the country, and the state just became even less safe with the elimination of courts’ ability to hold dangerous criminals in jail after they are arrested. This is such a bad law that even many Democrat state’s attorneys joined in the effort to have it overturned. We need to be supporting our law enforcement officers, not ignoring them as the drafters of this legislation did. We need to be making Illinois more safe, not less safe. This decision upholding the end of cash bail moves us further in the wrong direction.
The SAFE-T Act was strongly opposed by police and other law enforcement groups in Illinois when it was quickly passed in 2021. I voted No when it was brought to the floor just minutes before the end of the lame duck session of the legislature. House Republicans have convened a Truth in Public Safety working group to come up with ways to reform the criminal justice system while supporting the police and respecting the rights of victims. We will continue to advocate for measures that take into consideration the rights of those accused of crimes, but which have as their first goal keeping the public safe.
Illinois corn industry warns about new federal rule
The Illinois Corn Growers’ Association is responding to a proposed rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which could sharply reduce demand for corn-based ethanol produced here in Illinois and in other states. The proposed rule would accelerate the transition from motor-fuel based vehicles to electric vehicles, requiring two-thirds of all new car sales to be electric by 2032.
Illinois’ corn growers warned that such a change would reduce the demand for corn nationwide by 1 billion bushels over ten years. The effects this reduction would have on the price of corn, and the value of farmland would be massive, with impacts on local economies and entities like school districts which depend on property tax revenue.
Illinois is the nation’s second-largest corn-producing state.
Legislation takes on human trafficking in Illinois
This spring I supported a bill, HB 2418, which helps victims of human trafficking to recover from the trauma they have experienced and pursue a normal life. That bill was signed into law earlier this summer.
Human trafficking occurs in every state in the union, with Illinois ranking in the top ten in trafficking cases. In 2021 the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 355 victims of human trafficking in Illinois. Illinois is considered by some to be a nexus of trafficking because of its central location, network of major highways and our large international airports.
These cases involve victims of all ages, races and genders and the victims can be lured into these situations by violence, manipulation, false promises of good-paying jobs or romantic relationships. One in four victims is a child.
The first step in identifying potential victims is to recognize the signs of human trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security advises not to “attempt to confront a suspected trafficker or directly alert a victim to your suspicions.” It could put your safety and the safety of the victim at risk. Instead, contact law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline. DHS has a list of possible indicators of human trafficking, which can be found here. Knowing these indicators could help save a life.