State Representative Andrew Chesney took to the Floor of the Illinois House in the final hour of the lame-duck session of the 101st General Assembly to speak out against a bill which he says, “jeopardizes community safety”.
“Where I come from, Northwest Illinois, we back the badge. This bill is flawed public policy which gives more rights to criminals over law enforcement,” said Chesney. “I stand with our law enforcement, not because it is convenient, but rather because they keep my family and my district safe.”
A modified version of the comprehensive police reform plan emerged from the Illinois Senate overnight Tuesday into Wednesday which eliminated changes to qualified immunity for law enforcement but still contained provisions to eliminate cash bail within 2 years; allow the use of deadly force only when an officer acts in self-defense or defending others from bodily harm; makes it easier to decertify officers by allowing anonymous complaints without affidavit; limits the purchase of specialized protective equipment; and mandates the use of police body cameras for all officers by 2025.
The cash bail and the body camera provisions, as well as several other elements of the bill, will cost local units of government as well as state licensing boards and law enforcement agencies a lot more money, but the bill does not carry with it the additional funds needed to implement these mandates.
“This is quite simply a slap in the face to law enforcement and makes them, as well as our communities, less safe,” Chesney concluded. Chesney joined 49 of his colleagues in voting NO, but the bill ultimately passed on a vote of 60-50 with eight legislators not even casting an up or down vote on the bill.
Video of Rep. Chesney’s comments from the Illinois House floor can be found HERE.