The men and women of law enforcement do more to serve our local communities and our state than I have space to list here. From assisting motorists with disabled vehicles on our highways to all the community service they perform, our local police, county sheriff’s deputies, Illinois State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel truly exemplify how one person can make a positive difference in the lives of many others. For nearly two years, these most heroic and dedicated of public servants have been unfairly maligned by Illinois Democrat politicians and the radical left special interest groups that fund their campaigns, culminating in the passage of a series of new laws last year that enhance protections for criminals and violent offenders while neglecting the needs of law enforcement.
This week, in a rare display of bipartisanship, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Illinois State Police at the State Capitol in Springfield with a visit from a group of state troopers who were on hand for the passage of House Resolution 752 on March 29, recognizing the rich history and contributions of the State Police on their centennial celebration. Democrat and Republican leaders jointly sponsored the resolution and took time to personally thank the visiting state troopers. Unfortunately, Governor Pritzker and his allies in the state legislature have failed to back up their platitudes with support for police when our men and women in law enforcement needed it the most.
Illinois voters will render the final verdict on the anti-police agenda of JB Pritzker and Illinois Democrats at the ballot box this November. In the midst of their ramming through a radical criminal justice reform package in January 2021, I introduced House Resolution 963 to honor law enforcement and everything they do for Illinois families. All 44 Republican members of the Illinois House of Representatives co-sponsored my resolution. Sadly, not one Democrat joined us.
One important issue we have found bipartisan agreement on has come through strengthening Illinois Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s Law. In 2019, we formed the Move Over Task Force in the wake of the tragic roadside deaths of Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story in Stephenson County and Trooper Christopher Lambert in suburban Cook County. That same year, in 2019, the Illinois State Police (ISP) reported 72 squad car crashes, with 27 of those crashes related to Move Over violations. The ISP issued 6,570 citations and 3,627 warnings statewide for Move Over violations. Clearly, we had to step up to improve public education on the issue and strengthen enforcement.
We passed new laws that took effect in 2020 to increase the penalty for Scott’s Law violations and enhance public awareness of the law, which requires drivers to change lanes when approaching stationary emergency vehicles, including all highway maintenance vehicles displaying flashing lights, and any stationary vehicle with their hazard lights activated. The law also states, if changing lanes is not possible or unsafe, drivers are required to proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of their vehicle and leave a safe distance until they have safely passed the stationary vehicle.
This week’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Illinois State Police serves as a reminder of the sacrifice made by all our state troopers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. To honor their memory, to respect the families and loved ones they left behind, and to prevent future needless tragedies on our highways, we must all be mindful of Scott’s Law to move over and slow down. A few extra seconds of your time is a small price to pay for protecting the lives of others. We cannot ever lose sight of that.