YORKVILLE — Illinois’ new public safety law that goes into effect next year will make things harder for police and may provoke 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 guest speaker at the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on May 10 at the Kennedy Pointe Restaurant & Pub.
The far-reaching legislation will institute a cashless bond system taking effect on January 1, 2023.
Welter said the provisions of the law will allow some offenders to get away with a ticket.
The lawmaker pointed to the spate of carjackings on Chicagoland’s freeway system and across the city, as well as armed robberies targeting retail stores.
“I’m concerned about where we’re going in Illinois,” Welter said.
The new public safety law will require those charged with a Class 4 felony or misdemeanor to be brought before a judge within 24 hours, instead of the current 48 hours.
At a recent forum in Montgomery, Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain expressed concern about being forced to interview witnesses and perform other work leading to an appearance before a judge in a short time.
They are also concerned about the effect the expedited process will have on victims of domestic violence.
Welter, who voted against the legislation, said he believes when the Public Safety Act goes into effect, public backlash will force the Illinois General Assembly to rethink its provisions.
However, while there are a few changes in the works for Springfield’s fall veto session, none of them deal with cashless bail or the shorter time to bring someone charged with a crime. before a judge, Welter said.
Welter acknowledged that the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce group, made up of local business owners, professionals and municipal leaders, was going to be concerned about the bread-and-butter issues affecting the economy.
The state representative noted that the General Assembly had approved temporary tax relief measures, including a 6-month suspension of state taxes on gasoline and groceries, as well as a refund single property tax and an extension of the earned income tax credit.
While voting yes on the tax measures, Welter said the temporary cuts don’t go far enough.
He also accused Governor JB Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers of approving an unsustainable budget backed by federal COVID-19 relief funds.
“These federal (American Recovery Plan Act) funds are one-time revenues that we will no longer get,” Welter said.
Welter highlighted his support for nuclear power and pointed to legislation he supported that would keep the Dresden, LaSalle and Braidwood plants in operation.
“I support green technology,” Welter said, while asserting that wind and solar generation do not provide the base load created by nuclear generation.
At that time, Welter introduced State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, who played a key role in negotiating Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act and is credited with safeguarding jobs in nuclear power plants.
Like Welter, Rezin expressed concerns about the pending public safety law.
Welter represents the 75th House District, which includes parts of Kendall, Will, Grundy and LaSalle counties. He takes on Jed Davis of Newark in the June 28 Republican primary election. Welter kept his criticism for the Democrats and never mentioned the primary or his opponent.