(The Center Square) – Follow-up legislation poised for the governor’s desk addresses the law enforcement community’s concerns about a sweeping overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system and police regulations. But the last-minute bill caught some in the Legislative Black Caucus off guard.
When the sweeping criminal justice and police regulation bill was enacted earlier this year, even the governor said there would need to be clean-up legislation.
“Whenever you do anything big like this, and you’ve seen this before too, there’s always a fix here or there and I think that will happen over the spring session,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in February.
That trailer bill came in the final hours of statehouse action this week.
State Rep. Curtin Tarver, D-Chicago, criticized the last-minute bill, saying the sponsor, state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, knew for months a cleanup measure was coming and didn’t present it until the final hours Monday, among other balls dropped.
“We missed the deadline on the Qualified Immunity Task Force Report,” Slaughter said during late-night floor debate in the House Monday.
“Have you all set the task force up yet,” Tarver asked.
“No,” Slaughter said.
The Speaker stopped the two from talking over each other.
“You haven’t set up a task force, you haven’t met, you haven’t done anything on that, but somehow miraculously you have come together to put this together,” Tarver said.
Tarver said the measure waters down their reforms, and the last-minute passage was disrespectful.
“The fact that the QI task force was not stood up at all, you all have done absolutely nothing about that while people continue to be shot in the back and die, this is a piss poor bill,” Tarver said. “I urge a ‘no’ vote.”
Slaughter removed the measure from the record but brought it back up later in the night.
Tarver’s was the only ‘no’ vote among Democrats. Two Democrats were listed as not voting. Minority Republicans were mixed for the measure that ultimately passed 79 to 36.
Illinois Association of Police Chiefs President, Hazel Crest Chief Mitchell Davis, told WMAY the measure was necessary cleanup.
“We’ve been a part of that work and negotiations in presenting cleanup language and suggested changes to the original law to make it more palatable for the law enforcement community,” Davis said.
He said law enforcement will continue their outreach.
“Nothing is gonna please everyone,” Mitchell said. “Let’s sit down and let’s talk and discuss some of our concerns … We want to be able to partner with them as much as we possibly can to address the concerns that deal with communities of color and law enforcement to try to build those relationships.”
Shortly after House Bill 3443 passed the House, a procedural hold was placed on the bill, keeping it from advancing. That hold was lifted Wednesday.