SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) reiterated his calls to repeal a law that he says reduces public safety and makes the job of police harder to do. Windhorst is the chief sponsor of legislation that would repeal a sweeping law signed last year that makes multiple reforms to the criminal justice system.
“In 2021, Illinois Democrats passed the SAFE-T Act in the dark of night in the waning hours of the 101st General Assembly with no Republican participation and little police advocate involvement,” Windhorst said. “As earlier bail reforms and now provisions of the SAFE-T Act have taken effect, we have seen the job of law enforcement officers become more dangerous and harder to do. Criminals are acting more emboldened than ever before, repeat offenders are already being let out of jail with little or even no cash bail and the provisions of the SAFE-T Act have only exacerbated the problem.”
Windhorst quoted statistics reported by WTTW-TV Chicago and the Chicago Tribune. Violent crime is up 4% on the year and a 31% increase in overall property crime in 2022, following a four-year decline in such crimes dating back to 2018 and after historic reductions in violent crime from the 1990s.
“In 2022 alone, 112 people in Chicago have been murdered as of March 18th. The murder rate in Chicago is at the same point this year as it was last year,” Windhorst said. “In 2021, Chicago reached a level not seen in 25 years, as nearly 800 people were murdered. The likelihood of a new murder record being set in Chicago is almost a certainty.”
Windhorst has filed HB 4499, legislation that would repeal the SAFE-T Act’s anti-police, pro-criminal provisions, but leaving in place enhanced compensation for victims of violent crimes.
“The attitude and policies endorsed by the Democratic supermajority and signed by Governor Pritzker have led to lessened penalties for criminal offenses and a removal of immediate consequences for those who violate some laws,” Windhorst said. “Their policies have also hindered the police from doing their jobs in enforcing the law. We have to change course if we want these spikes in crime to actually subside. Republicans have introduced a package of bills designed to keep families safe and properly fund our police, but the Democratic supermajority has yet to allow a vote on any such piece of legislation.”
Windhorst says Illinois’ citizens deserve to live in safe communities and neighborhoods where they can live, work, play, and raise their families without living in fear of violent criminals that are back out on the street just a few hours after their last offense.
“Speaker Welch said legislation was necessary to address spikes in carjackings and organized retail theft. Governor Pritzker and Speaker Welch both indicated at the start of 2022 that they would prioritize adequate funding for law enforcement to ensure officers are properly trained and supported” Windhorst said. “Perhaps not surprisingly, the Democrat crime prevention package has yet to materialize.”
“I am worried we are headed for a repeat of last January when negotiations and discussions were occurring only among the members of the majority party, the same party that brought us the SAFE-T Act without the involvement of the public or members of our caucus,” Windhorst said. “We’ve filed the legislation necessary to improve public safety. Time in this Session is running out. Now is the time to pass the bills that we are sponsoring to make it happen.”
WINDHORST JOINS ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS PROGRAM TO CALL FOR REPEAL OF SAFE-T ACT
Rep Windhorst joined Illinois Lawmakers with Jak Tichenor of Southern Illinois University last week for a discussion with Senator Robert Peters of Chicago to discuss the SAFE-T Act and Rep. Windhorst’s effort to repeal the law. The segment begins at the 16:39 second mark of the video located below.