FILE - Scott Bennett

Illinois state Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign. 

(The Center Square) – An Illinois lawmaker is proposing changes to the SAFE-T Act, which ends cash bail on Jan. 1. The trailer bill that could come up after the November election has led some to speak out against it.

Senate Bill 4228 was introduced by state Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, and aims to clarify language and improve how officials can enforce the new law, which will allow most people charged with a crime to be released from jail as they await trial, even violent offenders.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who signed the measure into law and has defended the cashless bail provision against critics, recently suggested the SAFE-T Act could undergo some changes. But some SAFE-T Act supporters already oppose Bennet's trailer bill. 

On Tuesday, the Illinois Network for Pre-Trial Justice said it opposed the trailer bill.

"If passed, this bill would cause the number of people jailed while awaiting trial to skyrocket and exacerbate racial disparities in Illinois' jails," the netowrk said in a statement. "The Pretrial Fairness Act was designed to ensure that everyone has access to the presumption of innocence, and the changes included in SB4228 would deny all Illinoisans that right. These measures would create a pretrial system far worse than today."

State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia and the GOP candidate for governor, expects the SAFE-T Act as is will make things worse for Illinois.

"Governor Pritzker has created the crime that goes on in Chicago and on our streets," Bailey said. "Friends, on Jan. 1, the crime that we are reading about in Chicago will open up across our state."

Bailey also suggests that a change in leadership is what the state needs.

"Why aren't they calling Pritzker into account, why are they not calling Lori Lightfoot to account, why are they not asking why Kim Foxx is not prosecuting anyone," Bailey said on his Facebook page. "This is devastating and ravaging our country and the city of Chicago."

The INPJ also released a "fact sheet" claiming Bennett's proposed changes would create a presumption of detention for people charged with crimes that would require them to serve life in prison if convicted and removes the ability of defense attorneys to challenge unlawfully obtained evidence at the detention hearing stage meaningfully.

Staff Reporter

Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.