(The Center Square) – Illinois Senate Democrats continue to offer up new measures they say will combat crime. Their latest proposals target carjackings, and more are to come.

With just days left in the spring session, Democrats have been revealing various measures to address crime. Friday, they proposed spending up to $5 billion on social programs they said will get to the root of crime. On Monday, a package of measures funding various aspects of law enforcement was revealed.

Tuesday, state Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, said these are election-year gimmicks from the majority party.

“Some folks on the Democrat side finally recognize that what they’re doing is causing problems in our communities and it’s driving crime up and citizens aren’t happy about it, it’s an election year,” Plummer told The Center Square.

He said Republicans have for months been proposing measures to give police more funding and various tools to combat crime without any attention given by majority Democrats.

Later in the day, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Chicago, shared her experience getting carjacked in December, when she said a gun was put to her face before she and her husband could escape.

“I was terrified and I believe that I stopped breathing,” Lightford said. “I just thought with every step that I’d be hit with a bullet in my back.”

She joined several Democratic colleagues proposing a package of bills including a Senate amendment to House Bill 3699 allowing Metropolitan Enforcement Groups to coordinate on carjacking investigations.

Suspects in Lightford’s case have yet to be caught.

While Republicans are critical of the looming bail reform law they say will mean criminals will be let go even if they’re arrested, state Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, said carjackers must be locked up.

“If someone committed an armed vehicular hijacking, they should be held until trial,” Peters said.

Another measure Democrats proposed Tuesday in a Senate amendment to House Bill 3772 would protect victims of carjackings from having to be responsible for speed camera violations after their vehicle has been hijacked.

State Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Frankfort, said more proposals are coming.

“We need to work with car manufacturers so law enforcement officers can ping cars as they’re going down the road so we can see where they are and assist them,” Hastings said. “And then also establish a 24/7 hotline so that law enforcement officials can call these manufacturers and say ‘where is this car so we can solve this crime.’”

The Legislature adjourns Friday.

Associate Editor

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.