While some are claiming Senate Republicans’ opposition to the SAFE-T Act is an election-season gimmick, Senator Craig Wilcox has been sounding the alarm about the dangers of the so-called SAFE-T Act for almost two years now.
On January 8, 2021, five days before the SAFE-T Act was brought forward for a vote, Sen. Wilcox warned that, “A potentially dangerous proposal will be considered by the lame duck legislature over the next few days, as the General Assembly wraps up the 101st. legislative session. This measure potentially leaves our communities open to criminal acts and violence.” (https://senatorwilcox.com/2021/01/08/reform-legislation-could-imperil-people-and-communities/)
Two days later, onJanuary 10, 2021, Sen. Wilcox offered a petition to try and halt the passage of the SAFE-T Act (https://senatorwilcox.com/2021/01/10/sign-the-petition-oppose-the-defund-the-police-bill/), and then on January 13, 2021, the Senator issued an official press statement after the SAFE-T Act vote in the Senate: “First of all, the measure contains policies that leave neighborhoods and communities more at risk from violent offenders while at the same time defunding police if communities fail to comply with every new and unfunded mandate. Secondly, the way the majority party chose to ram through the proposal with little time for review or debate was an abuse of the legislative process that dragged on throughout all hours of the night. We literally had one hour to review this massive bill. That’s not open, transparent, and responsible government. It’s not possible that every member of the Senate was aware of all the details, nor could they fully understand the impact this legislation will have on the safety of the people they represent. For these reasons, I voted no.” (https://senatorwilcox.com/2021/01/13/sen-wilcox-opposes-radical-criminal-justice-bill/)
Shortly after the SAFE-T Act’s passage by Democrats in the Senate and House, Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law. Some provisions took effect immediately, while others, including the elimination of cash bail, take effect on January 1, 2023.
Senator Wilcox renewed his opposition to the SAFE-T ACT 8 ½ months ago during the early days of the 2022 legislative session by joining his Senate Republican colleagues on February 2, 2022 as they unveiled a public safety reform package that included, among other things, a repeal of the no cash bail portion of the SAFE-T Act. He attended two different press conferences in support of law enforcement and the repeal of portions of the SAFE-T Act. (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/02/02/senate-republicans-unveil-legislative-package-to-support-law-enforcement-hold-violent-criminals-accountable/)
Then, on April 20, 2022, Senator Wilcox wrote in an End of Session update about his disappointment that the Legislature did not make any attempt during the spring session to fix or repeal the SAFE-T Act. (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/04/20/end-of-session-capitol-report-part-ii/)
On September 13, 2022, Sen. Wilcox launched a second petition to try and halt implementation of the SAFE-T Act, and said, “I hear almost daily from constituents who are worried about criminal offenses that will become “non-detainable” as of January 1, 2023. According to state’s attorneys across the state, those offenses include horrible crimes like second-degree murder, arson, aggravated battery, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, intimidation, aggravated DUI, aggravating fleeing & eluding, drug offenses, threatening a public official, and drug-induced homicide could no longer meet the standard for pre-trial detention.” (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/09/13/capitol-report-from-senator-craig-wilcox-43/). To date, nearly 800 individuals have signed his latest petition.
On September 19, 2022, the Senator wrote in an E-Newsletter about his ongoing support of Senate Bill 4158, which would repeal the no cash bail provision in the SAFE-T Act (the bill was blocked by Democrats), (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/09/19/capitol-report-from-senator-craig-wilcox-44/), and in a September 26, 2022, E-Newsletter, Senator Wilcox wrote about state’s attorneys that were filing lawsuits challenging the SAFE-T Act. (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/09/26/capitol-report-from-senator-craig-wilcox-45/)
Earlier this month, on October 11, 2023 (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/10/11/capitol-report-from-senator-craig-wilcox-47/) and again on October 12, 2022 (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/10/12/senators-mcconchie-wilcox-to-host-safe-t-act-town-hall%ef%bf%bc/) , the Senator wrote about the growing number of lawsuits being filed by Illinois state’s attorneys, and announced a Town Hall Meeting specifically about the SAFE-T Act. He invited residents to join local experts for a detailed discussion of the bill on October 20 in Crystal Lake. https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/09/19/capitol-report-from-senator-craig-wilcox-44/
On October 17, 2022, Sen. Wilcox promoted a new SAFE-T Act information website that people could visit to get facts about the controversial bill (https://senatorwilcox.com/2022/10/17/capitol-report-from-senator-craig-wilcox-48/).