Capitol Report from Senator Craig Wilcox

SAFE-T Act Lawsuit Delayed After New Changes Signed into Law

After the Majority Party passed amendments to the SAFE-T Act during the last day of veto session, the hearing for the lawsuit challenging the law’s implementation was pushed back to Dec. 20, just 11 days before the law’s “no cash bail” provision is to take effect. The lawsuit was filed by more than half of the state’s attorneys and sheriffs throughout the state.  A ruling is now expected by Dec. 28.

Meanwhile, during the week, Governor JB Pritzker announced that he had signed the recently passed House Bill 1095, which contained the changes to the SAFE-T Act. The changes include some expansion on the types of offenses that are eligible for pre-trial detention and broadening the definition of “willful flight” to make it less burdensome on prosecutors to prove that someone is a flight risk. 

Despite these changes, I believe they fall way too short and don’t make the state any safer than it was before their passage. Not only is the legality of the SAFE-T Act still in question, but it does not provide the necessary judicial discretion in criminal cases.

Woodstock Featured on the Today Show for having a Merriest Main Street

On Friday, hundreds of Woodstock residents gathered in the historic Woodstock Square for filming of a TV segment that aired on ABC’s Today Show. Woodstock was chosen as having one of America’s Merriest Main Streets for embracing the holidays and getting into the spirit of the season. A film crew for the Today Show was on hand to capture our community spirit, and a great time was had by all. Click here to watch the Today Show segment.

We are so fortunate to have gems like the Woodstock Square in the 32nd District, and the kindness and community spirit of those who live here is inspiring. Thanks to everyone who came out on a snowy morning to help showcase Woodstock!

REAL ID Deadline Extended Again

The Illinois Secretary of State office announced last week that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given Illinois residents an additional two years to obtain the federal REAL ID. The original deadline to acquire a REAL ID was set for May 3, 2023. This new extension means that Illinoisans with a current standard Illinois driver’s license or ID card can domestically travel in the U.S. until the new May 7, 2025, deadline.

Illinois residents who have not yet obtained a REAL ID are encouraged to view the Illinois Secretary of State office’s online interactive document checklist at REALID.ilsos.gov. The checklist will help make it easier for Illinoisians to know what paperwork they need to bring with them to their local Driver Services facility. All first-time applicants must make an in-person appointment.

A REAL ID is not required for everyone and is only necessary to fly within the country. Individuals with a valid U.S. passport also meet the requirements for domestic air travel.

Toys for Tots Campaign a Success

I want to thank everyone who donated a new and unwrapped toy to this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. Every year the U.S. Marine Corps collects toys that are distributed to children of all ages throughout Illinois and the nation.

As is typical for this community, people donated generously, and we were able to fill the toy collection bin at my legislative office. I’m shown here with McHenry County Marine Corps League Detachment 1009 member and retired Marine Medic Phil Sweeney, who picked up our donations of nerf guns, dolls, puzzles, Legos and other gifts on Friday.

Draft National Broadband Map Officially Released

On Nov. 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially released a draft national broadband map. The map is a detailed display of locational information about broadband service availability across the United States.

I am encouraging Illinois residents to check the draft map for accuracy by Jan. 13 as the map will be used to direct funding and efforts to improve broadband access to areas that either lack broadband or don’t have sufficient bandwidth.

Illinoisians can check their broadband coverage and performance through the FCC’s website or free app, downloadable through either the Apple App or Google Play stores.

If a consumer finds any inaccurate information, they are encouraged to challenge the data through a link on the interactive map. Additional information, a video tutorial on how to make a challenge, and the links to the apps can be found at fcc.gov/BroadbandData/consumers.

New Anti-Gun Legislation Filed in the House

Within a few hours of the adjournment of the fall veto session, Illinois House Democrats filed a gun control bill that would, among other things, outlaw the manufacturing, possession, delivery, sale, and purchase of so-called “assault” weapons.

The bill would, effective immediately upon its signing, enact a series of regulations on the gun industry in addition to the ban on “assault” weapons. Those regulations include banning ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, requiring registration of any already owned assault weapons with the State Police for a $25 fee, banning many semi-automatic shotguns, raising the age of eligibility for Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cards for residents not in the Armed Forces or National Guard to 21 with no parental permission exception, banning those younger than the age of 21 from hunting unless under the supervision of an adult with a FOID card, and increasing the length of firearm restraining orders from six months to one year.

As a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, I have previously opposed attempts to infringe upon these Constitutional rights and intend to oppose this legislation if it passes in the House and comes over to the Senate. In addition to being unconstitutional, I believe the new proposed restrictions will be more likely to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens than to prevent actual criminals from committing gun-related crimes.

Craig Wilcox

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