SAFE-T Act among the issues in 31st Senate District race – Chicago Tribune

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Listening to former state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, and Republican Adam Solano of Third Lake, talk about the SAFE-T Act, a voter might think the two Illinois state Senate candidates are speaking about two different pieces of legislation.

“It needs to be repealed or heavily fixed,” Solano said.

“It’s wrong to keep people in jail just because they don’t have money, but let violent people walk free because they do,” Edly-Allen said.

Solano and Edly-Allen are competing to represent portions of Lake County in the 31st Senate District of the Illinois General Assembly to replace retiring state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, in the Nov. 8 election, offering voters distinctly different ideas on a variety of issues.

The two candidates also have varying views about dealing with gun violence, helping residents deal with the current level of inflation and women’s reproductive health in the aftermath of the June Supreme Court opinion returning that authority to the states.

The SAFE-T Act, which becomes fully effective Jan. 1, makes a number of changes in the state’s criminal justice system including the elimination of cash bail, funding for police training and more.

Edly-Allen, 61, a longtime teacher who still teaches adult classes, said the SAFE-T Act creates a similar standard for detaining or freeing criminal defendants the federal court system has used since 1984. She also likes the funding it provides for equipment for police departments.

“Judges can now base their decision on facts rather than fear,” Edly-Allen said. “They can take risk into account rather than riches”

When it comes to basing all decisions on researched facts, Edly-Allen and Solano are in agreement. It is something he uses when he talks about why he dislikes the SAFE-T Act. He said when he sees law enforcement professionals overwhelmingly oppose it, it makes him think.

“I consider (public officials) a fiduciary for the people,” said Solano, 52, the owner of a financial planning business. “When you have 98% of the sheriffs and state’s attorneys in Illinois against the law, it’s important to listen to them.”

Adam Solano.
- Original Credit: News-Sun

Adam Solano.
– Original Credit: News-Sun
(Adam Solano / HANDOUT)

Freezing property taxes is one suggestion Solano has for easing the burden inflation is placing on people. He said a property tax freeze and developing ways to operate more efficiently will enable the state to spend less and then tax less. Short-term relief currently in effect does not last, he said.

“The gas tax freeze holiday did not take the long view,” Solano said. “We should not do something to last 12 to 16 months before the next election. We need to look further down the road.”

Property tax relief is also on Edly-Allen’s mind. She said taking a closer look at the use of tax increment financing districts by municipalities will help lower property taxes for individuals. Finding systemic changes to things like the cost of health care could have an impact reducing costs.

“Amazon and Wal-Mart do not need tax breaks,” Edly-Allen said referring to TIF financing. “This has a direct impact on working people. It is not affecting the top 1%. We need to deal with the systemic problems of our economy.”

Mary Edly-Allen.
- Original Credit: News-Sun

Mary Edly-Allen.
– Original Credit: News-Sun
(Mary Edly-Allen / HANDOUT)

While a woman’s ability to control her own reproductive health is well enshrined in Illinois, Edly-Allen said everyone must remain constantly vigilant. She believes the state made progress when it allowed a minor to get an abortion without parental notification.

“We’re OK for now, but we’re one election away from women losing their right to reproductive health care,” Edly-Allen said. “Victims of abuse will get counseling,” she added referring to the removal of parental notification indicating the child’s father could be the victim’s father. “Real people with real situations are thankful for this law.”

Solano said he believes there should be some limits on abortion. He does not want the procedure funded by tax dollars, and is concerned about terminating a pregnancy in the eighth or ninth month. There should be no restrictions in cases of rape or incest. He does believe in making sure a woman has all the facts.

“There is nothing wrong with informed consent,” Solano said. “The doctor can explain all the issues, and the patient can decide.”

Not willing to commit to banning assault weapons in Illinois, Solano said there are more effective ways to control gun violence than prohibition. He believes “more police will help.” Edly-Allen said she will support a ban. A former elementary school teacher, she looks forward to the day active shooter drills are no longer necessary.

“Crouching in a corner of a classroom with a kid and telling them to shush is a really difficult thing to do,” Edly-Allen said.

The district includes all or part of Antioch, Beach Park, Grayslake, Gurnee, Hainesville, Lake Villa, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, Old Mill Creek, Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Park, Third Lake, Volo, Wadsworth, Wauconda, Waukegan and Zion.

Early voting started Sept. 29 at the Lake County Building in downtown Waukegan. It expands to other locations around the county Oct. 24, according to the Lake County Clerk’s website. People who wish to vote by mail can request a ballot now from the clerk’s office.

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October 13, 2022 at 08:15PM

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