DuPage County Board narrowly rejects resolution supporting changes to the SAFE-T Act

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DuPage County Board members this week took a pass on a resolution backing proposed changes to the SAFE-T Act.

The criminal justice reform bill, known as the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, was signed into law in 2021. It includes a provision that eliminates the state’s cash bail system.

The law has come under fire, and multiple county state’s attorneys have filed lawsuits challenging it. DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin has not filed suit but has expressed concerns and is working with others advocating for changes.

A resolution presented to DuPage County Board members Tuesday supported those efforts and laid out a list of concerns regarding the original law. However, board members voted 9-8, largely along party lines, against the resolution. Members of the Democratic-controlled board did not dispute that there were areas of the SAFE-T Act that needed fine-tuning, but said the board should wait to see what state lawmakers do in the upcoming veto session first.

“We recognize the SAFE-T Act needs amendments,” county board member Dawn DeSart said. The Aurora Democrat added that lawmakers in Springfield have acknowledged the bill needs some fine-tuning as well. Rather than pass a resolution, DeSart said the county board should “let Springfield do its job” and see what lawmakers come up with in the veto session before the county board takes any action.

Berlin, who did not request the resolution be brought for a vote, told board members negotiations to amend the law are ongoing, and he is one of three state’s attorneys involved with the discussions. The group has been meeting twice a week in the hopes of getting measures passed before the law takes effect on Jan. 1. Berlin declined to comment on the board’s vote regarding the resolution.

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October 28, 2022 at 07:07AM

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