SPRINGFIELD — As crime is a key election year, the Democratic majority in Springfield hopes to implement a crackdown on shoplifting and carjacking and new gun security measures. Nothing has been debated by lawmakers yet, but the plan is to approve these measures by the end of next week.
Springfield Democrats have formed a seven-member task force to review all new anti-crime legislation. They say their goal is to see what they can pass before the spring session ends, possibly as early as next week.
“What we’ve been doing over the last four or five weeks, I think, is having an intense conversation about the right policies to put in place,” said D-Chicago Representative Kam Buckner.
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Republicans say the Democratic effort is not serious, while Republican House Leader Jim Durkin mocks Illinois Democrats.
“Nothing,” Durkin replied when asked if he was anticipating Democrats will pass new criminal law legislation.
“If Jim Durkin believes we’re here for this last stretch and we don’t want to do any work, then he can go home now,” the state representative said.
After a year of rising crime in cities across Illinois, Republicans have sharpened their attacks on the Democratic majority in Springfield, portraying them as soft on crime.
“Illinoisans deserve to live in safe communities and neighborhoods without the fear of violent criminals taking to the streets again to insult and terrorize their communities again,” said State Representative Patrick Windhurst (R-Harrisburg).
The GOP’s most recent focus area is the Prisoner Review Board, which they say is too lenient on convicted criminals. Not to mention that the board has several vacancies.
In the past three weeks, one member resigned, another failed to confirm the Senate, and Governor JB Pritzker withdrew the nomination of Max Cerda, who had served on the board for a year despite his conviction for a double murder when he was a teenager.
The governor must face this situation and stop prioritizing hardened criminals and police killers over victims and the citizens of Illinois.
On Tuesday, Pritzker defended his nominees.
“I think we have to stand up for the integrity of people who are hired and for the very difficult decisions they have to make,” Pritzker said.
There appears to be a bipartisan agreement to pass new laws regarding organized retail crime. The measures would extend the powers of prosecutors who deal with these types of crimes.