Initial thoughts on legislative session

By Ed Wojcicki

April 12, 2022

The spring session of the Illinois General Assembly ended about 6 a.m. Saturday morning, April 9, when the House adjourned a few hours after the Senate left town.

Your ILACP leaders will provide a thorough update soon, after we comb through the budget bills and compile a good list of what passed and what did not pass in the final hectic dates.

My initial thoughts: Some money for new police/crime/violence initiatives are in the ILETSB and ICJIA budgets. One item is $10 million in new money for a pilot retention program for law enforcement, to be administered by the Training Board. We are seeking clarification about how this money might be allocated.

Another $10 million is for less-lethal weapons, to be awarded through ICJIA, but again, we don’t know what the process for these grants will be.

There is also $10 million in the Department of Human Services budget (p 467) for mental health screenings for LE. We will continue to review the budget to find out where other money might be.

Entering April, we did not think there would be a Trailer Bill 3 to the SAFE-T Act, although we wanted one. One did emerge in the final hour on the last day and generated some heated discussion in the House. This bill, SB 2364 HA1, included only a small number of issues; it passed in the House but not the Senate, as the Senate had already adjourned. This was not the trailer bill we requested anyway.

My bottom line, the good news: This session ended without much bad happening to law enforcement. We knew the pendulum eventually would swing back from an anti-police sentiment to one more favorable. That pendulum is now moving in our direction. Example: Some of the issues in our $759 funding request for law enforcement did make it into the budget.

More good news: All four bills that we opposed in our Top Five Priorities failed to advance. The other Top 5 priority was our support to ban ghost guns, and that passed both houses.

My bottom line, the bad news: We were not able to get our nine major initiatives to move very far.  We decided to be proactive this year with these initiatives, and we will continue to push these items this summer and during the fall veto session.

This is only our first report on the legislative session. We will have more in the coming days and weeks. 

Here is the Illinois Municipal League’s most recent analysis of the spring session. It includes a link to a detailed review of legislation.