Targets Gun Trafficking and Violent Crime with Slate of Legislative Initiatives
Champaign, IL… State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) unveiled a package of legislation specifically designed to empower the law enforcement community to take on the crime wave that has enveloped our local communities.
The legislation includes criminal justice changes that would help keep violent offenders off of the streets while providing the law enforcement community with additional resources. Among other bills introduced in the package, the “Fund the Police Act” would provide a major infusion of resources to criminal justice and mental health programs, via a $100 million state appropriation.
“Downstate communities, including Champaign and Decatur, are experiencing unprecedented levels of violent crime,” said Rose. “The ‘Fund the Police Act’ will put resources where they are needed most: getting more boots on the ground to fight violent crime, funding police training, incentivizing the hiring and retention of police officers, helping to offset local governments’ police overtime costs, and helping to tackle mental health issues, which contribute to the overall problem.”
The legislation also includes multiple measures to reduce the trafficking of illegal guns, keep violent gun offenders off of the street, increase penalties for criminals who assault law enforcement officers, and help protect communities and schools.
“Legislative leaders found time to ram through multiple controversial bills this year that do nothing to keep people safe. Meanwhile people are literally dying in the streets, school buses are getting shot at, and families are afraid to go outside,” said Rose. “It’s well past time for the state to do something. These bills will help our law enforcement community to finally stem the tide of violence that has washed over our state.”
The legislative package includes the following bills:
- Creates the Fund the Police Grant Fund, appropriating $100,000,000 to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board to make grants available to local governments and universities to hire police officers, purchase equipment designed to prevent gang violence, motor vehicle theft, carjacking, or sale of contraband, and to provide training for law enforcement in preventing gang violence, motor vehicle theft, carjacking, or the sale of contraband. This will also include mental health, hiring and retention incentives, and overtime.
- Requires a defendant who commits aggravated battery to a police officer to serve at least 85% of their sentence.
- Requires a defendant, who brings a weapon or contraband into a penal institution, to serve at least 85% of their sentence.
- Ten and life for violent firearms offenses. First time conviction of the following offenses receives a mandatory 10-year sentence and a second offense receives a life sentence. Offenses include:
- Aggravated discharge of a firearm.
- Use of a stolen or illegally acquired firearm in the commission of an offense.
- Unlawful use or possession of weapons by felons.
- Armed habitual criminal.
- Aggravated vehicular hijacking or aggravated carjacking.
- Mandatory minimum penalty forgun trafficking/straw purchases. Imposes a 10-year minimum on those who sell or give a firearm to a convicted felon.
- Gun Crime Charging and Sentencing Accountability and Transparency Act. Requires State’s Attorneys to provide written justification when a weapons offense is plea bargained down to a lesser offense or non-weapons offense. Similarly, in imposing a sentence, the judge shall set forth in a written sentencing order his/her reasons for imposing the sentence or accepting the plea agreement.
- Juvenile commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice for use or discharge of a firearm in a school that results in bodily injury or death to any person.
- Restores offenses of aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery committed by juveniles with a firearm to the automatic transfer provisions of adult court.
- Prevents “catch and release” of juvenile carjackers by requiring a shelter care hearing to determine if it is safe to release the juvenile or continue holding until the adjudicatory hearing.
- Denies bail for previously convicted gun offenders or a felon charged with a gun offense.
- Adds violation of bail bond, escape, and aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude to the more serious “Category A” bond provisions.
- Allows counties to opt out of Bail Reform Act provisions if county board adopts resolution to do so.
- Requires Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) to track gun crimes by convicted felons. Amended to include real time reporting by county of gun offenses charged and outcome of the case.
- Allows a school or school district to employ qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry out the duties of a school resource officer.
- Amends the Community Mental Health Act. Provides that upon receipt of all the annual moneys collected from the tax levied under the Act, each governmental unit that levies that tax shall immediately deposit 20% of those moneys into a special fund directly controlled by the county sheriff to be used for mental health services within the county jail.
Senator Rose noted that these bills have all been filed and there is enough time in the upcoming veto session to take action.
“Senate President Harmon recently noted that he accomplished his goals for the last session. What wasn’t accomplished? Making the people of Illinois safer. I am demanding a full vote of the Senate on each of the bills in the veto session. The people of Illinois deserve an ‘up’ and ‘down’ vote – it is their lives – the very citizens that politicians in Springfield claim to care about, and the lives of the men and women in Blue, who the Democrats are putting on the line by refusing to get tough on crime. In two weeks, they will have a chance to show us, whose side they are on—public safety or the criminals. President Harmon didn’t deem this important enough to make his list before, will he in the veto session? Time for a vote!” Rose concluded.