Controversial justice reform bill passes legislature in overnight lame duck session

JEFFERSON COUNTY — A controversial criminal justice reform bill has passed both chambers of the Illinois legislature. House Bill 3653, formerly the over 600 page House Bill 163, was delivered to lawmakers around 3 a.m. Wednesday and comprised of over 764 pages.

The new bill, among many other things, would eliminate cash bail, require body cameras for all departments, reforms qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, and changes police misconduct record keeping.

Many law enforcement groups and Republican leaders have voiced strong opposition to the bill.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard is also a member of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee. He says there was a coalition comprised of police management groups and police union groups who had been working in good faith with the Attorney General on a bipartisan bill that would make great strides to modernize law enforcement before this new bill was brought on and eventually passed.

The bill passed 32-23 in the Senate and 60-50 in the House just before 5 a.m. and now heads to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk for approval.