22 Feb Governor Pritzker Signs Historic Reform Bill Into Law
Thank you, Governor JB Pritzker and members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. This afternoon, Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 3653, Senate Amendment 2 into law.
This extensive, multi-faceted legislation will address some of the most devastating, racially unjust practices that plague Illinois communities. It will end wealth-based pretrial incarceration, improve Illinois’s sentencing laws, ensure police officers wear body cameras, require the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide information about deaths in custody, and end prison gerrymandering, among other much-needed changes. Here’s a summary of the omnibus legislation.
Restore Justice is particularly grateful legislators included felony-murder reform in this bill. Read our testimony about the felony-murder law. Until this newly passed proposal takes effect, Illinois has one of the broadest felony murder-statutes in the country. This law incarcerates children and young adults for murders they didn’t commit. It doesn’t make us safer, but it does rob these young people of their futures and their families and communities of their voices. The majority of states either don’t have felony-murder statutes or only hold people accountable for deaths they or their co-defendants cause. HB 3653, SA 2 will move Illinois into that category.
It’s long past time to make Illinois’s laws fairer and to acknowledge the role racism plays at every stage of the criminal legal system. Passing this omnibus bill and fixing the felony-murder statute are important steps in advancing justice in our state.
Lawmakers held hours and hours of hearings about this bill and have been discussing the provisions for years. Committee leaders invited all stakeholders to the table for these conversations. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus crafted the bill and included proposals that have been debated and made progress in previous sessions. Thank you to the entire Legislative Black Caucus, especially Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee Chairman Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), and Representative Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago). Thank you for leading the way to make Illinois a better state.