Pritzker Signs SAFE-T Act Amendments

Gov. J.B. Pritzker

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed into law revisions to the controversial criminal justice package known as the SAFE-T Act. “I’m pleased that the General Assembly has passed clarifications that uphold the principle we fought to protect,” Pritzker said in a statement about the signing. “Advocates and lawmakers came together and put in hours of work to strengthen and clarify this law, uphold our commitment to equity, and keep people safe.”

Changes approved by Illinois lawmakers on the final day of their fall veto session last week clarify court authority in:

  • Controlling electronic monitoring and escape
  • Outline specific guidelines for trespassing violations
  • Create a grant program to aid public defenders with increased caseloads

SAFE-T Act ends the cash bail system in Illinois starting Jan. 1.

Last-minute Proposal To Protect Dreamers

Members of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) have drafted a framework for an immigration policy that provides a route to citizenship for millions of young undocumented immigrants.

NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) released a statement on Wednesday along with immigration task force chairs Salud Carbajal (Calif.) and Greg Stanton (Ariz.), pushing to carve out a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers by the end of the year.

DREAMers are undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a 2012 policy that protects those persons from deportation.

The proposal would grant legal status to 2 million DACA recipients in exchange for at least $25 billion in increased funding for Border Patrol and border security.

Democrats have been betting on the lame-duck session – the period after the midterms and before the new Congress begins – to pass legislation before losing their majority in the House.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, “As the author of the original Dream Act more than 20 years ago, I applaud every good faith effort to give these deserving individuals a path to citizenship.”

Civil Rights Leader Honored

A new exhibit celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Timuel Black was introduced this week at the Bronzeville Historical Society (BHS).

Community members, educators, friends, and creatives gathered on Wednesday, December 7, what would have been his 104th birthday, to remember Black’s legacy of civic activism, oral history, and educational reform in the pursuit of social justice.

“Chicago was a hotbed. He was in the front every movement that took place in Chicago,” BHS President and CEO Sherry Williams said.

The exhibit features photos, books he authored, newspaper articles, and awards and honors that Black received during his lifetime.

Dr. Black passed away last year at age 102.

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