Three aldermen (from left)--Raymond Lopez, Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano—stand alone in City Council last week, as their resolution to hold a hearing on the SAFE-T Act failed to muster any votes other than their own. --Supplied photo

Three aldermen (from left)--Raymond Lopez, Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano—stand alone in City Council last week, as their resolution to hold a hearing on the SAFE-T Act failed to muster any votes other than their own. --Supplied photo

Lopez, Tabares threaten ‘no cash bail’ hearing

Claim law may release ‘violent, repeat offenders’

By Tim Hadac

Two Southwest Side aldermen are threatening to defy their City Council colleagues and hold hearings on the impact of the state’s controversial SAFE-T Act on criminal justice.

Fifteenth Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez and 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares joined 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano last week to introduce a resolution calling for a City Council Committee on Public Safety hearing on the impact of the elimination of cash bail for criminal suspects.

Among other things, the resolution states that the new law “may release violent, repeat offenders” onto the streets.

The resolution went nowhere, which left Tabares bitter.

“Unfortunately, socialist aldermen pushed to silence debate; but worse, moderate aldermen remained silent on the issue,” she said. “If you think public safety is at least worth a discussion in this city, please call your alderman and ask them to support hearings on the city’s plan for the SAFE-T Act.”

GSWNH LopezTabaresNapolitano 093022

Three aldermen (from left)–Raymond Lopez, Silvana Tabares and Anthony Napolitano—stand alone in City Council last week, as their resolution to hold a hearing on the SAFE-T Act failed to muster any votes other than their own. –Supplied photo

Lopez said he wants “answers regarding the SAFE-T Act. If City Council won’t hold hearings, we will hold them ourselves, inviting its sponsors to explain its potential impact on Chicago.”

Whether the aldermen make good on their vow or whether their words are not much more than political grandstanding—as one alderman said in confidence to the Greater Southwest News-Herald—remains to be seen.

Background

The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, known as the SAFE-T Act, passed with the backing of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in the early hours of Jan. 13, 2021.

The broad-ranging measure abolishes cash bail beginning in January 2023, reforms police training, certification and use-of-force standards, expands detainee rights, and requires body cameras at all departments by 2025.

Since its passage, the measure has been amended twice to accommodate concerns of law enforcement groups, pushing back certain effective dates and changing some of the initial use-of-force language.

Proponents say the reform is a step toward making the justice system equitable for black, Latino and other minority communities.

One of the more controversial provisions of the bill abolishes cash bail in Illinois and replaces it with a system that will prioritize the severity of an offense, the risk of not appearing for court and the threat and danger the individual poses to another person or the community if they were to be released.

The provision does not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2023, but opponents claim it will allow “dangerous and violent criminals” back on the street, tying the hands of prosecutors who seek to keep the accused individuals incarcerated before a conviction.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara, a Southwest Sider, has dubbed it the Anything But Safety Act. He has said the legislation “been a nightmare from the start, and all it has done is give the criminals the keys to the kingdom.”

In an election season, Republicans have used the SAFE-T Act to portray Democrats as soft on crime.

But some Democrats, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, have pushed back.

“The recent negative rhetoric that has been circulating about the SAFE-T Act is designed to incite fear for political gain,” she said recently. “Those who attempt to vilify this legislation are proponents of a system and a status quo that has contributed to the racial injustices of mass incarceration and over policing of black and brown communities which has diminished safety, resiliency and trust for many residents. As history has shown us, these practices were unjust, did not contribute to public safety and were not solutions to crime.”

Long an opponent of cash bail, Preckwinkle said the SAFE-T Act “represents an important step towards protecting our communities, guaranteeing justice in our legal system, and addressing decades of harm to our black and brown communities. We must work to ensure the system lives up to its commitment to protect and serve all residents regardless of income or race. Thoughtful criminal justice reform that is responsive to data, research and the needs of our communities is vital to maintaining a justice system that is fair and serves the needs of the people. The SAFE-T Act and the Pretrial Fairness Act were thoughtfully drafted to prioritize safety for victims, defendants and communities.”

Capitol News Illinois contributed to this report.

Local News

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Basketball: Marist, Brother Rice stay unbeaten through two weeks

By Steve Millar Correspondent Marist came into the season with some question marks after losing a pair of key players to transfers and elevating several newcomers, including three freshmen, to the varsity roster. The young RedHawks are, however, off to a blazing 6-0 start. They held on for a 57-55 win on the road Nov.…

Jaeden King of St. Xavier gets ready to score one of his 39 points against Trinity Christian College on Nov. 30. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Transfers shining for Saint Xavier in early going

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The transfer portal is turning college athletics upside down, and Saint Xavier men’s basketball coach Robert Ford is enjoying it. And taking advantage of it. Jaeden King came to SXU in 2021 after transferring from NCAA Division II Tiffin University. Prior to that he played at Western Illinois. He is…

SXU sophomore Kaleigh Ritter, shown in a match earlier this year, had 63 assists in a five-set loss to Cornerstone in the NAIA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: College of DuPage repeats as national football champ

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The College of DuPage, the only junior college in Illinois with a football program, won its second straight National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with a 14-12 victory over North Dakota State College of Science in Glen Ellyn. Former Richards’ standout Marquel Porter caught a 25-yard pass for the…

Mary Stanek

Hang out your socks for St. Nick

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Hang out those socks on the night of Monday, Dec. 5. St. Nicholas day is here on Tuesday, Dec. 6. St. Nick was known for selling all of his possessions and giving to the poor. He may…

Kathy Headley

Thanksgiving was fun, and delicious

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Hope your Thanksgiving was as fun and happy as ours. As always, the aroma and taste of home cooking and holiday desserts were a big part of the day. I feel comfortable telling you where we picked up…

CRRNH_SweetSaluteRhineVFW_112322

A sweet salute to veterans

Rhine VFW Post 2729 members William Haas and Jerry Dipasquale survey some of the bags of candy, pastries and other treats given to the post earlier this month by the students of Sahs School in Central Stickney. The Sahs boys and girls also wrote personal letters and made patriotic posters expressing their thanks and appreciation…

Runners get off to a fast start at the Orland Park Turkey Trot, where a record 1,000 runners signed up. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park man wins Turkey Trot; St. Laurence runner takes women’s title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The number 19 meant good things on Thanksgiving morning. The top two finishers in the 34th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot had “19” as part of the number on their bibs. Brandon Lukas, 25, of Orland Park, wore No. 7519 and took first place with a time of…

The varsity Orland Park Pioneers team had a huge 2022 season. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Orland Park Pioneers honored; local hoops teams win Thanksgiving tourney titles

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Two youth football teams teams were honored by the Orland Park Village Board for winning Super Bowl championships in their respective divisions. The Orland Park Pioneers’ varsity and super lightweight players received awards and recognition Nov. 21 from the board and Mayor Keith Pekau, who has the distinction of playing…

cook county helicopter

Cook County Board approve Aguilar’s proposal for a sheriff’s helicopter

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted overwhelmingly last week to approve Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar’s proposal to lease a helicopter to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. While Cook County is among the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, its helicopter fleet lags far behind other large urban areas. The Los Angeles metropolitan area has…

Nazareth players celebrate winning the fourth football championship in the school's history on Nov. 26 in Champaign. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Football Class 5A State Championship: Roadrunners win shootout for fourth state title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Nazareth opened the season in August with a 2-0 win over Kankakee. It closed the season the afternoon of Nov. 26 with a 45-44 win over Peoria at Memorial Stadium in Champaign to take the IHSA Class 5A state championship. In between was a rollercoaster of wins and losses and…

Neighbors

Nael Digital Ad2
State elections board certifies 2022 results

State elections board certifies 2022 results

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Elections certified its election results Monday, putting the final stamp on another Democratic sweep of statewide offices. The board reported that 4,142,642 out of 8,115,751 registered voters cast ballots in the election, a turnout of roughly 51 percent. That’s down from…

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers last week passed significant legislation dealing with electric vehicle manufacturing incentives and the availability of hygiene products for prisoners in the state’s correctional system. But some weightier issues, including a possible assault weapons ban, will wait until a lame duck session scheduled for early…

CAPITOL RECAP: SAFE-T Act changes head to Pritzker; unemployment debt deal advances

CAPITOL RECAP: SAFE-T Act changes head to Pritzker; unemployment debt deal advances

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Thursday passed a long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform’s provisions that will eliminate cash bail when the calendar hits 2023. The measure expands the list of crimes for which a judge can order pretrial detention, adds to what a judge can consider when determining…

Lawmakers advance $1.8 billion unemployment fund bailout

Lawmakers advance $1.8 billion unemployment fund bailout

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – On the final day of their fall veto session, Illinois lawmakers on Thursday advanced a pair of bills that would infuse $1.8 billion into the state’s unemployment trust fund, which was depleted during the economic shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan agreement came…

Pretrial detention changes to SAFE-T Act will head to governor

Pretrial detention changes to SAFE-T Act will head to governor

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Thursday passed a long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform’s provisions that will eliminate cash bail when the calendar hits 2023. The measure expands the list of crimes for which a judge can order pretrial detention, adds to what a judge can…

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] An appellate court on Wednesday reversed several contempt of court citations that were filed in recent months against Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith for failing to comply with court orders to place state wards in appropriate settings. The court found that Smith did not…

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House gave final passage Wednesday to a bill aimed at prohibiting state investment in assets tied to Russia and Belarus in retaliation for their participation in the war in Ukraine. House Bill 1293, by Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, urges the state’s five retirement systems…

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Two days before lawmakers were scheduled to adjourn for the year, one of the lead negotiators of the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform filed a long-awaited amendment detailing several changes to the landmark cash bail overhaul. Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, filed a 308-page amendment to House…

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces deal to pay down remaining unemployment debt

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces deal to pay down remaining unemployment debt

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bipartisan plan to use state revenues to pay down the remaining $1.4 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment trust fund is generally funded by the state’s businesses through insurance premiums collected via…

Lawmakers announce bipartisan plan to pay down remaining unemployment debt

Lawmakers announce bipartisan plan to pay down remaining unemployment debt

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bipartisan plan to use state revenues to pay down the remaining $1.4 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the agreement is expected to move through the General Assembly this…

SWNH Ameri Corp House Ad
DVN Very Gentle Dental Care House Ad