Amidst voter concerns about the rise of criminal activity in Illinois, a handful of Democrats have filed bills and floor amendments (SFA/HFA) intended to address this burgeonng issue.
HB 4736 (SFA 1) - Crime Reduction Task Force, Tip Hotline Grant Programs and Witness Protection Program
SFA 1 to HB 4736 (Rep. Davis/Sen. Peters) would create the Crime Reduction Task Force. The Task Force is charged with reviewing available research and best practices and taking expert and witness testimony. The Task Force is required to produce and submit a report detailing the Task Force's findings, recommendations, and needed resources to the General Assembly and the Governor on or before March 1, 2023.
The amendment also requires the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, subject to appropriation, to establish a grant program for organizations and units of local government for the purposes of providing a tip hotline or other system for crime victims and witnesses that: (1) allows the callers or participants to remain anonymous; and (2) provides cash rewards for tips that lead to arrest.
Furthermore, the amendment makes changes to witness protection programs. Requires, by January 1, 2023, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, to establish a program to assist victims and witnesses who are actively aiding in the prosecution of perpetrators of violent crime, and appropriate related persons or victims and witnesses determined by the Authority to be at risk of a discernible threat of violent crime. SFA 1 is assigned to the Criminal Law Committee.
SB 4203 - Funding for Witness Protection Program
SB 4203 (Sen. Peters) would appropriate $20 million for the Witness Protection Program and $1 million for the anonymous tip program. SB 4203 is assigned to the Senate Assignments Committee.
HB 1360 (HFA 1) - Co-Responder Unit Pilot Program
HFA 1 to HB 1360 (Rep. Gordon-Booth) would create the Co-Responder Unit Pilot Program at police departments in East St. Louis, Peoria, Springfield and Waukegan. These co-responder units would employ social workers and focus on serving communities by focusing on mental and behavioral health, substance use disorder services and homelessness issues. In particular, the proposed units would work to connect violence survivors with needed services, including trauma-informed crisis intervention and counseling. HB 1360 is currently in the House Rules Committee.
SB 4202 - Funding Increases for Children and Family Programs
SB 4202 (Sen. Villanueva) would increasing funding for various programs for Illinois children and families including funding for early childhood education($598 million), the Parents Too Soon program ($7.7 million), Healthy Families Illinois program ($10.8 million), Teen REACH After-School Program ($19.6 million), the Child Care Assistance Program ($3 billion), Redeploy Illinois ($14.3 million), after school programing ($45 million), and MAP grants for college ($529 million). SB 4202 is in the Senate Assignments Committee.
Retail Theft Amendment Filed
Senator Glowiak-Hilton filed Senate Floor Amendment 1 to HB 1091 with the intention of addressing the recent uptick in organized retail crime. The amendment aims to deter smash-and-grab thefts and supply chain thefts.
SFA 1 would create the offense of Organized Retail Crime and reduces the ability to avoid prosecution by giving jurisdiction to any state’s attorney where any element of organized retail crime takes place and giving the Attorney General the use of a statewide grand jury to prosecute organized retail crimes. The Illinois Attorney General is granted the flexibility to also pursue RICO charges against both Illinois and multi-state criminals. The amendment also provides dedicated enforcement resources, addresses online fencing, and enhances public and private coordination through a formal collaboration designed to provide real-time information and intelligence sharing. As currently drafted, the banking industry is opposed to provisions in the bill that attempt to supersede other governing regulations between card processors and merchants. SFA 1 has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee and is awaiting a hearing.
ISACo staff will review these bills to determine the local impact.