File Photo – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker | Photo: Illinois Information Service

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker praised a lawmaker’s proposed bill that aims to clarify language and improve how officials can enforce the SAFE-T Act, which ends cash bail in Illinois on January 1.

Illinois State Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, introduced Senate Bill 4228 in September.

The bill aims to clarify language and improve how officials can enforce the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity Today (SAFE-T) Act, which ends cash bail in Illinois on January 1.

“As a former prosecutor, I understand the importance of presuming innocence for individuals before being proven guilty, supporting police and keeping violent criminals out of our neighborhoods,” Bennett said.

“Senate Bill 4228 is an effort to improve consistency in the SAFE-T Act and allow law enforcement officials to continue to effectively perform their duties and protect our communities,” Bennett added.

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Pritzker praised Bennett’s bill when asked by a reporter Friday morning what changes he wants to see to the SAFE-T Act.

“Well, I think it’s very important that we look at Senator Scott Bennett’s bill. He’s really, I think written a pretty good bill, the provisions of which we should go through and decide which ones are appropriate,” Pritzker said at Western Illinois University.

But some SAFE-T Act supporters oppose Bennett’s trailer bill.

The Illinois Network for Pre-Trial Justice (INPJ) said it “strongly opposes” the trailer bill.

“Under the SAFE-T Act, individuals can still be detained pretrial if they’re a public safety risk or a flight risk,” the network said in a statement.

“If passed, this bill would cause the number of people jailed while awaiting trial to skyrocket and exacerbate racial disparities in Illinois’ jails,” the network added.

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The INPJ also released a “fact sheet” claiming Bennett’s proposed changes would create a presumption of detention for people charged with crimes that would require them to serve life in prison if convicted.

The INPJ also said the changes remove the ability of defense attorneys to challenge unlawfully obtained evidence at the detention hearing stage meaningfully.