McHenry County Board members discuss the Illinois SAFE-T Act before voting to oppose it and support its repeal during a Tuesday board meeting. | Screengrab

The McHenry County Board on Tuesday voted to oppose the SAFE-T Act, which eliminates cash bail, and also voted to oppose a proposed bill that would decriminalize drug possession in Illinois.

The board voted on a resolution that opposes the Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, also known as the SAFE-T Act, in favor of repealing the law in the Illinois legislature.

The board also voted to oppose House Bill 3447, which will reduce the penalty for the possession of less than three grams of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Early last week, the McHenry County state’s attorney, sheriff and coroner all issued a statement denouncing the bill, which has been sent to the Illinois Senate.

McHenry County Coroner Dr. Michael Rein said three grams of fentanyl is enough to kill more than 1,500 people.

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“It’s shocking that any representative in Springfield believes possession of substances capable of causing such carnage and death should be reduced to a minor criminal offense,” Rein said.

Members of McHenry County’s delegation to the Illinois General Assembly had presented to the county’s Law and Government Committee on September 27.

They requested support in opposing both the SAFE-T Act and House Bill 3447.

“As public officials, it is our highest responsibility to protect the safety of our residents,” said County Board Chairman Mike Buehler, R-Crystal Lake.

“By opposing the SAFE-T Act and House Bill 3447, McHenry County is sending a clear message to Springfield that we oppose legislation that could put criminals back on the streets and decriminalize illegal drugs in our community,” Buehler said.

After listening to the public’s comments and a debate on how to protect constituents, the county board voted 14-6 to pass a resolution opposing House Bill 3447.

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The county board then voted 13-8 to pass a separate resolution opposing the SAFE-T Act.

The SAFE-T Act is a broad criminal justice reform law enacted by the Illinois General Assembly, which will eliminate cash bail and change standards for detaining arrested individuals.

Portions of the SAFE-T Act will go into effect in January 2023.