Legislative update: Special funding for ILETSB 

How we did in the shortened spring session

June 22, 2020

By Ed Wojcicki, ILACP Executive Director      [email protected] 

Most of the bills of concern to Illinois Chiefs this spring were not considered in the five-day special legislative session that ended over the Memorial Day weekend.

Because of the pandemic, the legislature did not go to Springfield at all between March and the middle of May. By mutual agreement, because travel was extremely limited and the Capitol building was closed to the public, they missed all of their deadlines for bills to be heard and passed out of committees and the house of origin. They agreed to return to Springfield under austere circumstances to pass a budget and a small number of other issues. The Senate met in the State Capitol, and the House met in Springfield’s spacious Bank of Springfield Convention Center.

The governor had made it a priority to do criminal justice reform in the spring, but all of those bills were set aside due to the pandemic. Those would have been bad bills such as an end to cash bail, the three-phone call, and other issues. The General Assembly adjourned a day or two before George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, and so criminal justice reform did not seem like a pressing issue when the legislature went home.

Following is a summary of Springfield action that affects law enforcement the most.

Funding for the Training Board: The legislature approved the annual budget for FY2021 in SB 264. We were pleased that the bill included $3 million in supplemental state funding (General Revenue Fund, or GRF) for the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. ILETSB and the Mobile Training Units are significantly short on funding this year because of a major decrease in revenue from the traffic ticket surcharge. We supported a bill that would have provided $5 million in additional funds this year. That bill was not taken up, but the $3 million was rolled into the 600-page budget bill. More good news: The budget for FY2021 includes another $3 million in GRF for ILETSB. The bad news is that will not be enough, and so we’re continuing to work on the question of how to fund ILETSB and the MTUs. We have asked ILETSB and we are awaiting word on how ILETSB intends to allocate the first $3 million before this fiscal year ends on June 30.

Other legislative issues:

  • COVID-19 injury on the job: HB 2455 amends the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act to provide that any injury or occupational disease resulting from the contraction of COVID-19 by first responder such as a law enforcement officer is presumed to have arisen during the course of the worker’s employment. 
     
  • Liquor to go: HB 2682 allows bars and restaurants to sell cocktails and mixed drinks to go in sealed containers for consumption off-site. During transport, the containers must be placed in the trunk or a rear area of the vehicle that is not readily accessible

  • Extension of 9-1-1 Advisory Commission: HB 2174modifies the sunset language of the Emergency Telephone Systems Act to extend it until December 31, 2021. That is the new deadline for every 9-1-1 system in Illinois to provide Next Generation 9-1-1 service. The act was set to expire. The bill also extends various surcharges on wireless systems.

  • Traffic surcharge act extended: SB 1857 extends the sunset of the Criminal and Traffic Assessment Act until January 1, 2022. The act, which the Illinois Chiefs opposed when passed, was set to expire. Allowing it to expire would have been worse, because the mechanism for assessing any surcharges on traffic tickets would have expired.

  • Aggravated battery for attacking a merchant: SB 471 amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that battery of a merchant is aggravated battery: (i) when the merchant is performing his or her duties, including, but not limited to, relaying directions for healthcare or safety from his or her supervisor or employer or relaying health or safety guidelines, recommendations, regulations, or rules from a federal, State, or local public health agency; and (ii) during a disaster declared by the Governor, or a state of emergency declared by the mayor of the municipality in which the merchant is located, due to a public health emergency and for a period of six months after such declaration.

  • Extension of driver’s licenses by Secretary of State: SB 2135 amends the Secretary of State Act. Provides for emergency powers to extend the validity of driver's licenses, permits, identification cards, disabled parking placards and decals, and vehicle registrations. The Secretary may extend for the duration of a proclaimed disaster and for up to a period of 120 days beyond the expiration of the disaster proclamation. he expiration dates of driver's licenses, driving permits, identification cards, disabled parking placards and decals, and vehicle registrations. All law enforcement agencies in the State of Illinois and all State and local governmental entities shall recognize the validity of, and give full legal force to, extensions granted pursuant to this Section. This Section is repealed on June 30, 2021.

  • Treatment for survivors of sexual assault: SB557 temporarily allows federally qualified health centers to perform rape kit examinations at a time when a visit to the emergency department by a victim may be difficult due to the pandemic.

Post-Minneapolis: Licensing and reforms? Calls for reform burst open in the first week of June, after the death of George Floyd, but this year any new bills will have to be taken up in a special session or veto session in Springfield. ILACP is tracking the following – with information about most of them on our website:

  • Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s idea for licensing police officers. ILACP President James R. Black and other chiefs are a part of these discussions. We don’t know where these discussions are heading, but we would like to see a strengthening of processes to permanently get rid of bad cops that chiefs want to fire.
  • The White House Executive Order on policing, with Buffalo Grove Chief Steven Casstevens, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, attending. This EO supports agency accreditation, which could be good news for our ILEAP program, the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.
  • Two different “Justice Acts” from congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans in Washington. The Democrats' bill passed in the House, and both bills have stalled.
  • An IACP seven-point plan. We could support most of the ideas here, as they address hiring, discipline, national databases of police misconduct, a standardized use of force policy, improving police culture, and more.