Over the last few months, 58 of Illinois’ 102 state’s attorneys have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act. On Oct. 31, the Illinois Supreme Court consolidated the suits into one.
Counties involved in the consolidated suit include Adams, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clay, Coles, DeKalb, DeWitt, Douglas, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, JoDaviess, Johnson, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Madison, Massac, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Moultrie, Ogle, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Sangamon, Scott, Shelby, Stephenson, Tazewell, Union, Vermilion, Washington, White, Will, Winnebago, and Woodford.
Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe and Sheriff Mike Downey filed the first lawsuit, and the others were added with Kankakee now serving as the primary case. The new suit lists Rowe and Downey as the chief respondents, and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Gov. JB Pritzker, Speaker of the House Emanual “Chris” Welch, and Senate President Don Harmon as the defendants.
While the initial county lawsuits were not identical, they all made similar claims that the SAFE-T Act:
Violates a State Constitution requirement that laws be “confined to one subject”;
Violates a State Constitution requirement that a person charged with a crime “shall be bailable by sufficient sureties”; and
The law should be nullified because it was passed in a matter of hours rather than meeting the statutory requirement that bills be before the General Assembly a minimum of three days.
State Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says the number of state’s attorneys who have challenged the SAFE-T Act is further proof that the new law is not ready for statewide implementation. While there is talk of a fourth trailer bill to the SAFE-T Act, no legislation has been read into the record.