Illinois Mayor Blasts Gov. J. B. Pritzker over ‘Horrible’ Bail Reform Law

Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois, speaks to the media outside of the West Wing of the Whit
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau blasted Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker for his “horrible” new law that eliminates cash bail and insisted that the governor “is not listening to us.”

The new law titled the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act — which will take effect on Jan. 1 of next year — is being lashed by critics for eliminating cash bail, which, they say, will end up putting dangerous, violent criminals back on the streets almost as soon as they are arrested.

Mayor Pekau took aim at Pritzker for purposefully engineering the implementation of the law to help his reelection campaign. And he slammed Pritzker for “not listening” to officials and the voters of Illinois.

“He is not listening to us on this, and historically, he doesn’t really listen to any of us,” Pekau said, according to Fox News. “He does what he feels like. He did the same thing through COVID and didn’t listen to us, so it’s not a surprise that he’s not listening.”

Pekau also questioned the timing of the act.

“And it’s also not a surprise they passed this back in January of last year and waited till January of 2023 to put it into effect,” the mayor exclaimed. “It’s because they knew the impact that this was going to have, and they didn’t want to be running an election after seeing the impact of such a horrible law.”

Like many other detractors, Pekau warns that the SAFE-T Act puts the citizens of Illinois in danger.

The bail rules are bringing condemnation across the state.

Illinois state Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-118th District) recently told KFVS News, “there are a whole list of violent crimes, burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, almost all drug offenses even drug distribution, DUI offenses, even DUI offenses that are involving a fatality, that do not qualify for detention under the Illinois Safety Act. To me, that’s going to mean a lot of individuals are committing crimes and being released immediately, if not within a couple of days.”

Critics add that the law will make police departments and jails revolving doors, putting dangerous criminals back out on the streets almost as soon as the police can grab them up.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) join former U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park on September 28, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) join former U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park on September 28, 2021, in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“It clearly puts citizens and police officers at risk in the favor of criminals who are violent and puts us all at risk,” he said. “And it gets worse than just being released on bail.”

Pekau noted that even something that was once an easy situation for law enforcement will now become a potential problem for citizens.

“When this goes into effect January of 2023 … a police officer will not be allowed to remove someone from your property for trespassing. They can take residence in your shed, your pool, in a business, and all they can do is ticket someone.”

“By law, they’re not going to be allowed to touch someone and remove them from those premises,” he added. “Think about how dangerous that will be with people taking the law into their own hands.”

Many opponents of the law say that if police can’t arrest trespassers and are forced to leave them where they were found, any manner of problems can develop, including violence by either a homeowner who takes matters into their own hands or the trespassers who may be on the grounds for nefarious reasons.

Pekau is hardly alone.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said the law is “literally the end of days” for his constituents.

The law “will destroy the city and the state of Illinois,” Glasgow said. “I don’t even understand — the people that supported it — why they can’t realize that.”

Glasgow warned voters that more than 600 criminals will be released on Jan. 1 in Will County thanks to the law.

The state’s attorney claimed that 640 people being held in the Will County Jail will have their bonds ended on Jan. 1 — including 60 people charged with murder. Glasgow added he will not be able to hold anyone for more than 90 days if they demand a trial, after which they’ll get out, “no matter what crime they committed.”

Pekau concluded his comments by saying the only way to solve this problem is at the ballot box.

“The most important thing that voters can do is vote these people out of office so that on January 3rd, when new legislators come into power, they can overturn this horrible law,” Pekau said.

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