Letter to the Editor from State Rep. Mark Batinick – Public Safety

A year ago January, Governor Pritzker signed the SAFE-T Act into law. The Safety Accountability, Fairness & Equity Today Act was quickly drafted and un-vetted. Ultimately, it has not demonstrated its purported outcomes of making Illinois neighborhoods safer.

This legislation was sent to the Governor’s desk after the General Assembly passed all 764 pages of it without public input or input from law enforcement in hours. Mere hours to overhaul public safety in Illinois. Numerous trailer bills of corrections have confirmed this legislation was not good policy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the homicide rate in Illinois is 8.1 per 100,000 people. In 2021, there were 4,300 gunshot victims in the City of Chicago, the highest number of any other city in our nation.

When we see these numbers, it’s easy to see them as just that: numbers. But the Chicago Sun-Times compiled a list of every Chicago homicide victim with their names, ages, where they died, and how they died. These were human beings, including one and two-year-olds—babies. These victims were Illinoisans whose lives were viciously taken far too soon because of violence; their losses were felt by all who loved them and all whom they loved.

Illinoisans need to feel safe and we cannot live in fear of criminals. We have a duty in Springfield to ensure Illinois families live in the violence-free neighborhoods they deserve. We in the General Assembly need to debate these important issues that are affecting our communities and our children. We need to work in the same direction, Republicans and Democrats, to stifle crime, support our police, and craft real solutions to keep Illinois families safe.

Illinoisans deserve true safety that reflects the needs of every corner of our state, with input from all of Springfield’s lawmakers. Introducing, debating, and passing legislation with more pages than Moby Dick in a night does not accomplish this. I call on my colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle to discuss these important topics and bring legislation to Reimagine Illinois by ensuring public safety to the House floor for debate. We can do this together if we open up the forum for new ideas and aim for the ultimate goal of safety for our great state.