Pritzker expected to sign police reform bill as he includes elements in his proposed Illinois budget

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal is the latest indication he plans to sign a controversial bill to make sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

State Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, said the governor’s proposed budget includes a package of bills the Black Caucus agenda passed last month in the final hours of the previous General Assembly.

“Now it’s time to focus on adequate implementation on all of our initiatives and prepare a new 2021 agenda,” Harper said.

One measure passed in the lame-duck session was what state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, said is comprehensive criminal justice reform and police accountability.

“This budget strengthens that work by funding officer-worn body cameras for the Illinois State Police and providing $3.4 million in funding to local law enforcement agencies for officer-worn body cameras,” Buckner said.

The governor’s budget brief specifically cites $8 million for additional training requirements found in House Bill 3653.

Many in law enforcement have criticized other aspects of the bill that impacts policing, saying it is too expansive and was too rushed.

Sangamon County Deputy Chief Sheriff Cheryllynn Williams said as a woman of color, she wishes there were more discussions before the bill passed.

“We’ve been going out and recruiting and now with this bill, it makes it even harder to recruit people of color,” Williams told WMAY. “But we still press on. I’m not going to let that deter me. I’m going to keep pushing in [recruiting] people of color because this is a great profession, this is a great livelihood.”

The bill’s passage also played a role in the central Illinois village of Washburn, which disbanded its police force. While there were issues with the costs of policing the 1,100 person community, the police chief there told the Peoria Journal-Star passage of HB3653 was the last straw. Washburn contracted with the Woodford County Sheriff for police coverage.

House Bill 3653 is on the governor’s desk awaiting his action.

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