SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ SAFE-T Act has been proclaimed a disaster for law enforcement, but Democrat candidate for Congress in downstate 13th CD Nikki Budzinski is pushing for the precedent to spread nationally – at least that’s what her website says.
“Illinois’s recently passed landmark criminal justice reform legislation is a definitive step in the right direction, with important provisions on bail reform, sentencing guidelines, and policing, including a ban on chokeholds and body camera mandate for officers. However, we need more action at the federal level,” Budzinski states on her website:
Opposed by nearly every law enforcement organization in the state, the SAFE-T Act was pushed through the Illinois General Assembly in the middle of the night of a Lame Duck session without a single Republican vote.
Among other radical provisions, the law eliminates cash bail, providing that criminal suspects will be detained before trial only in the case of forcible felonies that are non-probationary or they are considered a flight risk or a specific danger to someone in the community. Many violent crimes will not qualify under this law.
The Illinois States Attorneys Association echoed opposition from law enforcement saying that the SAFE-T Act will, “put the victims of crime and their families at great risk.” More recently, States Attorneys throughout the 13th Congressional District, including in Sangamon, Madison, and Macon counties have all expressed serious concerns about how the law will impact public safety.
Aside from the criminal aspect of the legislation, the SAFE-T Act diverts funding from police and includes expensive unfunded mandates such as trainings and body cameras that local governments will have to pay for. For example, Kane County is considering their first property tax increase in a decade in part to fill a $3 million hole stemming from new SAFE-T Act mandates.
In contrast to Budzinski, 13th Congressional District Candidate Regan Deering stands with law enforcement in her opposition to the legislation and supports a repeal of the SAFE-T Act.
“My opponent claims she supports law enforcement and yet she continues to champion the SAFE-T Act that was opposed by nearly every law enforcement organization in Illinois, including multiple states’ attorneys in our own district,” said Deering. “She also claims that she wants to lower the cost of living and, yet communities are already considering raising taxes to pay for this legislation she helped to pass. Finally, while my opponent says she will work for bipartisan solutions to criminal justice reform, she helped to ram through the SAFE-T Act without a single Republican vote. As your Congresswoman, I will work for policies to defend law-abiding citizens, not raise taxes to pay for more crime.”
Aside from her work passing the SAFE-T Act, Budzinski has also been criticized for her involvement in issuing nearly a billion dollars in stimulus payments to American prisoners, including mass murderers, as President Biden’s Chief of Staff for the Office of Management and Budget.