Mike Simmons HeadshotYesterday, Gov. Pritzker signed a comprehensive criminal justice and police reform package of bills that dramatically overhauls the carceral systems in Illinois. Many of these changes are long overdue, and I am gratified to see the work of so many advocates finally come to fruition.

Some key components of this wide-ranging legislation:

The new law does away with racist mandatory minimum sentencing laws that for over a generation have laid waste to Black communities.

Illinois will end the use of cash bail, a systemic practice that unfairly punishes people who don’t have money.

The law requires police to be equipped with body cameras by 2025. There must be no more excuses about broken body cams, or cams that were not turned on when a situation ends in another killing or unnecessary maiming of another one of our brothers and sisters.

And importantly, the law promotes the use of co-responder models (instead of police) for people experiencing crises, and enhances data collection on mental health crisis response.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, of which I am proud to be a member, led this monumental effort. Dozens of community leaders and stakeholders spoke up and turned out as part of the Black Lives Agenda created in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. This legislative victory would not have been possible without their voices raised together, and years of community organizing.

I’m proud to join the Illinois General Assembly at this time, and ready to double down on this work. We must push policy further in the direction of justice for Black lives across the board and root out systemic racism.

This is the work. #BlackLivesMatter


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Mike Simmons
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Category: News

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