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Gov. Pritzker approves amendments to controversial SAFE-T Act

Gov. Pritzker approves SAFE-T Act amendments
Gov. Pritzker approves SAFE-T Act amendments 00:24

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday signed a series of amendments to the SAFE-T Act, the law ending cash bail in Illinois.

The amendments clarify some of the language of the original bill, and sets standards for determining how dangerous a defendant is.

The governor said the changes ensure that people who are a threat to the public are not put back on the street.

"I'm pleased that the General Assembly has passed clarifications that uphold the principle we fought to protect: to bring an end to a system where wealthy violent offenders can buy their way out of jail, while less fortunate nonviolent offenders wait in jail for trial," Pritzker said in a news release. "Advocates and lawmakers came together and put in hours of work to strengthen and clarify this law, uphold our commitment to equity, and keep people safe."  

Lawmakers in both houses of the General Assembly last week passed a 308-page amendment first filed by state Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago).

The amendments include:

--New language specifying that the new cash bail changes will apply to those charged after Jan. 1.

--Language specifying timelines by which defendants must appear for their hearings – which would depend on their charges.

--Expansion of the number of charges for which a judge can order pre-trial detention.

--Clarification that police can still arrest people in cases of trespassing, if they deem it to be a threat to safety.

Prosecutors must also prove why someone poses a threat to public safety.

The tweaks also clarify court authority in controlling electronic monitoring and escape, and creates a grant program to help public defenders with high caseloads.

The SAFE-T Act goes into effect Jan. 1.

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