SPRINGFIELD – After the fall veto session resulted in the passage and the Governor’s signature of yet another trailer bill to the controversial SAFE-T Act, the lawsuit challenging its legality has been delayed.
In other news, the federal Department of Homeland Security once again extended the deadline for requiring a REAL ID as identification for domestic flights. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission has released a national map of the presence and speed of broadband access, with recommendations to check the map for accuracy and submit any challenges to the data by Jan. 13, 2023.
Additionally, House Democrats have unveiled new anti-gun legislation, which is expected to be the basis for what could be voted on during the General Assembly’s upcoming lame-duck session.
SAFE-T Act Lawsuit Delayed After New Changes Signed into Law
After the Majority Party passed amendments to the SAFE-T Act during the last day of veto session, the hearing for the lawsuit challenging the law’s implementation was pushed back to Dec. 20, just 11 days before the law’s “no cash bail” provision is to take effect. The lawsuit was filed by state’s attorneys and sheriffs throughout the state. A ruling is now expected by Dec. 28.
Meanwhile, during the week, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that he had signed the recently passed House Bill 1095, which contained the changes to the SAFE-T Act. The changes include some expansion on the types of offenses that are eligible for pre-trial detention and broadening the definition of “willful flight” to make it less burdensome on prosecutors to prove that someone is a flight risk.
State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says the changes fall short and don’t make the state any safer than it was before their passage. Not only is the legality of the SAFE-T Act still in question, but it does not provide the necessary judicial discretion in criminal cases.
REAL ID Deadline Extended Again
The Illinois Secretary of State office announced Dec. 5 that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given Illinois residents an additional two years to obtain the federal REAL ID. The original deadline to acquire a REAL ID was set for May 3, 2023. This new extension means that Illinoisans with a current standard Illinois driver’s license or ID card can domestically travel in the U.S. until the new May 7, 2025, deadline.
Illinois residents who have not yet obtained a REAL ID are encouraged to view the Illinois Secretary of State office’s online interactive document checklist at REALID.ilsos.gov. The checklist will help make it easier for Illinoisians to know what paperwork they need to bring with them to their local Driver Services facility. All first-time applicants must make an in-person appointment.
A REAL ID is not required for everyone and is only necessary to fly within the country. Individuals with a valid U.S. passport also meet the requirements for domestic air travel.
Draft National Broadband Map Officially Released
On Nov. 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially released a draft national broadband map. The map is a detailed display of locational information about broadband service availability across the United States.
Tracy is encouraging Illinois residents to check the draft map for accuracy by Jan. 13 as the map will be used to direct funding and efforts to improve broadband access to areas that either lack broadband or don’t have sufficient bandwidth.
Illinoisians can check their broadband coverage and performance through the FCC’s website or free app, downloadable through either the Apple App or Google Play stores.
If a consumer finds any inaccurate information, they are encouraged to challenge the data through a link on the interactive map. Additional information, a video tutorial on how to make a challenge, and the links to the apps can be found at fcc.gov/BroadbandData/consumers.
New Anti-Gun Legislation Filed in the House
On Dec. 1, Illinois House Democrats filed a massive gun control bill that would, among other things, outlaw the manufacturing, possession, delivery, sale, and purchase of so-called “assault” weapons.
The legislation would, effective immediately, enact a series of regulations on the gun industry in addition to the ban on “assault” weapons. Those regulations include banning ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, requiring registration of any already owned assault weapons with the State Police for a $25 fee, banning many semi-automatic shotguns, raising the age of eligibility for Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cards for residents not in the Armed Forces or National Guard to 21 with no parental permission exception, banning those younger than the age of 21 from hunting unless under the supervision of an adult with a FOID card, and increasing the length of firearm restraining orders from six months to one year.
Tracy has previously opposed attempts to infringe upon Second Amendment rights and intends to oppose this legislation. She believes that these proposed restrictions will be more likely to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens than to prevent actual criminals from committing gun-related crimes.