Senate Republicans warn, “This is how you steal an election,” as Democrats pass drastic change to election law

SPRINGFIELD – During the week, Republican lawmakers stood in defiance of a controversial new law that will drastically change the state’s election laws in the middle of an election cycle to favor entrenched incumbents and reduce competition at the ballot box.

Hastily filed just hours before a vote in the House of Representatives, and a day before a vote in the Senate, Senate Bill 2412 makes significant changes to the rules for an election process that is already under way. Most notably, it would end the slating process currently taking place in districts throughout the state, eliminating challengers who entrenched incumbents could face in November.

For prospective candidates who have spent more than a month gathering signatures and rearranging their lives, their family’s lives, and their jobs to run for office, it could mean the end of the road.

Republican legislators called this a blatant power grab by Illinois Democrat leaders afraid of competition for their incumbents in the general election. They characterized the bill as an attempt to change the rules midgame by Democrat lawmakers prioritizing control of the election process over the rights of Illinoisans to have free and fair elections. They noted that the legislation would further erode public trust in the electoral process.

Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and House stood in protest, voting “present” on the controversial measure. They contend that the rushed proposal is patently unfair and undemocratic, allowing Democrat lawmakers to undermine the election process.

Rather than upholding the integrity of Illinois’ election process, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law just hours after telling reporters he hadn’t yet reviewed the proposal.

State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) says the bill is a slap in the face to the concept of free elections. She says that at a time when many voters have lost confidence in elections, the state should not be giving them good reason to further lose faith in democracy.

Fallen Officers Remembered in Springfield

Officers who gave their lives in the line of duty were honored at the annual Police Officer Memorial Ceremony on May 2 at the State Capitol complex in Springfield.

Joined by their loved ones and colleagues from various law enforcement agencies statewide, attendees gather to recognize the sacrifices made by those who serve and protect and pay tribute to fallen heroes killed in the line of duty.

This year’s honorees include Chicago Police Officer Andres Mauricio Vasquez Lasso, Chicago Police Officer Aréanah Makayla Preston, Cicero Police Officer John Francis Kane, Montgomery County Sheriff Ray Boston, Sangamon County Deputy Sheriff Andrew H. Sloan, and Chicago Police Detective Todd C. Gillerlain.

Increase Penalties for Fleeing and Strengthen Detention Standards for Domestic Abusers

In response to the growing number of dangerous incidents involving suspects fleeing from police and endangering motorists, Senate Republican lawmakers gathered with local law enforcement representatives to unveil new legislation designed to hold suspects accountable in these situations.

Senate Bill 1807 targets individuals who evade law enforcement. It proposes stricter penalties for those who flee and elude authorities. Currently, fleeing and eluding are only Class A misdemeanors.

Under the proposal, fleeing and eluding would now be classified as a Class 4 Felony, making it clear that offenders would be held accountable for their actions.

Republican lawmakers also discussed pending legislation that would change the presumption on domestic violence cases with bodily injury to a presumption to detain, sending an unequivocal message that the State of Illinois will hold violent domestic abusers accountable and prevent victims, primarily women and children, from retaliation and further harm.

Lawmakers hope the proposed legislation will receive fair consideration before the General Assembly’s adjournment, which is currently scheduled for May 24.

Educate Drivers on Hazardous Materials Advances

Legislation designed to educate drivers about the dangers of hazardous materials that vehicles are transporting on Illinois roadways passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 3406 mandates the inclusion of hazardous material placard education in the state’s Rules of the Road publication, a key resource in driver’s education classes. The legislation aims to educate drivers so that they know when hazardous materials are being transported on the roads with them.

This bill comes in response to a deadly accident in 2023 involving a tanker carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia that claimed five lives and injured 11.

Senate Bill 3406 passed the Senate and now awaits action in the House.

Jil Tracy

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