House Minority Leader Tony McCombie (Savanna) has filed several bills in a robust legislative package aimed at improving public safety and reducing crime throughout Illinois. McCombie’s initiative will address public safety by focusing on the rising fentanyl epidemic, gun violence, and the systemic issues of the SAFE-T Act. The five bills include the following:
- HB1466 — Allows qualified retired law enforcement officers to receive school resource officer training from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board, so they can be employed at schools.
- HB3203 – Allows pharmacists to sell fentanyl test strips over-the-counter so the public can test for the presence of fentanyl.
- HB3210 – Elevates the criminal charges against a person knowingly and unlawfully selling or dispensing any scheduled drug containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.
- HB3209 – the Protect our Victims Act, prevents the defense from compelling a complaining witness to testify during a hearing to deny the defendant pretrial release.
- HB3214 – Requires the Cook County State’s Attorney to file a written statement with the court if a plea deal is accepted from a defendant is charged with an offense involving the illegal use or possession of a firearm.
“This package of bills is about making our neighborhoods safer, and looking at how we can best do that by addressing the underlining issues like the opioid epidemic, gun violence, and the ongoing implications of the faulted SAFE-T Act,” continued McCombie. “These are real issues affecting our communities every day, and it’s important that these bills advance so we work toward building safer communities across Illinois.”
Since its adoption back in 2021, the SAFE-T Act has been amended four different times and is still facing uncertainty due to impending lawsuits against its constitutionality and questions of implementation at the local level. McCombie’s legislation, HB3209, is an initiative to protect victims of crime—who have been against the odds of the new law.
“We have seen victims’ rights be sidelined through the SAFE-T Act and it’s something that needs to be rectified if we are truly going to make our neighborhoods safer; it means we stop empowering criminals,” continued McCombie.
The legislation coincides with the Republican led working group prioritizing public safety issues that go well beyond the SAFE-T Act. State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) has taken the lead on the Improving Public Safety working group, which is navigating how to further address the rising crime rates in Illinois neighborhoods.
“Policies passed in Springfield have had detrimental effects on safety across our state—and this reality is hitting families in every community on a daily basis,” said Rep. Windhorst. “Leader McCombie’s legislation is a step forward to fixing that discrepancy and I’m proud to support that measure.”
McCombie’s bills have been filed in the Illinois House and can be tracked here as they move through the legislative process in the coming weeks.