An Illinois House hearing Monday afternoon in Springfield will tackle reinstating the death penalty for cop killers and mass murderers, and other issues that are part of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s latest public safety push.
Rauner injected the death penalty idea into the conversation when he changed a bill lawmakers sent to his desk. The bill, House Bill 1468, would have put a 72 hour, rather than 24 hour, waiting period for certain semi-automatic rifles. Rauner changed that to include all guns. But he also put in language that would reinstate the death penalty in Illinois for specific crimes like mass murder or killing a police officer.
Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011 after several people were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die.
The sponsor of HB1468, state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Buffalo Grove, filed a motion to accept Rauner’s amendatory veto.
The Illinois State Rifle Association issued a bulletin Thursday that said the veto should be sustained.
“Now we have to make every effort to prevent the amendatory veto from being overridden,” ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said in an email. “We need phone calls to the members of the Illinois House asking legislators to support the governor’s veto.”
Rauner said his package of ideas is intended to bring about what he called important public safety measures. Those ideas include bringing back the death penalty, putting a 72-hour waiting period in place for all firearm purchases, banning bump stocks and trigger cranks, authorizing restraining orders to disarm dangerous people and requiring judges and prosecutors to explain why charges are reduced in plea agreements for violent offenders in gun cases.
House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said Rauner’s move is pure politics.
“[Rauner] handed a bunch of things to people who are less interested in guns and he handed a bunch of things to people who are more interested in guns and hard line on criminal law,” Lang said.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is promoting an amendment to Senate Bill 2580 filed by Carroll to bring Rauner’s ideas up for a hearing at 2 p.m. Monday in the Judiciary-Criminal Committee.
“The issues the governor raised … deserve a full hearing and consideration before the House,” Madigan said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing from stakeholders and continuing our effort to keep our children, our schools and our communities safe from senseless gun violence.”
Rauner said Friday’s deadly mass shooting at a Texas school was another reminder there needs to be common sense policies in place to protect children. He said his proposals would free up resources for armed school resource officers at public schools.
“Just like the hero in Dixon [Illinois] who stopped a shooter in his tracks effectively in Dixon,” Rauner said. “We need that in every school that would like it and we also need mental health professionals, and I’ve proposed ways that we can fund that for each school to keep the schools safer.”
Rauner said local sales taxes should be freed up to hire more school resource officers.
On Wednesday in Dixon, school resource officer Mark Dallas shot and wounded Matthew Milby, a 19-year-old former student of Dixon High School, when Milby allegedly opened fire with a rifle. There were no other injuries.
Given that Rauner has been in office for more than three years, during which there were multiple mass shootings across the country, the gun proposals seem like a last-minute effort, Lang said.
“We haven’t heard all that much from him,” Lang said. “And now in the 11th hour he wants to be a person who wants to talk about guns and guns safety, and try to pander to both sides.”
Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Video Credit: State of Illinois, Greg Bishop | Illinois News Network. Gov. Bruce Rauner in Chicago Friday talks about his public safety proposals, House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, says Rauner’s playing politics
Report: Gov. J.B. Pritzker under federal criminal investigation
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, his wife First Lady M.K. Pritzker, and others are under federal criminal investigation for a dubious residential property tax appeal that critics highlighted in last year’s gubernatorial race.
WBEZ first reported the federal probe, citing information from a law-enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
Pritzker’s attorney denied any wrongdoing.
“Neither the Governor nor the First Lady have been contacted by law enforcement regarding the property tax appeal,” Attorney Marc Elias said in an email to Illinois News Network. “We are confident that any further review of the matter will show that the appropriate rules were followed.”
Pritzker, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion, paid back the more than $330,000 he got in tax breaks for removing the toilets to have a mansion he bought deemed uninhabitable. He paid back the money in October, days after a leaked report from a Cook County watchdog surfaced. A Cook County inspector general report about the 2015 tax break called it a “scheme to defraud” taxpayers.
Political opponents pounced on news of the federal probe.
“Gov. Pritzker should immediately abandon his push for this massive jobs tax on middle-class families because he can’t expect people to pay more when he is reportedly under criminal investigation for gaming the system to pay less,” Ideas Illinois Chairman Greg Baise said.
Ideas Illinois has been opposing the governor’s proposed progressive income tax.
“The governor likes to call his push for more taxes ‘fair’ but it’s clear he knows nothing about fairness or equity – he needs to drop his push for this Jobs Tax that will only hurt middle-class families even further,” Baise said.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider compared Pritzker’s decision to pay back the $331,000 to a bank robber returning stolen money after getting caught.
“Just because he gave the money back means nothing to me,” Schneider said in an interview. “He schemed to defraud the taxpayers of the county. He technically took money out the school system, to pay for our cops, to further burden other taxpayers because he didn’t pay his fair share.”
Schneider also said he was glad the investigation was being looked at by federal officials.
“I’ve seen silence on the part of the Cook County State’s Attorney,” Schneider said of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “I think she botched the Jussie Smollett case and we don’t even know if she’s investigating this on the Cook County level and I’m grateful that the feds have picked up the batton on this case.”
Pritzker could be asked to comment on the story when he is in front of reporters later this morning.
WBEZ reported that it wasn’t clear if any criminal charges were imminent; it also reported that “the scope and intensity of the federal investigation is not entirely clear.”
Article by Greg Bishop with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Springfield Police tell residents: lock your cars
Springfield is dealing with a city-wide issue of cars being broken into. From the 13th to the 16th, 35 cars were broken into. These incidents happened all over the city. Chief Winslow was asked to discuss this situation at last night’s city council meeting.
Winslow had a very simple message for Springfield residents: lock your cars. Although some of the incidents did involve breaking a car’s window, the overwhelming majority did not. 30 of the 35 break-ins were to unlocked vehicles. Thieves were simply checking the handles of cars to find ones that were unlocked. This is not to excuse the criminal activity, but locking your doors is a key step for your protection.
He went on to say that valuables should not be stored in vehicles; and if they must be, they should be out of sight. If thieves do not see anything worth stealing, they will be much less likely to break in. In addition to items like phones and GPS units, garage door openers are items that are often stolen. Once a thief has the garage door opener, the home becomes vulnerable to burglary as well.
The police are still working to catch those individuals responsible for the break-ins. Five individuals have been arrested, but it is believed that there are many more still out there. Suspects include both juveniles and adults. If you see something suspicious, call the dispatch number 217-788-8311. Don’t call your local police officer in these situations; they may not be on duty and so will not answer right away. If you have other information, especially pictures or video, share it with the police. Just putting it on social media will not ensure the police get access to it.
Take the time to make sure your doors are locked. This is a city-wide issue, and it will take a city-wide effort to deal with it.