During the final hour of the 101st General Assembly on Wednesday morning, House Democrats pushed through a damaging criminal justice bill that does nothing to make communities safer. In response to the bill’s passage, State Representative Avery Bourne issued the following statement:
“The process is undeniably broken when less than an hour before the new General Assembly begins the majority party has to push through an over 700 page bill that changes law enforcement in ways that will make it nearly unrecognizable in Illinois. Every law enforcement group opposed this criminal justice bill, and it was also opposed by some members within their own Democratic caucus. It’s a bad bill that’s bad for law enforcement. Yet they cut off debate and pushed it through. For people who are discouraged with Illinois government, this only added fuel to the fire. We have to be better than this, policy-wise and process-wise. I’m really infuriated with how they misused our process and abused the public trust today.
“We brought new members into the General Assembly today, and as they were waiting to enter the Inauguration staging area, the first thing they saw was a bill debate and vote that was completely beneath the dignity of this institution. Our newest members saw that when Democrats didn’t have the votes they needed, they started yelling at their colleagues and intimidating them to vote for a piece of bad policy.
“My office has received thousands of contacts from constituents who are opposed to this bill, but in the end their voices were silenced because Democrats shut down debate and denied dozens of House Republicans the opportunity to voice their constituents’ views. It’s one of the most embarrassing spectacles I’ve witnessed as a legislator, and it’s really too bad that it was our newest members’ first glimpse into how we conduct business.”