The truth about the SAFE-T Act, Lightfoot asks for raise and more in … – Chicago Sun-Times

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Flanked by lawmakers and supporters, Gov. JB Pritzker picks up the nearly 800-page criminal justice reform bill after signing it into law during a ceremony at Chicago State University on Feb. 22, 2021.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file
Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 54 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low near 38. Tomorrow will also be mostly sunny with a high near 56.
The SAFE-T Act has been a hot-button issue in Illinois this election season, dominating much of the conversation in the governor’s race, as well as down-ballot races.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in early 2021.
Most of the attention has focused on a portion of the law called the “Pre-trial Fairness Act,” which eliminates cash bail starting Jan. 1. Under the new law, judges will no longer require anyone to pay money bail to get out of jail while they await their trial. Instead, judges will make decisions about who is locked up based on their offense and whether they are deemed a flight risk or a safety threat.
Several Republicans have said the changes will lead to increased crime, while some Democrats have argued the law will make courts more fair and allow them to focus on the most serious crimes. The act has been referenced in political debates, and has been the target of a misinformation campaign.
But the elimination of cash bail is only one piece of the massive SAFE-T Act. Here are three more things the bill did to change criminal justice in Illinois:
Expands services for victims of crime
Victims of crime and their families can face big financial burdens, like the loss of income and funeral costs. Advocates have long argued that a program aimed at relieving that burden, by providing money, is difficult to access, too restrictive and leaves the most vulnerable people without help. The “Crime Victims Compensation Act” makes it easier for people who’ve been harmed by crime to apply for that cash compensation. 
Increases police oversight and accountability
The SAFE-T Act makes multiple changes to policing in the state, with the goal of decreasing police misconduct and violence. It will now be easier for state authorities to take officers accused of serious misconduct off the streets through a de-certification process. People will also be able to make anonymous complaints about police officers, and all law enforcement agencies will now be required to use body cameras by 2025. The law also adds restrictions on when police can use force, for example prohibiting deadly force against a person who is a threat only to themselves. Officers also now have a “duty to intervene” if another officer is using unauthorized force.
Ends so-called “prison gerrymandering”
People in prisons are currently counted as being from the Illinois electoral district where they are incarcerated — even though they can’t vote. That inflates the population in prison towns and gives them more political power, while decreasing political power in areas with high incarceration rates, such as Cook County. The “No Representation Without Population” portion of the law changes that. When creating state electoral districts, people in prison will now be counted as being from the last known address they lived at before they were incarcerated.
WBEZ’s Shannon Heffernan has more essential facts about the SAFE-T Act here.
Chicagoans who belted out songs by Björk, Queen, Chris Stapleton and other greats are in the running to win a citywide karaoke showdown.
The six finalists who will compete for the title of “Chicago’s Karaoke Champion” were announced this morning by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events).
The finalists are Jaleel Amir, 26, Grand Crossing neighborhood; Brandon Dodson, 35, Rogers Park neighborhood; Lauren “Elle Michelle” Gaines, 40, Galewood neighborhood; Rashada Dawan, 40, South Shore neighborhood; Erendira Izguerra, 29, West Lawn neighborhood; Jason E. Jackson, 45, Edgewater neighborhood.
(from left) Elle Michelle, Jaleel Amir, Brandon Dodson, Rashada Dawan, Erendira Izguerra, Jason E. Jackson.
The monthlong, citywide competition — produced by People’s Stage Karaoke and titled “Chicago Sings Karaoke” — was announced earlier this month and attracted hundreds of area amateur singers (21+over) eager to showcase their vocal chops.
The first two rounds of the competition were held at venues across the city over the past three weeks, ultimately yielding the six singers heading to the final round on Nov 6 at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage. The judges’ panel will consist of local industry professionals and celebrities.
The winner receives $5,000. And well-deserved bragging rights.
Miriam Di Nunzio has more on the competition here.
What’s your go-to karaoke song? Tell us why.
Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday, we asked you: What’s one issue you would like your alderperson to address in your neighborhood?
Here’s what some of you said…
“Please address the benefits that will inure to the residents of ward 17 by taking a 10% salary increase.” — Tim Thomas
“Affordable housing.” — Thom Clark
“The constant street repairs at the Ashland/Belmont/Lincoln area that not only lead to traffic jams, the bus stops are also being constantly moved without any notice.” — Howard Moore
“We have had two vacant lots at the corner of Irving Park Rd and Cumberland for 10+ years. I wish it would be a priority to encourage development. I hate walking past, it’s such an eyesore.” — Stephanie Swieca
“Crime.” — John Schmitt
“More pedestrian-friendly crosswalks. It’s dangerous, no one wants to stop.” — Yvonne Curbis
“Police response times due to undermanned Districts. Check the average waiting call for police service requests and explain to constituents how you would resolve these issues if you’re serious about crime!” — Jay Roberts
“We need more mental health resources. More social workers. More places for these people to get nonjudgmental help.” — Jo Mann
“Find more help for the people who are homeless.” — Lucy Castro
Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.


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