Illinois SAFE-T Act: County board OKs resolution to oppose controversial new law

The McHenry County Board has voted to oppose a controversial Illinois public safety law set to take effect next year.

County board members voted 13-8 at a Tuesday night meeting to pass a resolution opposing the SAFE-T Act after listening to the public's comments and engaging in a "robust debate" on how to protect the interests of McHenry County constituents, a statement said.

The Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity - Today Act, also known as the SAFE-T Act, is a broad criminal justice reform law enacted by the Illinois General Assembly, which will eliminate cash bail and change standards for detaining arrested individuals.


The board also passed a resolution Tuesday opposing House Bill 3447 by a vote of 14-6, the statement said.

The criminal justice legislation would reduce the penalty for possession of less than three grams of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine from a felony to a misdemeanor.

"As public officials, it is our highest responsibility to protect the safety of our residents," said County Board Chairman Mike Buehler, R-Crystal Lake. "By opposing the SAFE-T Act and House Bill 3447, McHenry County is sending a clear message to Springfield that we oppose legislation that could put criminals back on the streets and decriminalize illegal drugs in our community."

Portions of the SAFE-T Act are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.