Week in Review: Crime, immigration, jobs & more


The Truth about No Cash Bail in Illinois. Starting next year, Illinois' cash bail system will be eliminated due to provisions in the Democrats' so-called “SAFE-T Act.” That means on January 1, people can no longer be held in custody prior to trial for offenses like robbery, arson, second degree murder, kidnapping and more. The elimination of cash bail will reduce public safety and put communities across the state at risk. We have to repeal the SAFE-T Act to keep Illinois residents safe from crime. 

Because State law deems certain crimes probationable, under the Democrat-passed SAFE-T Act, persons accused of the following crimes cannot be detained pretrial: robbery, burglary (non-residential), arson (non-residential), vehicular invasion, DUI causing bodily harm or death, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide, 2nd degree murder, concealment of a homicidal death, and kidnapping.

See Article 110: Pretrial Release, of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure (725 ILCS 5/110) for more information.

Durkin: The SAFE-T Act gives drug cartels free rein in Illinois. In a recent op-ed published by the Chicago Tribune, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin called the misnamed SAFE-T Act “a ticking time bomb set to go off at the start of next year that will have serious ramifications for law-abiding citizens and give drug cartels free rein on Illinois’ streets.”

Leader Durkin’s commentary on the SAFE-T Act is excerpted below:

This past summer, Gov. J.B. Pritzker claimed, “Illinois is leading the way in addressing the war on drugs as no state has before.” In reality, with his signature on the misnamed SAFE-T Act, Pritzker and his legislative partners have opened up Illinois to drug cartels and traffickers like never before.

Included in Pritzker’s crime bill is a ticking time bomb set to go off at the start of next year that will have serious ramifications for law-abiding citizens and give drug cartels free rein on Illinois’ streets.

The elimination of cash bail, which will begin Jan. 1, will have wide-ranging consequences throughout our criminal justice system. With the elimination of cash bail, criminal suspects will be detained before trial only in the case of forcible felonies that are nonprobational or unless they are considered a flight risk or a danger to someone in the community. Many violent crimes, including robbery, vehicular invasion, driving under the influence causing death and second-degree murder, do not qualify under this law. This policy is a horrible slap in the face to victims and neighborhoods desperately seeking safety.

So how does this affect the war on drugs? Under Pritzker’s SAFE-T Act, it’s possible drug kingpins, smugglers, traffickers or distributors of illegal drugs won’t be detained before trial, no matter the quantity of deadly substances they are accused of possessing. Astonishingly, Pritzker and the Democrats don’t seem to believe there is a connection between drug dealers, street gangs, cartels and the gun violence our state sees daily.

For decades, sales of drugs brought into Chicago by cartels have fueled gang wars. And once a smuggler finds a route that works, they will use it for other illicit trade such as guns, counterfeit products and even human trafficking.

I know this firsthand, having served as a special prosecutor in the Cook County state’s attorney’s Narcotics Bureau.

Please click here to read the rest of Leader Durkin’s commentary.

With migrants continuing to arrive in Chicago, Gov. Pritzker issues an emergency disaster proclamation. Governor JB Pritzker is calling out the National Guard to help deal with the busloads of migrants being sent to Chicago from Texas.

The governor also issued a disaster proclamation to speed up the availability of state money and resources to deal with the crisis.

Pritzker took the extraordinary steps Wednesday to deal with the mounting crisis that is only expected to worsen.

So far, 11 busloads of migrants have arrived in Chicago from Texas. Approximately 509 migrants have been sent here, according to the city.

The disaster proclamation, which covers all 102 counties in Illinois, mobilizes the Illinois National Guard. It directs the State Board of Education, four named State departments, and all other State agencies to coordinate with each other to respond to asylum seekers coming to Illinois.

The gubernatorial proclamation designates the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) as the lead agency to provide services – including taxpayer-funded services – to migrants seeking asylum in Illinois. The proclamation, issued within the framework of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, was issued on Wednesday, September 14.

August unemployment rate in Illinois rose to 4.5%. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate rose +0.1 percentage point to 4.5 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +4,100 in August, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The July monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +31,200 to +35,000 jobs. The July unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 4.4 percent. The August payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In August, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment include: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,500), Construction (+3,500), and Government (+1,500). The industry sectors that reported the largest monthly payroll declines include: Manufacturing (-3,200), Professional and Business Services (-2,600), and Information (-500). […]

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.8 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for August, which was 3.7 percent, up +0.2 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -1.5 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 6.0 percent.

Annual report by Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability continues to show unfunded balances. The red ink is in State-backed, State-managed pensions created by law for Illinois public-sector employees. The retirement plans are funded by payments due from State general funds and are, ultimately, borne by Illinois taxpayers. The principal beneficiaries are teachers and administrators in public school systems, other personnel in public schools, State employees, and State university employees.

Many Illinoisans are already familiar with the fact that, throughout the entire life of these pension systems, the State has not acted with prudence and has not put in enough money to keep up with the compounding cost of these obligations. This was especially true for a series of years starting in Fiscal Year 2004. Currently, as of the end of Fiscal Year 2022, the projected unfunded liabilities of the five State-managed pension systems was $137.7 billion. Despite significant investment gains in FY22 as worldwide equity markets increased in value, Illinois pension were still deep in the red. Even with heavy continued contributions by Illinois taxpayers to reduce these accumulated deficits, the projected unfunded liabilities of the combined plans are projected to still be $32 billion at the end of FY45, almost twenty-three years from now. The CGFA report was released on Thursday, September 15.

Chief Justice of Illinois Supreme Court announces imminent resignation; Court chooses replacement. Chief Justice Anne M. Burke has served on the Court since 2006, and has served as Illinois’ 121st Chief Justice since October 2019. She will resign from the State’s highest court effective November 30, 2022.

Chief Justice Burke privately informed her colleagues of her decision prior to the public announcement. Exercising their duties under the Constitution of Illinois, the remaining Supreme Court Justices met and chose an appellate judge for promotion to their ranks. Appellate Justice Joy V. Cunningham will fill the vacated Burke seat on the Illinois Supreme Court bench. She will be the second African-American woman to serve on the state’s highest court.

The Illinois Supreme Court also chose one of its own members, Mary Jane Theis, to replace the retiring Burke as the Chief Justice of Illinois. Burke’s retirement came months prior to the scheduled trial of her husband, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, on federal racketeering charges.

California crop troubles means Illinois pumpkins may be even more important this year. While Illinois farmers have long dominated the nationwide market for processed pumpkins and squashes, many regions of the U.S. grow their own jack-o-lantern pumpkins. The summer 2022 heat wave, which raised temperatures in California’s Central Valley to blistering numbers, has created serious trouble for locally-gown pumpkin and squash supplies on the Pacific Coast. Pumpkin plants and other trailing vines do not tolerate sustained temperatures above 90° F. Proper growing conditions were met this year in Illinois, but not in California. Families in the U.S. West may have to bid against Midwesterners for Halloween pumpkins this fall, and this may raise the price of pumpkins in Illinois.