Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) was against three pieces of legislation that recently passed in the state House of Representatives dealing with remote voting in the state House, judicial subcircuits, and criminal justice reform.
Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) filed House Resolution 595 to make changes to the chamber rules on Jan. 4, and it passed on Jan. 5. Caulkins said he was opposed to making changes to the House Rules on voting since it gives the chamber the chance to have remote voting at any time.
"Members need to be in their seats and speaking up on the issues on behalf of their constituents," he said. "It is much more powerful to be there in person and in discussion with members on the important issues we vote on."
The controversial legislation titled House Bill 3138 passed the House without any Republican votes and created sub-circuits in three counties while redistricting other subcircuits in other counties. The legislation's Senate sponsors were Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and John Connor (D-Lockport). Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) sponsored the bill in the House.
"This bill is nothing more than a way for lightly qualified Democrats to run in smaller gerrymandered Democrat-majority districts instead of countywide," Caulkins said. "It blatantly allows for the judiciary to become more partisan. In that regard, the lighter bail or no-cash bail, determinations that are common place in Cook County, will filter into the neighboring county of DuPage, which is known for giving people with serious felony arrests tougher bail conditions."
Caulkins also voted against a bill that made adjustments to previously enacted Criminal Justice Reform legislation called House Bill 3512.
"Trailer bills are bills that fix mistakes that were unintended or usually that received a backlash from the community dealing with the issue that a change was necessary," Caulkins added.
He said the legislation "tweaked" inmate phone call protocols, dates on mandatory supervised release for class 3 and 4 felons, and made changes to the Police Training Act, which included instances that would decertify an officer.
According to the Illinois General Assembly website, it also gave the Prisoner Review Board guidelines on what they are supposed to do with hearings.
It passed the House with a 67-42 vote.
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