Illinois lawmakers back in Springfield for fall veto session

Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) says the fall veto session will include some, as he put it, “clarifications” to the new law that eliminates cash bail in Illinois. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – With the Illinois General Assembly back at the Capitol Tuesday, House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) lays out his expectation for one of the big issues, the “Safe-T Act.”

A key provision of that package, which passed almost two years ago, is the end of cash bail Jan. 1. Police and prosecutors have said their ability to catch and keep criminals will be severely hampered. If they are expecting lawmakers to use the veto session to overhaul the legislation, they are in for a disappointment.

“Certainly it’s a hope that we get clarifications done before we leave here in the second week of veto session,” which ends Dec. 1, Welch said. “I don’t think there’s a need for a big overhaul. We have already done three trailer bills that have been signed into law.”

Welch, about to enter his second two-year term as speaker, says the big issues – abortion, Safe-T, gun control – are delegated first to “working groups.” Those groups are all Democrats and not open to the public.

“One of the ways I manage the caucus is making sure that there is a consensus among us first,” said Welch. “The committee process will allow Republicans to be involved in it. After that, we’ll take it to the floor. (That process) has produced a whole lot of solid results.”

Welch says in his first term as speaker he has had to learn quickly how to manage a caucus – and how to manage his time.

Dave Dahl can be reached at news@wjbc.com

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