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Illinois set to become first state to eliminate cash bail under sweeping criminal justice reform law

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is joined by lawmakers and community advocates including state Rep. Justin Slaughter, left, and state Sen. Elgie Sims Jr., right, as he signs HB 3653, a sweeping criminal justice and police reform bill, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 at Chicago State University. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week signed into law a sweeping overhaul of policing and criminal justice that eliminates the cash bail system, requires police agencies to equip officers with body cameras and strictly defines use-of-force rules for law enforcement.

“In this terrible year and in the middle of a brutal viral pandemic that hurt Black people and brown people disproportionately, these lawmakers fought to address the pandemic of systemic racism,” Pritzker said during a ceremony Monday. 

Pritzker was joined by supporters of the new law, which lawmakers introduced and passed with just hours left in the January lame-duck legislative session. It received fierce opposition from some law enforcement groups. 

“We are going from protest to progress,” said state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, who guided the legislation through the House.

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