Erica Harriss Speaks at Press Conference Against SAFE-T Act

Law was passed without oversight and will raise costs for taxpayers

My remarks delivered at a joint press conference on October 10, 2022 with Leader Jim Durkin, Representative Amy Elik, Treasurer Chris Slusser, and 111th District candidate Jennifer Korte:

"Illinois’ second-highest in the nation property taxes are what first motivated me to run for public office. I helped lead the successful charge in 2016 to lower property taxes in our county, and I’m very proud that we have worked together to provide that value to our residents. 

I am even more proud that we have done so while increasing funding for law enforcement. Since I have been elected to the county board we have increased the sheriff's budget by $3.8 million dollars in addition to the more than $13 million we invested in renovations to the county jail to improve safety for law enforcement and prisoners alike.

New unfunded SAFE-T Act mandates and costs will undoubtedly make this more difficult in the future. Along with the financial and regulatory burden, this law is dangerous for families. One hundred state’s attorneys have come out against this legislation, and law enforcement in every corner of the state have lined up to warn us how it handcuffs them from pursuing justice for victims. 

Just last week, Wood River Chief of Police Brad Wells stood up at a city council meeting and told residents about the burdens his department will face. I am hearing from people all over the district that they want more transparency in government. 

This 764-page bill was passed in the dead of night without the proper public discourse the people of Illinois deserve. It was physically impossible for anyone, especially the legislators voting on the SAFE-T Act, to read the final bill or grasp its financial implications. I have the expectation that my representatives will - at the very least - understand what is in a new law before casting their vote on it. 

We should be legislating on behalf of our constituents out in the open, not in the middle of the night without the eyes and ears of the very people whose safety and financial security the legislation puts at risk. These are exactly the kinds of backroom deals that my opponent was appointed in, and that I fight against in the State Senate. 

I am committed to standing up for our district against this legislation and any other laws that include hidden tax increases."

Erica Harriss, Madison County Board member and State Senate candidate