Lawmaker won’t move forward with controversial proposal banning some traffic stops

A state representative who on Monday introduced an amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code prohibiting police officers from stopping a driver for minor speeding and improper lane use violations has decided not to move forward with the legislation at this time.

State Rep. Justin Slaughter’s decision follows criticism from law enforcement officials, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, which wrote in a social media post that the proposal would “negatively impact traffic safety and public safety.”

Acknowledging the proposal’s broad language, Slaughter said he will seek input from stakeholders — including police officials and community members — to craft more narrow legislation.

“I understand the reaction law enforcement had in regard to the actual language that has been filed for HB 4603. It is very broad,” the Democrat from Chicago said.

Moving forward, this “legislative matter would be a lot more narrow,” added Slaughter, who represents Chicago’s South Side and several villages in the South suburbs. “We’ll put significant time, energy and effort into having discussions on this important matter.”

The representative introduced the bill to address “significant racial disparities as they related to police, traffic and pedestrian stops” of Black and Brown people. He said members of those communities are pulled over for traffic infractions more often than their white counterparts.

In Chicago in 2022, the number of Black drivers stopped for violations was four times that of white drivers, Slaughter said. That same year outside of Chicago, Black drivers comprised 21.5% of all traffic stops despite making up only 9.5% of the population outside of the city.

His original proposal stated that police would not pull over a vehicle for failing to display registration plates or stickers; operating with an expired registration sticker; failing to comply with certain vehicle lamp requirements; excessive tints and defective mirrors; an obstructed windshield or defective windshield wipers; defective bumpers; or excessive exhaust and failure to wear a seat belt.

The legislation also would bar traffic stops for speeding, except when the offense would qualify as a misdemeanor or felony — meaning up to 25 mph over the speed limit.

Evidence obtained from such traffic stops could not be introduced at subsequent hearings or trials, according to the original draft.

“I want to emphasize this is a first iteration or draft,” said Slaughter, whose next step is to bring law enforcement and community representatives “to the table to have these important discussions.”

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