Mussman defends, challenger Litney assails elements of Safe-T Act

  • Republican E. Dale Litney, left, and Democrat Michelle Mussman are candidates for the 56th District Illinois House seat in the Nov. 8 election.

    Republican E. Dale Litney, left, and Democrat Michelle Mussman are candidates for the 56th District Illinois House seat in the Nov. 8 election.

Updated 9/16/2022 3:57 PM

With several aspects of Illinois' sweeping law enforcement reform measure known as the Safe-T Act set to take effect Jan. 1, Democratic state Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg and Republican challenger E. Dale Litney recently debated the merits of the bill.

While Litney criticized what he called obvious flaws of the act, including the elimination of cash bail, Mussman said the bill is the target of misinformation, even as its wording continues to be tweaked to make it more effective.


The candidates for the 56th District state House seat discussed the act and other state issues recently with a representative of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Mussman, seeking her sixth term in the House, said the bill passed in January 2021 is the result of years of negotiations.

"I think it was an unprecedented moment in time to really take a bold step and let the residents of Illinois know that the status quo was really not acceptable any longer and that we were going to take bold moves to reinvent our social justice policies," she said.

The dates set to enact several of the measures called for in the bill allowed for adjustments to the language that are ongoing.

Litney said he would prioritize efforts to repeal the act if elected.

"The no cash bail for the Safe-T Act, I have not spoken with one person who approves of that," the Schaumburg resident said. "Along with that bill, there's the decriminalization of hard drugs which are killing people every day, and people need help to combat their addictions. Allowing trespassers on your property, peering in your windows and the police can't take them away, they can just give them a ticket. They can ask them to leave politely. That's what's in the Safe-T Act, and that is what's concerning to all the residents in the district."

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Mussman responded that the language about trespassing is among the sections she expects to see revised before taking effect.

"Basically the underlying intent of the words as they were written ... is simply that it does not remove the police department's ability to take away a person accused of trespassing, but we want to give the people the opportunity to leave first and offer a lower penalty first," Mussman said. "Often we see people in trespassing situations that are white being treated differently than people who are Black or brown. So we want to level that playing field a little bit."

She added that some changes and clarifications of the cash bail portion of the Safe-T act are likely.

"Again, what it really does is it gives the judge discretion to determine whether or not you are a threat to society and keep you in jail based on that threat and not simply whether or not you have enough money to buy your way out," she said.

Litney emphasized that any changes aren't coming in time to be a comfort to residents.

"Jan. 1 is coming right around the corner," he said. "There's too many people that are not aware of this, and when they do hear about it they're scared. They're scared about being in their homes and their neighborhoods now."

The 56th District includes all or parts of Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Hanover Park and surrounding areas.

Go to comments: 0 posted
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.