Good things are happening! Illinois takes the lead on curbing pretrial discrimination, the EPA gets serious about lead poisoning, incarcerated students regain access to federal aid, and another college ends legacy admissions.
When You Land On Illinois, Get Out Of Jail Free
Illinois is the first state to abolish cash bail, with its supreme court determining it’s unconstitutional to hold defendants in jail based on their inability to pay.
Cash bail allows people to put up a sum of money in exchange for leaving jail and awaiting trial at home. It’s entirely contradictory to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” because people are held in jail without trial, and sometimes even without charges. It also puts poor defendants who can’t afford to shell out large sums of money at a huge disadvantage, and can cause them to lose their jobs or homes while they’re held pretrial.
Under Illinois’ new measure, all people charged with offenses will be eligible for release on personal recognizance — a promise that they will show up in court for their trial. The court can still seek a pretrial detainment in certain criminal cases, but they can’t levy a monetary requirement.
“Someone’s experience with the criminal justice system should not vary based on their income level,” said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in a statement.
California and New York have taken some steps to curb cash bail, but Illinois’ measure is unique in that it completely abolishes the use of cash bail. The legislation was originally passed by Democratic legislators in 2021, then ordered unconstitutional by a circuit court judge in 2022. On Tuesday, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the original measure, and it will now go into effect this fall.
Cleaning House (And Senate)
A newly proposed Senate bill would ban members of the executive and legislative branches from trading individual stocks. The bill would limit corruption in government by helping ensure that legislators prioritize public interest over their own personal profit.