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Illinois Supreme Court consolidates county lawsuits challenging SAFE-T Act

The Illinois Supreme Court is consolidating 58 county-level lawsuits challenging the state's SAFE-T ACT criminal justice reform into one.

The court ordered Monday that the consolidated cases will be heard in Kankakee County.

A bipartisan group of state's attorneys and sheriffs around the state are suing the governor, attorney general, and state legislative leaders. They want the SAFE-T Act declared unconstitutional. That includes law enforcement officials in Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton, and Knox counties.

Proponents of the SAFE-T Act say the lawsuits are politically charged and based on shaky legal arguments.

Many of the SAFE-T Act's reforms are already in effect. Among the most controversial aspects of the law is the implementation of the end of cash bail on January 1, 2023.

The legislature is poised to make so-called clarifications to the law, though it remains unclear which specific changes the Democrats who control the General Assembly and governor's office will ultimately back.

The state's attorney offices in Kankakee, Will, Kendall, Vermilion, Sangamon, and McHenry counties will lead the litigation team.

Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.