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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Backers hope IL 'no cash bail' makes justice equitable, less expensive

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023   

A set of controversial reforms to Illinois' cash bail system went into effect this week, changing a decades-old system of holding people in jail until their trial begins when they can't afford to pay bail.

Backers of the change hope it will eliminate a hardship which has fallen primarily on marginalized communities. Social justice groups, some elected officials and others have hailed the Pretrial Fairness Act as a breakthrough.

Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, president of the Senate, said it should help thousands of people who often lost their jobs, housing and even custody of children because they couldn't afford bail.

"Risk-based detention takes effect, people who -- I will remind you, are considered innocent in the eyes of the law -- will now forfeit their freedom based on the threat they pose," Harmon explained. "They will not forfeit their freedom because they lack the cash to buy it."

Opponents of the act, including prosecutors and other law enforcement officials, warned it could put dangerous criminals back on the street. The new law gives judges more latitude to look at a suspect's background and other factors to consider their likelihood of committing more crimes if they return to the community.

Implementation of the act was delayed several months by a court challenge, which was recently resolved. Under the previous system, thousands of people faced financial and family consequences when they could not afford to pay for their release from jail.

Rep. Chris Welch, D-Westchester, Speaker of the House, predicted the measure will help keep families together.

"Today is the day that we stop criminalizing poverty," Welch emphasized. "Today is the day we end a system that keeps you in jail solely because you lack resources."

The Pretrial Fairness Act is part of a sweeping package of criminal justice reforms approved by the Illinois General Assembly in 2021. The law contains a number of changes affecting policing and the court system, including pretrial detention and bail, sentencing and corrections.


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The Mecca Hills, southeast of the Coachella Valley, are part of the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument. (Bureau of Land Management)

Social Issues

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California tribes are headed to the White House Tribal Nations Summit tomorrow, where they will ask Congress and the Biden administration to create …


Environment

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A new report shows Maine is exceeding the home-heating goals set forth in its ambitious four-year climate plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions…

Social Issues

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By India Gardener / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. According to Attorney …


An analysis of government data by the health policy group KFF estimates that nearly one in 10 adults, or roughly 23 million people nationwide, owe significant medical debt. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

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It's estimated that one in three Kentuckians struggles to pay medical bills, and the issue continues to be a driving factor in personal bankruptcy …

Health and Wellness

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A new program in Utah wants to help first responders learn to recognize and work through their traumatic life events through horsemanship. This …

Sixteen states have Employment First executive orders, and 32 states have State Agency Administrative policies/regulations in place - all in support of Employment First, according to the APSE. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

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A coalition of Nevada groups is behind a statewide effort to make Nevada an Employment First state. That would align the state with a U.S. Labor …

Social Issues

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Fewer college students are taking foreign language courses, and a new report warns this could affect how well students are prepared for a globalized …

Environment

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Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new Farm Bill will include key benefits regarding land access so they can continue to pursue farming passionately…

 

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