Quinn is considering a proposal passed by the General Assembly that
would mandate that county clerks collect new fees from guilty
defendants in felonies, misdemeanors, traffic violations and civil
The proceeds would go toward a new fund specifically
created for the Illinois State Police.
The Illinois House passed
SB 3695 unanimously, while Senate Democrats pushed the proposal
through on a mostly partisan vote.
State Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, a former FBI agent, said the
new fees would provide a boost to the state agency.
"It will generate approximately $22 million a year," Sacia said.
"That will be put in a lockbox fund to assist in funding the
Illinois State Police officers who were scheduled to be laid off."
The new funding source could help the ISP maintain its current
level of state troopers.
In March, ISP acting director Jonathon Monken testified to
lawmakers that because of the state's budget woes his agency was
considering laying off nearly one-fourth of the approximately 2,000
state troopers on patrol.
Monken added that his agency had lined up five of the ISP's 21
district offices for closure -- Carmi, Litchfield, Des Plaines,
Pecatonica and Macomb.
County clerks who are responsible for setting and collecting the
fees are concerned that funds are being siphoned away from local
governments that are also struggling in the difficult economy.
Barbara Brown, circuit court clerk for Randolph County, said
redirecting funds to the state police will make it difficult for
local police departments around the state.
"By the time you get to the point where the money gets
distributed to local arresting agencies, these aren't large sums of
money they're receiving anyway," Brown said. "And everybody is
having to make every dollar count, so when you lose even a small
amount of your revenue flow, that's impacting those municipal
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State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, a former Lee County sheriff who
served 20 years, said he and many of his Senate colleagues voted
against the proposal because they realized the bill could have
unintended consequences on local counties.
"When the bill came to the floor for a vote, there was a concern
about it taking money away from the locals, and that was of
concern," Bivins said, "I think that's why it garnered a lot of ‘no'
votes on that particular bill."
Quinn has not given an indication on when he would consider the
new ISP fund, but Sacia expects the governor to sign the proposal
"Gov. Quinn said wherever the cuts are going to be, I'm not going
to cut public safety," Sacia said. "So we pass legislation solely
for the purpose of keeping the state police. I would be very, very
disappointed if we didn't do that."
Statehouse News; By KEVIN LEE and JENNIFER WESSNER]