Ill. bill would limit law enforcement’s ability to pull over drivers for various traffic offenses

The bill would prevent officers from pulling over motorists for reasons such as driving with an expired registration sticker, various equipment failures and driving without a seat belt


The Supreme Court of Illinois building at Capitol Avenue and 2nd Street in Springfield on Oct. 29, 2022. (Todd Panagopoulos/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Todd Panagopoulos/TNS

By Ben Singson
Jacksonville Journal-Courier, Ill.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A proposed law that would limit police’s ability to pull over drivers for various traffic offenses has already drawn flak from law enforcement and state legislators.

House Bill 4603 would prevent Illinois law enforcement from pulling over motorists for reasons such as driving with an expired registration sticker, driving without a registration plate or sticker, several kinds of equipment failures and driving without a seatbelt, among others. Evidence recovered during a stop for any of those reasons would be inadmissible in a court of law, even if it was given with the driver’s consent.

The bill was filed Monday by Rep. Justin Slaughter, D- Chicago, and has not had any action taken on it as of Tuesday.

Under the bill, officers would still be allowed to stop drivers for speeding or improper lane usage if either constituted a misdemeanor or felony offense. Illinois law now says driving 26-35 mph over the speed limit is a class B misdemeanor, while driving over 35 mph is a Class A misdemeanor.

HB4603 has received criticism from both law enforcement and legislators since it was filed Monday. Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen said he “vehemently oppose[d]” the bill as well as “any other law that puts the citizens of Greene County in danger.”

“If this bill becomes law, as proposed,” McMillen said, “it will further tie the hands of law enforcement officers across the state, and prevent us from protecting the citizens of our jurisdictions.”

Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R- Murrayville, called the bill a “bad idea” that “speaks for itself.” He believed the bill would not make it to the floor of the House of Representatives, though he did not discount the possibility as a lot of “ignorant legislation” had made its way through both the House and Senate. If it did make it to the floor, he said he would be speaking up against it.

“I would hope that cooler heads would prevail,” Davidsmeyer said.

Illinois Sheriffs Association Executive Director Jim Kaitschuk said he was “taken aback and extremely concerned” about the bill, and he recommended that sheriffs part of the association to oppose it.

Not being able to pull people over for certain offenses, as well as evidence pulled from those stops being rendered inadmissible, would make it more difficult for police officers to do things like track down a stolen vehicle or catch on to a greater crime like murder or trafficking, he said.

“I just don’t understand it,” Kaitschuk said. “It is truly perplexing to me why we would have a bill introduced of this nature.”

Slaughter was unavailable Tuesday for comment.


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