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Illinois Senate Republicans renew calls for hearings with Prisoner Review Board appointees

Terri Bryant

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Senate Republicans are still upset that the Executive Appointments Committee has not confirmed Gov. JB Pritzker's Prisoner Review Board members.

Senators voted unanimously twice last week asking the committee to approve the board members. However, the Executive Appointments Committee met Monday and the controversial Prisoner Review Board members didn't appear for approval.

"How much longer is the state legislature gonna sit by while Governor Pritzker, the most dangerous governor in America, has appointees who are unaccountable to the legislature," said Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville). "Who has appointees who are releasing people on the streets of this state that we can't find in some instances. Cop killers, sexual assault, rapists, child molesters, being released and yet the people doing that, won't appear before the state Senate."

Sen. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) felt it's dangerous to have let this situation go on for so long. She argues it could be harmful to Illinois residents.

"They are actively releasing people from prison right now," said Bryant. "They're actively members of the Prisoner Review Board and they've never been confirmed. Seventy-one percent of the actual board has never come before the Senate for confirmation. That's unconscionable."

Democrats argue they're following the constitutional obligation

Sen. Steve McClure (R-Springfield) also felt that something needs to be done sooner. He said these board members receive large paychecks to decide the fate of criminals.

"They're being paid $90,000," said McClure. "I mean think about that. You let somebody go who killed a 16-year-old out on release from prison. You're getting paid $90,000 to let these people go and have no regard at all for the families of the victims?"

Sen. Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) released a statement following Monday's hearing. She said the Executive Appointments Committee is operating well within Senate rules. Murphy noted the committee is meeting its constitutional responsibility to confirm appointees within 60 days of nomination.

Murphy said her Republican colleagues chose to politicize the process, but they are well aware the procedure is routine.

"The Prisoner Review Board is charged with making parole determinations independently, and to involve them in this shameless display of partisanship is inappropriate and dangerous," Murphy stated.

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Ali Rasper

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