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Illinois Moves to Rein in Property Confiscation Laws

Flickr Creative Commons/Office of Public Affairs

Illinois legislators are joining a national flurry of efforts to curb laws that allow police to confiscate property even if the owner isn't convicted of a crime.  The contentious practice permits law enforcement to permanently seize vehicles, cash and other property associated with illegal activity and profit from it. The Illinois proposal would allow the Prairie State to join 12 other states in requiring a criminal conviction to formally confiscate assets.

A 2016 report says Illinois law enforcement collect $30 million in forfeited property annually.  But law enforcement advocates say civil forfeiture is about more than raising funds. They say it helps undermine criminal enterprises by cutting into their operating budget.

The proposal would also establish public reporting requirements for enforcement agencies. It could receive a floor vote in the coming weeks.

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