Action Alert: Disability Advocate Witness Slips Needed for CESSA, Money Bond Reform


October 19, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Action Alert: Disability Advocate Witness Slips Needed for CESSA, Money Bond Reform

[Quick link to take action]

Tomorrow, the Illinois legislature will hold a special joint Senate-House committee hearing focused on bail reform and alternatives to police response in emergency situations. During this hearing, the legislators will hear about the Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA), also known as HB 5009/SB3449. As a reminder, the goal of CESSA is to make sure that in Illinois, there is a 911-level option for dispatch of non-police responders to assist people with disabilities in mental or behavioral crisis statewide. The bill was developed by the young Black and Brown advocates in Access Living’s racial justice organizing group, Advance Your Leadership Power (AYLP).

The legislators will also hear from advocates who have been working to end the use of money bond. This effort is an important opportunity to stop penalizing people by keeping them in jail just because they are poor. Since many people kept in jail are not only disabled but also poor, ending the use of money bond is relevant as a disability/poverty issue.

We need your help:

We are asking for people to file electronic witness slips before 1 pm Central time on Tuesday, October 20 to show support for alternatives to police response (like CESSA) and the end of money bond. An electronic witness slip is a way of showing that the public has an opinion about an issue; a large number of witness slips can help demonstrate matters of public importance.

To file a witness slip:

  1. Go to this link
  2. Fill out the form with your information. Note that most fields are mandatory. If you do not officially represent a firm or organization, please write “SELF.”
  3. For position, please click “PROPONENT.”
  4. For testimony, choose “record of appearance only.”
  5. To submit your slip, click “create slip”.

(Thanks to the Coalition to End Money Bond for sharing these following instructions!)

Our hope is that our Illinois legislators will recognize the critical need for these reforms in all communities across our state. The lives of thousands of Black, brown, disabled and otherwise marginalized people are at stake.

Please share this action alert with fellow concerned Illinoisans today.