Legislation aimed at quelling racial profiling by police is one step closer to becoming permanent law.
The Illinois House Thursday voted 63-46 in favor of HB4442—legislation that would prolong the Traffic Stop Data Collection Act, which is set to expire in July 2015. The measure requires that police officers record the ethnicity of every driver they curb.
Originally spearheaded by President Barack Obama during his term as senator, with Rep. Monique Davis of Chicago, the law required the collection of all traffic stop data by Illinois enforcement agencies, over a three-year stretch beginning in 2004. It's since been refreshed several times by legislators.
Illinois State Police data show that random stops of black motorists have decreased since the law's inception—but black and Hispanic drivers are more likely than white motorists to have their vehicles searched, Associated Press reports.
"I wish this bill was not necessary," state Rep. Will Davis, a Homewood Democrat, said on the chamber floor Thursday. "But unfortunately, in some areas of this state, this does exist."
However, Chicago police officer and state Rep. Eddie Acevedo challenged Davis's viewpoint, saying the color of a driver's skin isn't of note to him before a stop.
"I pull them over because they're a bad guy," he said. "I think we've done that study long enough."
Many cops are against the permanent implementation of the act, noting the time committed to each officer filling out the forms, and possible inaccuracies due to misreading a driver's race. The American Civil Liberties Union touted the extension would be a "great policy victory for the state."
The legislation next heads to the Senate for consideration.