SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Illinois lawmakers approved a package of public safety proposals meant to slow a spike in crime, provide more money to police, expand jurisdiction powers for prosecutors, and create a new felony for organized retail theft.

One year after passing the Safe-T Act, a bill that Republicans and some law enforcement officials claim drove scores of police into retirement, Democrats committed much more money to police recruitment efforts.

“It’s still a battle for law enforcement. It’s still battle for us to recruit good people into well paying and positions that have good benefits,” Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said. “But it’s something that we will constantly work on. And we’re always looking for the best people.”

Campbell said the increased funding for law enforcement is appreciated, but said the political implications are transparent.

“It’s obviously an election year, and again, this is a mistake that was made in a non-election year that they’re now trying to fix,” Campbell said. “What I don’t like is the political tone.”

The upcoming November election is exposing rifts within the Democratic party on how to respond to the surge in crime. Progressives prefer to move forward with their policies of the past year, but more moderate Democrats pushed broader police funding and powers for prosecutors.

Several Republicans voted for the funding increases for police in the Democratic agenda, but continued their election year assault, calling the lack of tougher penalties “soft on crime.”

“A lot of these proposals, you’re gonna see some support from Republicans,” Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said. “The issue that exists is that the Democratic proposals are not in any way, actually holding criminals accountable for their actions.”

House Democrat Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) said Democrats are being “smart on crime.”

Gordon-Booth is leading the charge on a much more long term investment for the state in stopping crime. Her plan would create a co-responder model between law enforcement and behavioral health professionals.

“When I think about what’s smart on crime, it’s what are root cause issues,” Gordon-Booth said. “How do we hold people accountable for their behavior? We want to be sure we get the right person for the right crimes.”

Attorney General Kwame Raoul lobbied lawmakers to approve a bill that targets organized retail theft “smash-and-grab” crimes. The bill would allow prosecutors to charge suspects across county lines, and would also enhance penalties by creating a new felony.

Smash-and-grab robberies where the crews leave as fast as they arrive are causing problems for retailers all over the state. This bill creates a new Class 2 felony charge for those who commit organized retail crime. It also allows State’s Attorneys to prosecute these crimes across county lines. If somebody were to steal something in Cook County, and then try to sell it in Sangamon County, the Sangamon County State’s Attorney could press charges for both crimes.

“Organized retail crime robs our communities of tax dollars, threatens the safety of employees and customers, and puts our communities at risk of further crime including illegal firearm purchases, human trafficking and terrorism,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. “By passing this measure, Illinois lawmakers are sending a message to criminals that these brazen thefts will not be tolerated and they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The Attorney General could also choose to take cases of organized retail theft to a state-wide grand jury.

The increased powers for prosecutors and the creation of a new felony led to some opposition from progressive Democrats. The final version of the bill downgraded the new charge from a class 1 felony to a class 2.

The lesser penalties were enough to get the support needed from Democrats, but also led some Republicans to vote against the bill.

Republicans called the policies election year gimmicks.

Bennett called them cynics, saying that lawmakers were doing their jobs by listening to their constituents.

“I think the cynic would see any positive thing that comes out of this building this year as something that only happen because it’s election,” Bennett said. “Fact is there’s a good reason that we run for election, we should be getting out, talk to our constituents asking what they want.”