In the final hours of the scheduled spring session, the Senate considered a wildly unbalanced and bloated state budget approved by House Democrats a week earlier. Senate Bill 2048 originally was passed by the Senate on May 5 as a bipartisan higher education funding plan, but it was altered in the House to include an entire state budget plan. The House Democrat proposal was $7.5 billion out of balance and would spend $40 billion. It would be the largest and most expensive state budget in Illinois
Despite tentative optimism heading into the weekend before the scheduled May 31 legislative adjournment that a compromise could be reached on a balanced state budget and economy-boosting, job-creating structural reforms, Democrat leaders continued to slow-walk the process, stymying progress and leading the General Assembly to once again leave Springfield in May without an agreement.
To ensure schools can open in the fall, Senate Republicans introduced Senate Bill 3434, which would provide a full-year funding for elementary and secondary schools, increasing state funding for education by $226 million. It is an affordable plan and includes full funding for General State Aid claims for the first time in seven years.
It was unfortunate that the Republican initiatives were not considered in the last days of the scheduled session. While it’s disappointing the General Assembly failed for the second year in a row to approve a state budget by May 31, there are hopeful signs of an eventual resolution to Illinois’ budget crisis.
State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) took a stand for suburban students and parents this week by co-sponsoring legislation that would guarantee Illinois schools would have the funds needed to open their doors this fall.
Popular online fantasy sports gaming websites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, drew attention on May 19 when an effort to regulate daily fantasy sports in Illinois passed by a narrow margin in the Illinois Senate. However, the proposal’s future is uncertain—following the vote, a procedural maneuver was filed that placed the proposal on hold and prevented it from moving forward to the House.
A second attempt pushed by Democrat leaders to change the process of negotiating labor agreements was once again vetoed by Gov. Rauner on May 16.
Beginning this month, Illinois residents will get a newly designed driver’s license and a new process to obtain or renew their old one. Under the new process, called Central Issuance, customers at Secretary of State Driver Service facilities will no longer immediately be issued a new permanent driver’s license/ID card at the end of the application process.
Democrats pushed forward with yet another appropriation for MAP grants for college students, advancing legislation to the Governor over objections from Republicans who pointed out that the proposal once again lacks the revenue to actually fund the program.
Republican and Democrat legislative leaders met with the Governor this week to discuss the potential for compromise on the budget and reform proposals. As the state quickly approaches what would be a full fiscal year without a budget, some Democrat legislative leaders have indicated a balanced budget may never be approved.
Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation to provide $714 million to human services programs. The legislation was aimed at providing stopgap funding to help keep struggling services and providers keep their doors open.
Democrat Senators took advantage of confusion and misinformation to narrowly pass a bill they touted as the answer to the state’s broken school funding formula. But according to data released by the Illinois State Board of Education, the proposal would represent a windfall of approximately $750 million for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), while shuffling around the limited remaining dollars between the majority of the state’s school districts.
Manar’s school funding bill is now in the House, where it is not expected to see any action any time soon. In fact, just a couple hours before it passed the Senate, many downstate Democrat lawmakers held a press conference pushing the idea of fully funding the existing school funding formula for the first time in seven years. Senate Republicans and the Govenor have been advocating for that approach, saying it helps all schools right now, while giving lawmakers time to craft a real solution to th
Together, we feel compelled to share our disappointment with this Board’s rushed approval of the controversial 10-year contract that has outraged our constituents – the local taxpayers in District 15.
The House and Senate have approved legislation to expand access to epinephrine auto-injectors (epi-pens) to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, honoring Annie LeGere, a young Elmhurst girl who died in August 2015.