Looking back on 2014, the University of Illinois fared well at the state level. We were successful in holding the appropriationFY15 State Appropriations flat, and in these times a “flat” budget is a win. We were able to help pass a number of legislative measures that will help advance the mission of higher education. In addition, we were able to stop numerous pieces of legislation that would have had a negative effect on the University and our statewide mission.
2014 State Relations End of Year Legislative Report
In another tough budget year, the University of Illinois appropriation remained flat. A summary of the University of Illinois FY15 budget can be found here. Thank you to the Office of Planning & Budgeting for this analysis and for their continued work.
As a result of U of I support, a procurement reform was passed this past year. Effective January 1, 2015, Public Act 98-1076 will enable the following procurement exemptions:
- Procurement of FDA-regulated supplies
- Procurement of medical services necessary for the delivery of care and treatment at medical, dental, or veterinary teaching facilities
- Procurement expenditures for placements of students in externships, practicums, field experiences, medical residencies, and rotation
- Exemption for contracts for programming and broadcast license rights for university-operated radio and television stations.
U of I and Northwestern University partnered to successfully pass legislation to recognize the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) as an eligible accreditor of doctoral programs. PCSAS arose in response to growing concerns about the nation’s mental health system and its ability to respond to increased demand for services. In the state of Illinois there are two PCSAS-accredited programs – the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (which holds the distinction of being the first program accredited by PCSAS) and Northwestern University. The eligibility for licensure in Illinois will help Illinois retain these top students to fill important mental health positions in the state upon their graduation from the PCSAS-accredited programs. Such license eligibility will also attract graduates from other top doctoral programs accredited by PCSAS to come to Illinois. Finally, it will help support the efforts of faculty at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University to improve the mental health system of Illinois by enhancing understanding, assessment, and treatment of mental illness.
The University of Illinois worked closely with Rep. Pritchard to support legislation to strengthen distance learning, or State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The adaption of SARA will result in: significant cost savings to the University, a simplified process for approval, a uniform set of standards for determining physical presence within a state, a more effective method of ensuring quality and integrity of online offerings for students in Illinois, and oversight by the “home” state of Illinois.
The University of Illinois took a leadership role in defeating a number of bills in the General Assembly that could adversely affect public universities. One example was legislation to create a centralized grant management office that would have required that our federal and private grants be subject to additional state rules and regulations. U of I led the effort in negotiating a new bill in which federal and private grants to higher education will not be affected. In addition, we will have representation on the Single Audit Commission to ensure that any further rules passed have input from the University of Illinois.
As a whole, the University of Illinois had an overall successful year in the State Capitol. The goal is to continue to build on this success and have an even better 2015.
The inaugural meeting of the U of I caucus took place on November 19 in Springfield after the first day of veto session. The meeting was hosted by the four chairs of the 2015 U of I Caucus - Senator Kotowski, Senator Rose, Representative Sandack, and Representative Zalewski. They were joined by their fellow alumni legislators for a short and productive meeting.
Moving forward, the caucus will meet once a month during session in a closed meeting to discuss University of Illinois issues and priorities, while offering advice on how we can work better on campus, around the state, and in the Capitol. The goal of this Caucus will be to have better representation of the entire University of Illinois in state government, by loyal alumni legislators. We also plan to host open receptions in partnership with Illinois Connections and the Alumni Association for alumni working under the Capitol Dome.
The office hopes that 2015 is a big year for the University of Illinois. As we welcome Dr. Killeen, as the 20th President of the University of Illinois, we will also welcome all newly elected state officials, including Governor-elect Rauner. We plan to work closely with the 99th Illinois General Assembly and the 2015 U of I Caucus.
The University of Illinois looks forward to partnering with Governor-elect Rauner and the on, among other things, improving the economy of the state of Illinois. We have already engaged the Governor-elect, his staff, and the transition team in a number of conversations regarding issues important to the University of Illinois and will continue to do so.
The University of Illinois legislative priorities will include but not be limited to: stable appropriations, capital improvements, and regulatory relief with the goal of improving our partnerships and relationships with associations, industry, and alumni throughout the state.
In 2015, we plan to broadenour work and partner with students, alumni, stakeholders, and industries throughout the state to advocate on behalf of the University. The U of I will be a partner in promoting economic development and state excellence. Our belief is that what is good for the University of Illinois is good for the state. We will continue to highlight the strong return on investment that we provide to state government.
We will continue to tell the story of the University and the world class students, faculty, research, programs, and staff. State funding for higher education is an investment in Illinois’ future. By working closely with the General Assembly, both the University of Illinois and the state of Illinois can capitalize on this investment for the good of everyone.
2015 State Relations' Events
- U of I Caucus meetings (TBD): February, April, May
- U of I all Capitol caucus event (TBD): March
- Legislator basketball game: March 4, 2015
- UIS alumni in government breakfast: March 11, 2015
- Alumni Association Student Lobby Day: (TBD)
- Alumni in Government Reception: May
- Alumni and Board of Trustees Lobby Day: May 7, 2015
99th General Assembly 2015 Legislative Calendar
Governor-elect Rauner will officially be sworn in on Monday, January 12, 2015, and the 99th General Assembly will follow with their inauguration on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. The Illinois House of Representative’s ceremony will take place on the UIS campus.
Illinois State Senate 2015 calendar
Illinois House of Representatives 2015 calendar
The Office of Government Relations would like to thank everyone for your continued help and support. We would not be able to do our job without relying on the subject matter expertise of others. The willingness of the campuses and University Administration departments to help review legislation, flag issues, give advice is very important, and detrimental to our office. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you. 2015 looks to be another fun year ahead, and we also thank you in advance for your help. Happy holidays!