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OGR State Relations Newsletter: February 2, 2015
Week in Review

Illinois House members met in session on Wednesday, adopting the chamber’s rules for the 99th General Assembly and revising its committee structure.

The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, Feb. 3, and the House will return to session on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Also Wednesday, at noon Gov. Bruce Rauner will deliver his first State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature.

Two weeks later – on Wednesday, Feb. 18 – the governor is scheduled to again stand before lawmakers and propose a budget for FY 2016. Thereafter, the General Assembly’s deliberations over the state’s spending and revenue plan for the next fiscal year will begin in earnest.

Rauner Considers Proposals

In a series of recent public appearances, Gov. Rauner has previewed the themes likely to underscore his budget and policy proposals this spring.

  • In Champaign on Thursday, Rauner renewed his push for expansion of the state’s sales tax to cover services as well as goods.
  • In Decatur on Tuesday, Rauner proposed that communities be permitted to establish "right to work zones" to help facilitate “fewer taxes and regulations on businesses.” He criticized what he labeled as the negative effects of “forced unionization,” project labor agreements, and prevailing wage requirements on businesses and taxpayers. He also called for unspecified cuts to Medicaid and the state’s payroll in an effort to reduce state spending.  “People can choose whether they want to join a union or not,” Rauner said, according to a news report. “I'm not advocating that Illinois become a right to work state. I do not advocate that, but I do advocate local governments, local voters being able to decide for themselves whether to be right to work areas, right to work zones.”
  • On Jan. 22 in remarks before students at the University of Chicago, Rauner suggested cutting Medicaid spending and proposed other reforms that he said were necessary to implement “arguably the biggest turnaround in America today.”
Gubernatorial Appointments

Gov. Rauner continues to select agency heads and has appointed Wayne Rosenthal, a Republican state representative from Morrisonville, as director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Rosenthal’s successor in the 95th Representative District has not yet been named.

Gubernatorial Appointments

House Rules and Committee Changes

The House’s new rules include changes to the process of disapproving a governor’s executive order when that order contravenes a statute.

The House further approved changes to its standing and special committees, eliminating the following committees:

  • Mass Transit
  • Accountability & Administrative Review
  • Housing
  • Public Safety: Police and Fire Committees

The House created the following new committees and special committees:

  • Community College Access and Affordability
  • Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies
  • Elementary & Secondary Education: Charter School Policy
  • Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing Oversight
  • Judiciary-Civil
  • Judiciary-Criminal
  • Juvenile Justice & System Involved Youth
  • Intermodal Infrastructure
  • Renewable Energy & Sustainability
  • Special Needs Services
  • Youth and Young Adults

Changes from the Senate's 98th General Assembly's committee structure include:

  • Agriculture & Conservation Committee becomes Agriculture Committee
  • Commerce & Economic Development is a new committee
  • Energy Committee becomes Energy & Public Utilities Committee
  • Environment Committee becomes Environment & Conservation Committee
  • Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee is eliminated
  • Labor & Commerce Committee become Labor Committee
  • Public Pensions & State Investments Committee is eliminated
Important Dates for 2015 Spring Session

Feb. 4 – Governor’s State of the State Address
Feb. 6 – House and Senate Deadlines for Bill Drafting Requests
Feb. 18 – Governor’s Budget Address
Feb. 20 – Senate Deadline for Introduction of Bills
Feb. 27 – House Deadline for Introduction of Bills
March 27 – Senate and House Deadlines for Committee Consideration of Bills Originating in their Respective Chambers
March 30 to April 10 – General Assembly Spring Break
April 15 - Student Day at the Capitol
April 24 – Senate and House Deadlines for Third Reading of Bills Originating in their Respective Chambers
May 7 - UI Day at the Capitol with BOT
May 8 – House Deadline for Committee Consideration of Senate Bills
May 15 – Senate Deadline for Committee Consideration of House Bills
May 22 – Senate and House Deadlines for Third Reading of Bills Originating in the Opposite Chamber
May 31 – Scheduled Adjournment of Spring Legislative Session

U of I Bill Tracking: February 2, 2015