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Week Ending in February 21, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday, February 18th, announced his budget plan for FY 2016, which begins July 1. For our analysis of that the proposal, as well as reaction from legislative leaders and related news coverage, please see the special newsletter we shared on Wednesday.

The University of Illinois, which faces a nearly $209 million (31.5%) reduction in its appropriation, will continue discussions with the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly, focusing on what cuts of this magnitude would mean for U of I students and the state we serve.

The Illinois Senate met Tuesday through Thursday last week, while the House was in session Wednesday through Friday. The House will reconvene Wednesday, Feb. 25, and the Senate will return on Tuesday, March 3.

Friday was the introduction deadline for Senate bills; the House’s deadline is this Friday, Feb. 27. In the Senate, 2,026 bills were introduced; the House has 2,926 bills thus far.

State Relations Weekly Legislation Report

Fiscal Year 2015 Deficit

On Friday, Senate President John Cullerton cast doubt on the idea that a resolution to the current fiscal year’s $1.5 billion deficit was imminent.

Following Governor Rauner’s Wednesday budget address, both the governor and House Speaker Michael Madigan had expressed optimism that a deal would be reached within a matter of days.

President Cullerton’s comments indicate that he believes the current and next year budgets should not be treated separately and that the governor’s decision not to propose any new sources of revenue would complicate the effort to reach a consensus on the Fiscal Year 2015 shortfall.

High Court Schedules Argument in Pension Case

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral argument over the constitutionality of a state law that overhauled the state’s public pension systems. The 2013 law was intended to reduce the state’s unfunded pension liability, estimated now at $111 billion, by curbing cost of living adjustments, among other provisions.

Last year, a Sangamon County circuit judge ruled the law unconstitutional. The high court has scheduled oral arguments for Wednesday, March 11.

Executive Appointments

Gov. Rauner has appointed Rep. Rich Brauer as assistant secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation. His replacement has not yet been named.

Governor Rauner made a number of other executive appointments on Friday.

Executive Order

On Tuesday, Gov. Rauner filed Executive Order 15-15 creating a Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force. The panel is tasked with “making specific recommendations to consolidate local governments and school districts with the goal of improving the delivery of government and education services at a lower cost to State taxpayers.”


The Senate reconvenes on Tuesday, March 3rd, and the House will return on Wednesday, Feb. 25th.

Committee Activity

The House and Senate will spend the next few weeks considering legislation at the committee level. Meanwhile, appropriations committees will begin reviewing and holding hearings on the governor’s proposed FY 2016 budget.

University of Illinois Committee Schedule

State Relations Weekly Legislation Report

2015 State Relations' Events, Save the Date
  • February 25th All Capitol U of I Caucus event (Brick house Downtown Springfield)
  • March 4th legislative basketball game watch party
  • March 5th Ag Day breakfast
  • March 10th Killeen meeting with all 4 Leaders and Governor’s Chief of Staff
  • March 10th U of I Caucus meeting, Sangamo Club
  • March 13th Labor Education Advisory Board (Presidents attending)
  • March 17th President Easter meeting with Appropriation Chairs
  • March 19th House and Senate Appropriations Hearing
  • March 30thto April 13th Legislative Spring Break-District visits
  • April 15th Student Day at the Capitol (U of I caucus invited to lunch)
  • May 5th PELP meetings with caucus Chief of Staffs
  • May 6th May Alumni in Government reception (U of I caucus invited to reception)
  • May 7th UI Day at the Capitol with BOT
  • May 31st Adjourn
99th General Assembly 2015 Legislative Calendar

Gov. Rauner is scheduled to give his Budget Address on February 18th. The Senate will be back in session on February 17th and the House on February 18th.

Senate Committee schedule

House Committee schedule

Illinois State Senate 2015 calendar

Illinois House of Representatives 2015 calendar

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