Week Ending February 27, 2015
The Illinois House met in session Wednesday and Thursday last week, and the chamber cancelled the session scheduled for Friday. The Senate did not meet last week.
The House and Senate both reconvene Tuesday, March 3. Legislative committees have four weeks remaining to consider substantive bills.
State Relations Weekly Legislative Report
Negotiations continue toward a possible solution to the state budget deficit for the current fiscal year, FY 2015, which ends June 30. The deficit is estimated at $1.5 billion. Gov. Bruce Rauner has sought the power to tap dedicated funds with surpluses and shift dollars among various budget lines to which they were originally appropriated. Democratic General Assembly leaders have thus far been reluctant to grant the governor such far-reaching authority.
On Friday, the governor’s budget office sent a memo to state grant recipients informing them that all non-essential FY 2015 General Revenue Fund grants were suspended, except for those that involve federal dollars. The University is trying to determine what this means for the state grants received by each campus.
Moody's Says Budget Plan Will Be 'Difficult to Enact'
Moody’s, the credit rating agency, on Tuesday issued a statement saying Gov. Rauner’s budget plan for FY 2016 – a plan that calls for billions of dollars in cuts to spending – will be “difficult to enact” due to likely opposition from the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democratic supermajorities in both chambers.
“Many of the Republican governor's proposals, we believe, will face strong opposition from Democrats, who retain control over both legislative chambers,” Moody's said, according to a news report. “This political landscape may make it difficult to enact even a few elements of the governor's proposal, much less the entire plan to achieve balance without raising revenues.”
Tim Butler Picked to Replace Rep. Rich Brauer
On Saturday, GOP county chairs choose Tim Butler, the district chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), to replace state Rep. Rich Brauer (R-Petersburg) as 87th District state representative. Gov. Rauner appointed Brauer as assistant secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Legislators and staff gather to watch Illinois Men's Basketball game
On Wednesday, February 25th, the University of Illinois Caucus gathered to watch Illinois take on Iowa in men’s basketball. Legislators, alumni, and staff joined in cheering on the Illini, and, despite the tough loss, the event was successful.
Lt. Governor Sanguinetti at UIUC
The Lt. Governor stopped by campus to visit the Latino student center (La Casa). The Lieutenant Governor, La Casa Director Gio Perez, and Extension Director George Czpar discussed how the proposed budget cuts would be a challenge for the University. The Lt. Governor was also interested in Extension programs to recruit new Latino 4-H members in metro areas and the Hispanic health initiative.
The Senate and House both reconvene on Tuesday, March 3rd.
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 Legislative Report
HB403 would end tuition waivers for children of state university employees. We are actively opposing this bill. We are working in a coalition with the other public universities to voice our opposition to legislators. Scheduled to be heard in House State Government Committee on Wednesday, March 4th at 1:00pm.
2015 State Relations' Events, Save the Date
- March 4th legislative basketball game watch party
- March 5th Ag Day breakfast
- March 10th U of I Caucus meeting, Sangamo Club
- 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 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
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