Week Ending March 6, 2015
The Illinois General Assembly adjourned last Thursday following a full week of committee action. Three weeks remain to consider substantive legislation in committee. Both chambers return to session at noon on Tuesday, March 10.
State Relations Weekly Legislation Report
Filing Deadline Sees 6,167 Bills Submitted for Consideration
The filing deadline was Friday, February 27, and by the close of business members had turned in 4,140 House bills and 2,027 Senate bills for their colleagues to look at. Not all of these bills will get out of committee for full House consideration. Some filings, such as appropriations bills and resolutions, will continue after the deadline.
Committees have three more weeks, until March 27, to look at the bills filed before the deadline. Bills that fail to meet this deadline can be worked on by their sponsors and other interested parties for possible future action in the 2016 spring session. A bill needs to be carefully looked at before it becomes a law. The status of bills filed in the Illinois House and Senate can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website.
Thank you to everyone who has helped State Relations review and comment on legislation as it is introduced. This has helped keep us organized and able to respond quickly on behalf of the University.
No Resolution on Fiscal Year 2015 Deficit; Work Continues on FY 2016
There is still no agreement between the governor and legislative leaders on how to deal with the Fiscal Year 2015 $1.6 billion budget shortfall. Despite objections from the governor and Republican caucuses, Senate Democrats advanced their own plan, which gives Governor Rauner the ability to sweep $580 million from certain special funds; this figure, however, only covers about one-third of the current deficit. The proposal was filed as Senate Amendment # 1 to Senate Bill 274. The measure, which passed committee along partisan lines, is pending before the full Senate.
Appropriations committee in both chambers are now reviewing individual agency budgets and hearing testimony from key stakeholders regarding the impacts of the governor’s proposed cuts for Fiscal Year 2016. Hearings will continue for the next several weeks. President Easter and other U of I leaders will testify on behalf of the University of Illinois in both the House and the Senate on March 19th.
The General Assembly’s fiscal arm, the Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability, issued a monthly revenue update detailing state fund receipts through February.
Among the highlights:
- Base revenues declined by $347 million, reflecting lower income tax rates in effect since Jan. 1
- Federal funding sources fell for the eighth consecutive month and are down by $676 million to this point in Fiscal Year 2015
- Illinois ended 2014 with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.2%, significantly lower than 2013’s year-end 8.6%, but higher than the US’s overall 5.6%. Nationally, Illinois’ unemployment rate was 35th, a marked improvement from its second-to-last ranking the year before.
Organized Labor Challenges Gov. Rauner's Executive Orders and Lawsuits
The Illinois AFL-CIO and 26 other unions representing state employees filed suit in state circuit court on Thursday to invalidate Governor Rauner’s Executive Order diverting “fair share” payments for non-union workers into a holding account while the governor challenges their validity in federal court.
University of Illinois Legislative Watch Party
On Wednesday, March 2nd, the broad legislative University of Illinois Caucus and others, gathered to watch the Urbana campus's Illini take on Nebraska in men’s basketball. Legislators, alumni, and staff joined in cheering on the Illini. It proved to be a successful event, and will hopefully help reinforce loyalty to the U of I (all of our campuses) throughout the Capitol.
The Senate and House both reconvene on Tuesday, March 10th.
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
- March 10th U of I Caucus meeting, Sangamo Club
- March 13th Labor Education Advisory Board (Presidents attending)
- 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
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