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WEEK IN REVIEW
 
Week Ending May 22, 2015

Illinois lawmakers completed their second-to-last week of regularly scheduled session with Democratic leaders far from any budget agreement with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Sunday, May 31, is the scheduled end of the spring legislative session. Thereafter, a three-fifths majority in each chamber is required to approve a budget or any other legislation with an immediate effective date.

We continue to work on bills that we are both opposing and supporting on the floor. Below are links to all of the bills we are tracking this session. A State Legislative Report Highlights is also below. These are bills that we are working on and/or keeping a close eye on for movement. You will see that we are working on a number of amendments, and have already stopped a number of bills that are not helpful to the University from moving forward.

Again, we appreciate the support and assistance from the subject matter experts on our campuses. If you have any questions on a specific piece of legislation, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Government Relations for more information.

State Legislative Report Highlights

State Relations Weekly Legislation Report

 
Budget Bills Introduced

Democratic leaders of the Illinois General Assembly on Monday filed a series of amendments representing their version of a budget for FY 2016. Committee hearings concerning these amendments began Monday afternoon and are expected to continue Tuesday.

HB4147 HFA1 contains the University of Illinois budget. On Monday evening, the amendment passed out of the House Higher Education Appropriations committee on a partisan roll call. The bill calls for a 6.5% cut to the University of Illinois.

The Democrats acknowledge that the approximately $36.3 billion spending plan assumes roughly $3 billion in revenue that the state does not currently anticipate. On Monday afternoon, House Speaker Michael Madigan held a news conference and called on GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner to work with Democrats to find new sources of revenue to support that level of spending. Speaker Madigan also noted that cuts would be necessary to balance the Democrats’ proposed budget. He said those cuts would occur “all through the budget” and, specifically, in the areas of human services, higher education, and general services.

Democratic leadership reportedly is “hopeful” that Gov. Rauner will work with them to identify the revenue necessary to fully fund the budget proposal. Areas slated for higher appropriations include K-­‐12 education, the Department of Corrections and the public retirement systems.

The Senate has scheduled hearings on some of the “Turnaround Agenda” bills for later this week. Below is a summary of the budget amendments filed Monday and the program areas to which they relate.

 
No Agreement on Budget or Governor Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda"

Gov. Rauner has maintained throughout the spring session that his “Turnaround Agenda” must be approved before he will consider authorizing new revenues to balance the budget in FY 2016. The revenue shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year is estimated at more than $6 billion, largely because of the reduction in the state’s income tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1. Democratic lawmakers, who generally oppose the core components of the “Turnaround Agenda,” have grown increasingly frustrated with what they perceive as the Rauner administration’s misplaced focus on passing his agenda – and in their view a coinciding lack of focus on negotiating a spending and revenue plan for the next fiscal year. For his part, the Governor contends that passing core components of his agenda are essential for creating the economic growth needed to naturally increase state revenues, balance the budget, and set the state on a fiscally responsible course.

Governor Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda,” is online. As articulated by the governor’s office, the key elements of that agenda are:

  • Term limits
  • Property tax freeze
  • Allow local control of ability to create “employee empowerment zones”, also known as “right to work”
  • Allow local control of contracting and bargaining in schools and local governments
  • Allow local control of competitive bidding on taxpayer-funded construction projects, opening the door to ending prevailing wage requirements
  • Pension reform
  • Workers’ compensation/tort/unemployment insurance reform
  • Ethics reform/end conflicts of interest in government

In recent days, there were indications Gov. Rauner may be prepared to compromise on certain elements of his agenda. On Thursday, May 14, he told the media he had “taken a number of things off the table” but did not specify which objectives he might be willing to forego.

And on Friday, Republican leaders in the House and Senate introduced measures representing various prongs of the governor’s agenda. Notably absent was any measure to implement local “right to work” zones – a proposal that has proved to be particularly divisive. The measures introduced Friday relate to:

 
WEEK AHEAD

The House and Senate both reconvene on May 18th and will hear bills from the opposite chamber and continue discussion on the FY16 budget.

State Relations Weekly Committee Schedule

 
2015 State Relations' Events, Save the Date
  • May 31st Adjourn
 
99th General Assembly 2015 Legislative Calendar

Senate Committee schedule

House Committee schedule

Illinois state Senate 2015 calendar

Illinois House of Representatives 2015 calendar

 
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