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October 2015 Update
Session Update and the FY 2016 Budget

Though there are no signs of progress on a new state budget, legislators continue to return to Springfield for session. University of Illinois representatives testified in support of state funding at a series of Senate Higher Education committees throughout the state in October. Both the House and Senate were in session on October 20th, but not a lot of substantive action was taken. Both Chambers plan to be back in session for the last time this year on November 10th.

University of Illinois Advocacy

As the state budget impasse enters the fifth month of fiscal year 2016, the University of Illinois has made strong efforts to garner public support for Illinois public higher education through a “crisis advocacy” initiative with other state universities. All nine public universities have joined together in reaching out to alumni, students, faculty/staff, parents, and other allies to contact state elected officials in support of state funding for higher education.

Recently, University of Illinois President Killeen led the other nine public university Presidents in drafting a letter to the Governor and four leaders. The group followed up this letter by meeting last week in Springfield with the legislative leaders and the Governor to make them aware of the strong negative impacts the state’s cut on higher education would have.

In addition, The University of Illinois Alumni Association’s grassroots advocacy network Illinois Connection and its members have been working with the U of I Office of Government Relations to host small district meetings with state legislators and alumni, highlighting the tremendous impact that the University has on the state and its economy. In addition, we have hosted a number of in district events to bring our alumni and U of I legislative caucus members together. We also are reaching out to our allies in business and labor to advocate on our behalf.

To date, the University of Illinois Alumni Association has sent out two state-wide calls to actions to our alumni and students. As the first call to action in the #fundhighered advocacy campaign, Illinois higher education stakeholders were encouraged to sign a statewide petition urging elected officials to make higher education a priority. This petition currently has around 7,500 signatures and growing.

On October 19, we staged a mass call-in day called “Light up the Lines,” where we asked alumni and students from all nine state universities to call legislators asking for their support of higher education. The following day, as legislators were back in Springfield for extended session, Illinois Connection and the University of Illinois hosted a student lobby day for all Illinois public university students to unite and advocate on behalf of Illinois higher education. We had over 300 students from around the state participating.

Although these efforts have been successful in organizing and getting the voice of higher education heard around the state, we are far from over. We plan to continue to keep the momentum going strong through our alumni, students, faculty/staff, allies, partners, and coalitions.   The University of Illinois will continue to lead these advocacy efforts to ensure that our state leaders understand that the future of the state depends on a strong public higher education system.

University of Illinois Legislative Report

The 2015 State Legislative Report is below, focusing on legislation that would specifically impact the University.   Bills continue to be sent to the governor- and OGR is tracking them and responding to legislators as needed.  If you have questions about specific legislation, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Government Relations for more information.

2015 State Legislative Report

Bills signed by the Governor

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