State Relations Update: February 19th, 2016
Governor's Budget Address
Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his second Budget Address this week. He offered a two-path approach to address the state's budget deficit. The first path is to include structural reforms. The second is to enact the Unbalanced Budget Response Act that would grant the Governor authority to cut spending. To watch the Governor's address, please click here.
In his speech, the Governor made no mention of higher education. His actual budget would assume a 30% decrease in FY16 for the University of Illinois, $193.66 million less than FY15. For FY17, 10% would be added to our budget, a decrease of $129.4 million or 20% below the revised FY 2015. The Governor’s budget includes a new IBHE line for University performance funding of $50 million; however other grant lines have been eliminated, which means a net increase of $44.7M. In addition, among the Governor’s proposed pension reforms is that starting July 1, 2016, employers will pay the pension cost for employees making $180,000 or higher (the governor’s salary is $180,000).
The University of Illinois plans to continue its advocacy work with our coalitions, including the other public universities in Illinois with the hope of the Governor and the General Assembly coming to a compromise soon.
On Thursday, the Senate delivered SB 2043, which appropriated $721 million for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and community college programs to the Governor. He has sixty days to sign or veto the legislation. The Governor's Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) opposes the measure, saying that the bill would add $721 million to the deficit, increase the bill backlog by the same amount, and delay payments to providers, vendors, and contractors. The Governor is expected to veto the bill.
Public and private university and community college students throughout the state rallied in both Chicago and Springfield this week, highlighting the need for the state to appropriate the MAP grants to our students.
IL Coalition to Invest in Higher Education
The Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education has been hosting a number of press conferences throughout the state. The coalition includes all public universities, private universities, community colleges, labor unions, business, and municipalities in collaboration with Illinois higher education stakeholders and partners. The goal of the coalition is to illustrate to decision makers that state support is paramount to our efforts to provide a quality education to a growing number of students and economic vitalization throughout the state. These events are bringing this diverse group together in order to stress the need for the state to invest in higher education and how far reaching the budget impasse effects are reaching. You can follow that press coverage for all of these events here.
University of Illinois 2021 Initiative
We continue to work with the U of I caucus to finalize language to be introduced under the University of Illinois 2021 Initiative. Rep. Zalewski has introduced HB6188 and Senator Cunningham has introduced SB2973. Each will service as vehicles for our final language.
Student Board of Trustees Requirement Bill
SB2204 passed Senate Higher Education Committee this week. This legislation will make a slight change to the University of Illinois student Board of Trustee requirement Students would be required to meet any one of the following factors (instead of all three): evidence of the student’s Illinois residency for at least six months; evidence of student’s current, valid Illinois driver’s license; evidence of the student’s valid Illinois voter registration. This will enlarge the pool of eligible students and change requirements that have discouraged students from running in the past.
U of I Legislative Watch Party
On February 16th, the University of Illinois hosted our second annual legislative watch party. We had special guests -- Dee Brown, Chancellor Wilson, and Provost Feser -- join legislators, staff, and supporters to watch Illinois beat Rutgers. Food was donated by UIAA and drinks were picked by the IL Credit Union League and the American Beer Distributors.
Both the House and Senate will return to session on March 1st.
The Senate and House members have been introducing legislation in the past few weeks. OGR reviews each bill as introduced and will respond accordingly.
A list of all bills being tracked by the University of Illinois can be found here: State Relations Weekly Report Legislation
2016 State Relations' Events, Save the Date
- 3/1: Illinois Legislative Agriculture Day
- 3/1: IBHE meeting
- 3/2: UIS in government breakfast
- 3/2: Student Lobby Day
- 3/2: Dinner with the Latino Caucus
- 3/3: Breakfast with the IL Legislative Black Caucus
- 3/17: Senate Appropriations hearing
- 4/12: Dinner with UI Caucus hosted by UIAA
- Alumni and student visits to the Capitol during session: 4/13, 4/30
- 5/18: Alumni Lobby Day
- 5/18: Alumni in Government event
- Alumni and student visits to the Capitol during session: 5/4, 5/11, 5/25
99th General Assembly 2016 Legislative Calendar
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