Monday, February 13, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-4

BUDGET PACKAGE HITS SNAG IN SENATE
The Illinois State Senate this week began floor consideration of bills in the proposed budget compromise, but Senate Republicans said that they were not ready to vote on the components at that time. Three of the more non-controversial bills were approved with all Democrat votes: SB 3 on the consolidation of townships, SB 8 dealing with procurement reform, and SB 10 regarding municipal taxes. But when it came to the first contentious issue, SB 11 that would reform the pension laws, there were not enough Democrats to carry the vote. SB 11 was defeated on an 18-29-10 vote.

Senate Republicans stated that since all of the budget bills were connected by a clause that says that if one of the bills fail then all of the budget bills fail, they were not ready to offer affirmative votes until all of the legislation was in its final form. Negotiations are still ongoing regarding the Workers’ Compensation Act reform and language has yet to be introduced on school funding reform. With that, the Republican Senate leadership urged its members to place “present” votes on the budget bill package.

Though the defeat of one of the “grand bargain” bills caused a stir in the Capitol on Wednesday, leadership from both Senate caucuses insist that the deal is not dead and that the budget compromise will still be approved by the Senate. There still has been no indication from House leadership on the grand bargain package prospects in that chamber.

Regarding the school funding reform bill, the Senate Education Committee held a “subject matter only” hearing Thursday on the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission report. Secretary of Education Dr. Elizabeth Purvis presented to the committee about the Commission’s findings and recommendations, but was chastised by some panel members because there is no legislation drafted with the Commission’s plan.

Next Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his annual Budget Address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly. This will further set the stage for budget discussions and could affect the status of the Senate budget compromise proposal.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-4, including information on other education related bills under consideration by the General Assembly.