Friday, March 18, 2016

Alliance Legislative Report (99-39)

The Illinois Senate was in session this week and continued the consideration of Senate bills in committees. The House of Representatives has been off the last two weeks and both chambers will be out of session for the next two weeks. The House returns to the Capitol on April 4 while the Senate reconvenes on April 5. Lawmakers are then scheduled to work steadily throughout April and May.

There was no apparent movement among Governor Bruce Rauner and the Democrat leadership this week on any budget issues. However, before joining the House of Representatives on spring break, the Senate voted 39-18 to appropriate an additional $4 billion for the current fiscal year. The money in Senate Bill 2059 would be earmarked for higher education and other state expenditures that have gone without funding during this extended time without a budget.

As has been the case with many other appropriations bills over the past few months, the Senate Democrats stood by SB 2059 saying that it is what was needed to ensure that state services can continue. On the other side of the aisle, Republicans responded that SB 2059 did nothing more than add to the already substantial backlog of bills in the state of Illinois. Senate Bill 2059 will now go the House where it is unknown whether or not it will be acted upon.