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Legislative update 8.28.15

8/28/2015
The General Assembly continues to meet weekly to discuss the issues facing our state, but the FY16 budget stalemate continues.

Here are the highlights of this week’s action:
 
SB 1229 vote expected early next week
The House is expected to vote on the override of Governor Rauner's politically-driven veto of SB 1229 on Wednesday, September 2. This union-supported legislation would give public employees the option to choose common-sense binding arbitration over Rauner’s attempts to force a lockout or strike.

Last week, the Illinois Senate voted 38-15 to override SB 1229. The Governor’s office is working frantically to convince Representatives to oppose the override, so it is critical that we continue to stand strong to ensure that the House overrides the veto as well. Watch your inbox for updates and be ready to act!

Pension committee deliberates Governor’s pension proposal
The House Personnel and Pensions Committee took testimony this week on Governor Rauner's proposal to give cities the power to declare bankruptcy as a way to cut employee labor and pension costs. The plan would jeopardize the retirement security of working families in Illinois. Legislators remain divided on the proposal, with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it. No vote was taken and no further hearings have been scheduled.

House committee approves measure to block change to child care assistance  
A House committee approved a SB 570, a measure passed by the Illinois Senate last week to stop the Governor's attempt to change the eligibility requirement for the state’s child care assistance program.
 
SB 570 would roll back Rauner’s order to disqualify about 90 percent of current low income participants from being eligible to receive the child care assistance they rely on. The Rauner administration used a secret emergency rule-making process to circumvent the General Assembly and avoid hearing public comments on the change.
 
The bill must still be approved by the full House, which could happen as early as next week.
 
In another blow to the state’s child care program, the Governor also ousted the head of that program less than a week after she testified that Rauner’s cuts to child care assistance would be "devastating" to working families and the economy. Linda Satterfield, Illinois' child care administrator since 1998 who served under both Republican and Democratic governors, was removed from her role as associate director for the Office of Early Childhood and reassigned to the Department of Human Services.

House discusses impact of FY 2016 budget impasse
The Illinois House convened a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday to discuss some ways the budget impasse is impacting the state.
 
Municipal and county administrators explained that the state has not distributed proceeds from the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) to local municipalities and county governments, which were previously provided with .19 cents per gallon from every gasoline purchase. The funds are used to repair roads and purchase road salt, which is critical for road safety in the winter months.
 
Following the discussion, the House voted on HB 4149, Amendment 1, which makes appropriations from the MFT to the Department of Transportation to assist with purchasing road salt and allowing local governments to plan for infrastructure repairs.

The House is scheduled to return on Wednesday, September 2. The Senate will return on September 9. Keep watching Under the Dome for important updates on legislative action.

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