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Legislative update 5.27.16

5/28/2016
Lawmakers adjourned today with only three days left before the end of the scheduled session on May 31.

Here are the highlights of this week’s action:

Still no budget
House Democrats introduced and passed a budget plan on Wednesday to the dismay of Republican members, who strongly objected. The bill contains over $700 million new dollars for schools statewide, funding for higher education at 6.5 percent less than FY15, and funding for other critical services beyond FY15 amounts. The budget bill does not include any components of the Governor’s anti-union “turnaround agenda.”

The plan is now in the Illinois Senate, where its fate is uncertain. On Wednesday Governor Rauner called the measure “the phoniest of phony” and said he would veto the plan should it reach his desk.

Meanwhile, bipartisan talks on the budget continued in small working groups of lawmakers. House and Senate leaders met with the Governor this week to continue efforts to reach a compromise before session ends.


School funding

Some IFT-initiatives and other measures are still awaiting consideration, including SB 231, Sen. Manar's (D-Bunker Hill) school funding reform bill that passed the Senate earlier this month. A different school funding measure, HB 3190 (Sen. Lightford, D-Weschester) was approved by the Illinois Senate on Friday. The bill is a combination of Sen. Manar’s SB 231 and Rep. Davis’s (D-East Hazel Crest) evidence based model (HB 828). Both bills would address some of the concerns expressed by thousands of parents, students, school administrators, and community groups who descended on the Capitol on Wednesday to call for fair funding for cash-strapped schools throughout Illinois.


Charter commission

An amendment was filed to HB 397 that would further limit the charter commission’s power and return authority back to local school districts. The committee was cancelled and the bill was not called for a vote.


State arbitration bill

HB 580, (Rep. Welch, D-Westchester) came up two votes short of overriding the Governor's veto in the House. The measure would allow state employee unions to seek binding arbitration as an alternative if they can’t reach agreement on a contract with the Governor. A second motion to override was filed before the House adjourned Friday.

The Illinois House is still considering SB 2156. The legislation, in part, allows members of the State University Retirement System to purchase service credit that occurred due to a furlough. The service credit must be purchased at a full cost to the member. In addition, the legislation exempts universities from a charge under the 6 percent limitation on end of career pay raises occurring due to furloughs. The legislation is pending in the house after being approved by the Senate.


A look ahead

The IFT Department of Political Activities continues to closely monitor key legislation in the final days of session and to educate lawmakers on the potential impact of their decisions on education and state services.

Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield on Sunday, May 29th to continue budget talks and act on legislation. For the latest news during the remaining days of session, visit Under the Dome and follow the IFT on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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