Legislative update 6.19.15

by Beth Camplain | Jun 19, 2015
This week, the Senate discussed college affordability in Illinois while the House heard testimony on a proposal to privatize the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
Summer session continues
This week, the Senate convened a Committee of the Whole meeting to focus on college affordability in Illinois. Representatives from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), as well as speakers from higher education institutions and community colleges including the University of Illinois, Western Illinois University, Danville Area Community College and Spoon River Community College all participated. The speakers addressed funding, the goal of having 60 percent of adults (25-64 years of age) with a college degree or marketable credentials by the year 2025, and the need to make college more affordable for minorities.

In the House, legislators heard testimony on a proposal to privatize the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO). Tim Schultz, DCEO Director, and John E. Greuling, President & CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development, offered comments in support. Witnesses from Ohio, Indiana, and Florida also testified about their experiences and challenges with privatizing similar state agencies.

Budget bills sent to Governor, still no agreement in sight
On Wednesday, the General Assembly sent three budget bills to the Governor - HB 3673 and HB 4146 both sponsored by Speaker Madigan (D-Chicago), and SB 2030 sponsored by President Cullerton (D-Chicago). The Governor now has 60 days to sign them, amendatorily veto them, or veto them in their entirety.

  • HB 3673 included the largest portion of K-12 education funding, increasing General State Aid (GSA) by $240 million over FY15 levels for elementary and secondary education. About $206 million would be allocated for General State Aid, which would result in a 92% proration level. An additional $85 million would be available for the neediest school districts in an effort to limit funding lost due to the proration.

  • HB 4146 supports a $32 million increase over FY15 in funding to the Monetary Award Program.
  • SB 2030 appropriates funds to support the State University Civil Service System and the State University Retirement System.

A look ahead
Both chambers are in session next Tuesday, June 23. The Senate has scheduled a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss minimum wage and paid sick leave. The House has scheduled just one committee, the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee.  

Visit Under the Dome weekly for the latest updates on legislative action throughout the summer.