The General Assembly focused this week on Gov. Rauner's proposed “budget” for fiscal year 2017, which begins in July. Other than funding for K-12 schools, the state has been without a budget since last July. For more information on the Governor’s budget proposal click here. To read the responses from IFT President Dan Montgomery and Chicago State University professor Gabriel Gomez, click here.
BREAKING:Late Friday afternoon, Governor Rauner vetoed SB 2043, sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), legislation that would fund the Monetary Award Program (MAP). This came after a week of higher education actions and just days after students delivered over 20,000 postcards to the Governor, urging him to sign SB 2043 so hard-working students receive the grants they need to graduate college and begin careers.
IFT President Dan Montgomery issued the following response:
“Governor Rauner’s veto of tuition assistance for low-income students and funding for community colleges was expected but incredibly disappointing. It’s also hypocritical coming just two days after he delivered a speech touting education as his top priority while failing to mention his budget proposal included a 25% cut to universities and colleges across the state. Refusing to ask the very wealthy to pay a dime more while students sacrifice and suffer at his hand reveal Governor Rauner's true priorities, and investing in working families isn’t one of them.”
State employee arbitration bill passes House
The Illinois House passed legislation that would allow state employee unions to use binding arbitration as an alternative if they can’t come to agreement on a contract. HB 580, sponsored by State Rep. Chris Welch (D-Westchester), passed the House by a 67-46-2 vote Tuesday. Governor Rauner has vowed that he would veto the legislation (again) should it pass the Senate.
Chicago elected school board bill clears committee
Last November, 87 percent of Chicagoans voting in 327 precincts said YES to an advisory referendum for an Elected Representative School Board for Chicago Public Schools. Due to this response, Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) sponsored House Amendment #1 to HB 557. If passed, Chicago school board members would be elected to their terms beginning in March 2018.
A look ahead
Both the House and Senate are scheduled to return to Springfield on March 1. Keep watching Under the Dome for important updates on legislative action.