NEWS

Legislative update - week of 8/21/15

Updated: Apr 24

Keep watching Under the Dome for the latest on legislative action in Springfield. The Illinois General Assembly continues to meet weekly for committee and floor action, but no agreement has been reached on a final FY16 budget. Here are some highlights from this week's action: ........................................................................................................................................................ Senate overrides Governor’s Veto of SB1229

The Illinois Senate voted 38-15 to override Governor Rauner’s politically-driven veto of SB1229, union-supported legislation that would give public employees the option to choose common-sense binding arbitration over Rauner’s attempts to force a lockout or strike. Republican Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville) deserves special recognition for his courage to cross party lines and vote for the override. Thanks to everyone who emailed and called our State Senators to ensure the successful outcome. Your efforts helped to clear one big hurdle, but our fight is not over. To enact SB 1229, a three-fifths vote is now required in the House. That chamber must act in the next 15 days, or the veto will stand. 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 again!

........................................................................................................................................................ House Revenue Committee continues discussion on SB318

On Tuesday, the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee held a subject matter hearing on SB318, Sen. President John Cullerton’s property tax freeze plan. The measure would freeze property taxes for two years, create a two-year pension holiday for the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, establish a committee to re-work the Illinois school funding formula, and sunset Chicago block grant funding by 2017. President Cullerton presented the bill and called for efforts to look into mandate relief for districts before hearing testimony from various individuals, including representatives from the Chicago Teachers Union, the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, and other groups. No vote was taken, but all parties stated they remain ready to work with legislators on a solution. ........................................................................................................................................................ Implementation of the Student Athlete Concussion Act delayed

The effective date of a new law governing students injured in school athletics or sports was delayed by one year. The law will now take effect in the 2016-17 school year. SB7, sponsored by Sen. Raoul (D-Chicago), creates a framework for schools to address student head injuries, including training for coaches and other school personnel. Under the measure, schools must create concussion oversight teams, which would manage the recovery, both academic and athletic, of student athletes injured during any athletic activity sanctioned by a school. MAP grant funding bill advances

The Illinois Senate approved SB2043, a measure which authorizes the state to pay $373 million for grants in the Monetary Award Program (MAP) to low-income college students. The bill will allow up to 130,000 students to continue receiving much-needed financial assistance from the MAP program, despite the continuing FY16 budget impasse. To become law, the bill must be approved by the House and signed by Governor Rauner. At this time, he has indicated that he will not sign the bill, but many universities have credited students’ accounts for the anticipated MAP funding to ensure their educational pursuits are uninterrupted during the budget impasse. ........................................................................................................................................................ Federal funds measure approved by Senate, signed by Governor

The Illinois Senate quickly approved SB2042 (J. Cullerton/Madigan) and sent it to the Governor, who immediately signed it into law. The measure allows for the pass-through of federal funds already allocated for Illinois social service projects, cancer screenings, and elderly care which has been held up during the budget impasse. House Democrats initially hoped to include in the bill an additional $1.4 billion in state funding to support early childhood intervention programs, but Republicans refused. The approved measure excludes the additional funding. Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)

  • $163.3 million for Race to the Top, the Early Learning Challenge, and student assessments

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

  • $330 million for the federally-supported portion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program.

  • $275 million for job training under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (formerly Workforce Investment Act).

  • Community colleges and private providers throughout the state can access the funding to provide job training services to adults.

  • $260 million for community block grants for small cities to assist Illinois communities in meeting their greatest economic and community development needs, with an emphasis on helping communities with substantial low to moderate-income populations.

  • $60 million for the community service block grant program, which provides a range of services that help low-income people attain skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The program also may provide low-income people immediate life necessities such as food, shelter, and medicine.

Department of Human Services (DHS)

  • $304.2 million for family and community services, including support for domestic violence victims, food banks, child care, and refugees.

  • $323.8 million for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. (Services are currently being provided by court order.)

  • $33.4 million for mental health services for adults and children.

  • $80.6 million for alcohol and substance abuse treatment and prevention services.

  • $50 million for community services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

  • $176.5 million for rehabilitation services to help disabled individuals live independently and become participating members of society.

Veterans’ Affairs

  • $125,000 for the homeless veterans program.

Department of Public Health (DPH)

  • $312.8 million for various programs, including:

  • Breast and cervical cancer screening

  • AIDS/HIV prevention

  • Immunizations

  • Perinatal services

  • Rural health centers

  • Monitoring of long-term care facilities

Department on Aging

$98.7 million to support statewide Area Agencies on Aging, which provide the following services to seniors in our communities:

  • Home-delivered meals

  • Employment services

  • Elder abuse prevention

  • Ombudsmen

Military Affairs

  • $9.8 million for the Lincoln’s Challenge Academy ....................................................................................................................................................

A look ahead

Keep watching Under the Dome for the latest on legislative action in Springfield.


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