The Illinois General Assembly reconvened in Springfield Tuesday in the midst of the state's ongoing budget stalemate.
Gov. Bruce Rauner met with House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno Tuesday to discuss the budget. It is only the second such meeting this year.
"It was a good meeting because the governor indicated he was supportive of revenue to balance the budget and we are going to have working groups on his reforms," Cullerton said after the meeting.
Speaker Madigan is also pushing an amendment that would fully fund state's Monetary Award Program grant scholarship program.
May is a critical period for the legislature. At the end of the month, legislation will become more difficult to pass. At that point, a three-fifths supermajority will be required to pass bills.
There was some encouraging news out of the capitol last week. The General Assembly unanimously passed a $700 million bill to aid the state’s beleaguered social services.
Additionally, the Illinois Senate approved a new school funding bill. Opponents view the measure as a bailout for the financially struggling Chicago Public Schools. The proposal now moves to the Illinois House, where insiders believe it likely won't pass. Gov. Bruce Rauner has voiced opposition to the plan.
Below is a preview of some of the week’s pending legislation.
The Senate Subcommittee on Firearms held a hearing on legislation that looks to amend the Criminal Code of 2012 by creating the offense of firearms trafficking. The measure was reported back to the Judiciary Committee.
Firearms trafficking would be a Class 1 felony which would come with a prison sentence of no less than 4 years and no more than 20 years. The charge would become a Class X felony for persons previously convicted of firearms trafficking, gunrunning, or a felony offense for the unlawful sale, delivery, or transfer of a firearm or ammunition in Illinois or another jurisdiction.
The bill is sponsored by House Minority Leader Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Radogno. The measure was unanimously passed in the House last month.
A measure that creates the Bath Salts Prohibition Act received a House Judiciary - Criminal Committee hearing. The legislation holds that a person may not sell or offer for sale any bath salts in retail establishments in the state. The measure passed out of the committee and will be moved to the floor.
Bath salts is a synthetic drug with mood-altering and stimulant properties. The drug’s chemical makeup is often altered to avoid legal ramifications. The act amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act to include such drugs.
The bill unanimously passed in the Senate last month. It is sponsored by Rep. Avery Bourne and Sen. Andy Manar.
A bill that urges Major League Baseball teams to extend sideline netting to protect against foul balls and shattered bats received a House Consumer Protection Committee hearing. The measure passed out of committee and will be moved to the floor.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Laura Fine.
A measure that amends the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and provides that juvenile delinquents must be brought before a judicial officer within 24 hours to determine further custody will receive a Senate Criminal Law Hearing.
The legislation also holds that initial hearing should be no later than the morning following a juvenile’s placement. This includes weekends and holidays. If the minor is not brought before a judicial officer within the 24 hour period, he or she must be released from custody.
The measure passed in the House last month with a vote of 73 yeas and 39 nays. It is sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel and Sen. Donne Trotter.
A measure that amends the Chicago Teacher Article of the Illinois Pension Code by creating the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund Health Insurance Task Force will receive a Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions hearing.
The task force will be used to evaluate the health insurance coverage administered through the pension fund.
The legislation passed in the House last month with a vote of 78 yeas and 25 nays. The bill is sponsored by Rep Elgie Sims Jr. and Sen. Donne Trotter.
Legislation that amends the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget Act will receive a House Revenue & Finance Committee hearing. It will also receive a hearing in the House Finance Subcommittee.
The bill would amend the act by providing that the annual economic and fiscal policy report submitted to the General Assembly by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget must include economic and fiscal policy intentions for the next four fiscal years. It currently only requires an outlook for the next two years.
The bill unanimously passed the Senate last month. It is sponsored by Rep. Laura Fine and Sen. Laura Murphy.
A bill that amends the Medical Assistance Article of the Illinois Public Aid Code will receive a House Human Services Committee.
The measure would require the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to create and implement an algorithm to assign Medicaid enrollees for medical assistance. The algorithm would be based on quality scores and other criteria adopted by the department.
The measure unanimously passed in the Senate last month. It is sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel and Sen. Heather Steans.