Tom Schuba

Legislative Round-Up: Lawmakers Push for Bipartisan Budget Solution

The Illinois legislature has a busy week, as lawmakers push for a bipartisan budget solution

The Illinois General Assembly reconvened Tuesday in Springfield and both houses will be in session through Thursday.

There is currently no budget proposal on this week’s docket, although lawmakers, like Rep. Patti Bellock, seemed confident that a bipartisan solution was on the horizon this week.

“There is a group working on [a budget proposal], and I’m hoping that by the end of the week, they will come up with what they have, an agreement,” Bellock said at Chicago’s City Club Monday.

Illinois has been without a budget since July of last year. The stalemate has hinged on a battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature over the governor’s pro-business, union-weakening Turnaround Agenda. 

During her City Club appearance, Bellock confirmed that she was a member of a bipartisan budget group which was reportedly formed by Rauner and is meeting daily.

The Senate and House were able to pass a handful of measures last week.

On Thursday, the Senate agreed to spend an additional $454 million on the state’s beleaguered colleges and universities, according to the Associated Press. Rauner previously signed off on a $600 million funding fix last month.

The Senate also unanimously passed a bill Friday giving protection to teens arrested for murder or sex crimes when they are interrogated.

On Thursday, the House also passed a measure that bans the use of the state’s road fund for unrelated expenditures. Illinoisans will vote on the measure in November.

Below is a preview of some of the week’s pending legislation. 


A revamped school funding formula passed in the state Senate Tuesday, 31-21. The measure now moves to the Illinois House. Illinois Republicans previously called Sen. Andy Manar's proposal a “bailout” for CPS, according to the Sun-Times.

Rauner released his school funding breakdown last month. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the plan calls for increasing funding by $120 million, fully funding the general state aid to schools instead of using proration, which has been used the past seven years to help balance the state’s books. 

Rauner has agreed that the formula needs to be updated, but claimed lawmakers were holding schools "hostage" holding out for a change Monday.


The House Judiciary - Criminal Committee held a hearing Tuesday for a House Resolution that looks to keep low level drug offenders out of county jail and the Department of Corrections.

The measure looks to discourage prosecutors from recommending such sentences and judges from assigning them.

The legislation also looks to urge the Governor and Director of Corrections to commute sentences for such offenders serving time in county jails and the Department of Corrections to home confinement.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. La Shawn Ford.


The Senate State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee will hear a proposal Wednesday urging the U.S. Congress to recognize the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization.

Additionally, the resolution urges Congress to “pursue dismantling this domestic terrorist hate group with the same fervor used to protect the United States from other manifestations of terrorism.”

The measure is sponsored by Sen. Emil Jones III.


The House personnel and Pensions Committee will hear a resolution Wednesday that looks to urge the House Speaker and members of the House Personnel and Pensions Committee to hold hearing to determine how the state could approach a lump sum pension or partial pension exchange option.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Mark Batinick. According to the bill, the unfunded pension liabilities of the state’s retirement systems reached $111.2 billion in June of 2014.


Anna Hui, the nominee for Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Labor, will receive an Executive Appointments hearing Friday. The measure is sponsored by Sen. Antonio Muñoz. 

A variety of other nominees, including Tom Cross, who is nominated to be member and Chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and Margaret Hickey, who is nominated to be the state’s Executive Inspector General, will also receive hearings Thursday.

Those measures are also sponsored by Muñoz.


The House Finance Subcommittee will hear a resolution Thursday urging the General Assembly to work together to revamp the state’s tax code and pass a budget for the Fiscal Year 2016.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Christian Mitchell. 

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