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August 5, 2015

Dear friends,


The Illinois Senate on Tuesday passed the proposal freezing property taxes statewide for two years and revisiting Illinois’ school funding formula which I had hoped would break the budget impasse, but did so with only Democratic votes. I appreciate all of you who contacted Governor Bruce Rauner encouraging him to support bipartisanship. SB 318 now goes to the House.


Senate Democrats and Republicans did, however, join together to pass two measures. One, SB 2039, provides additional funds to poor school districts. The other, SB 2042, authorizes the state to spend $4.8 billion in federal funds. It’s hard to believe, but without authorization by the General Assembly and assent by the Governor, the state cannot spend federal money sitting in Illinois’ coffers. Senate passage of SB 2042 is one step toward the state using federal funds to support domestic violence shelters, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, Meals on Wheels, vocational rehabilitation, and other vital services. Please urge members of the Illinois House to support SB 2042—as Governor Rauner did.


The Senate also passed SB 162, legislation to bring clarity and efficiency to the Illinois workers’ compensation system. SB 162 aims to put into law several recommendations made in the Rauner administration’s recent Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Annual Report.


The Senate’s last action Tuesday was of special interest to our area. SB 317 requires the state to keep open the Illinois State Museum in Springfield and its branches, including the Lockport Gallery. I pointed out during debate on this legislation that the Lockport Gallery boosts our local economy by attracting visitors who shop and eat in downtown Lockport.


On Wednesday morning the Senate passed legislation blunting Governor Rauner’s recent “emergency” rules severely restricting working parents’ eligibility for child care assistance. The rules effective July 1 threaten to force parents to quit work and school to stay home with their kids. Please encourage your state representative and the Governor to support SB 570.


The Senate returns to Springfield August 19.


As always, I welcome your ideas, comments, and questions.

 

Category: Legislative updates

McGuire voice header2014

Four clients of a local human services provider recently shared with me their stories of being homeless, abusing drugs and alcohol, suffering untreated mental illness, and being shuffled between foster homes, hospitals, and nursing homes. Two flat-out said they’d be dead if not for the state-funded help they now are receiving.

That help could end next month unless the governor signs a Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

On July 15 the Senate considered legislation to freeze property taxes statewide for two years and improve Illinois’ school funding formula. Senate President John Cullerton, the measure’s sponsor, told of his sincere discussions about the legislation with Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. In a similar spirit, Republican Leader Radogno described it as a good effort.  

The plan fell four votes short of passage. No Republican voted “yes.”

That proposal now is being modified by its sponsor in the hopes of bipartisan passage when the Senate is in session August 4 and 5. Passage would signal that Democrats and Republicans can work together. Passage should motivate the two parties to craft a balanced FY 2106 budget worthy of support by the General Assembly and the governor.

Please contact Governor Rauner, Republican Leader Radogno, and Republican senators. Urge them to work in a bipartisan manner to pass a plan freezing property taxes statewide for two years, improving Illinois’ school funding formula, and moving us toward a FY 2016 budget.

Category: Legislative updates