Front Page Article
Scheduled Legislative Session Ends Without Budget
By Joyce Geiler
At the start of the 103rd General Assembly in January, Democrats in the House and Senate scheduled adjournment for May 19. Per the Illinois Constitution, legislators have until May 31 to pass a budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Also, lawmakers still have until the end of May before a constitutional trigger raises the threshold on the number of votes needed to pass legislation from the current simple majority to a three-fifths majority. (1)
Because a budget was not forthcoming last Friday, May 19 at the end of the scheduled legislative session, both chambers of the General Assembly extended their sessions into this week. The Senate returned for Wednesday and Thursday. The House returned Wednesday and is now scheduled through Friday to finalize the budget. Since little progress seems to have been made up to this point and since the minority party, who are the Republicans, have little opportunity for input, one wonders how hundreds of pages of budget will now be written, read, and approved in a matter of days. The resolution of budget may not happen by the time this article is sent out but the last paragraph contains an update.
House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, noted that “Illinois Democrats have the largest majority in history and yet cannot abide by their own set schedules.” The House Republicans’ lead budget negotiator Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, said members of her party have been essentially uninvolved or uninvited to budget negotiations throughout the spring session. “We have attempted numerous meetings with the House Democratic budgeteer, with the speaker and the governor,” Hammond said at a Capitol news conference. “Only one group has met with us on more than one occasion, which is the governor and his team. No negotiations with others have occurred.” Even most Democrats have not seen anything resembling a draft budget either, as the group of top lawmakers negotiating the state’s spending plan is intentionally small. (2)
What is preventing the majority party, the Democrats, from arriving at a budget? One point of contention among Democrat’s impeding negotiations is an anticipated $1.1 billion in spending on health care for non-citizens aged 42 and older, who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid if not for their citizenship status. The governor’s office had only budgeted $220 million for that program. Members of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and Progressive Caucus have called for expanding the program to noncitizens between the ages of 19 and 42, at an estimated cost of $380 million next year. Budget requests from other groups include raising Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals, increased pay for providers serving individuals with disabilities, increases in funding for local governments and dozens of others.
The most recent revenue estimate from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget anticipates about $50.4 billion in revenues for the upcoming budget year, even after April revenues plummeted more than $1.8 billion from one year ago. (3)
As the General Assembly extended its session with the budget unfinished, several sweeping last-minute bills surfaced. Cannabis regulation, elections, biometric privacy, ethics measures were all filed last Friday. Below is an overview of these bills:
CANNABIS: A bill that aims to implement a variety of reforms to Illinois’ cannabis industry would change dispensary operations and restrictions on craft growers. The amended Senate Bill 1559, among other things, would increase canopy space for craft growers from 5,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet. It would also allow dispensaries to operate drive-thru windows and offer curbside pick-up services, making sure they prioritize medical patients.
BIOMETRIC PRIVACY: Friday’s amendment would change Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, a first-of-its-kind law. Biometrics is the measurement of physiological characteristics like fingerprints, iris patterns, or facial features that can be used to identify an individual. The amendment more specifically defines aspects of this law that allows individuals to sue companies over improper collection or storage of their information.
ELECTIONS: An amendment has several elections-related provisions, including one that would allow 16-year-olds who are qualified to vote to pre-register to vote, although their registration would be held in abeyance until they turn 18. It would also allow 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the next election to circulate petitions nominating a candidate or petitions proposing a ballot question. The amendment would establish a task force to study the feasibility of adopting a ranked-choice voting system in certain elections. Rank-choice voting is a method of voting in which voters can mark their ballot for multiple candidates in order of their preference.
ETHICS: An amendment to House Bill 3903 filed late Friday would prohibit companies that sell automated traffic enforcement devices such as red-light cameras from contributing to campaign funds if they contract with municipalities in Illinois. The measure would also require municipalities to conduct statistical analyses of the safety impact of existing systems. In recent years, executives of red-light camera companies have been named in federal investigations involving lawmaker misconduct. The amendment would also prohibit state lawmakers and municipal officers or employees from “knowingly” accepting employment or compensation from a vendor that provides automated traffic law enforcement system equipment or services to municipalities. It would create a two-year prohibition of any of those lawmakers or employees from receiving such compensation after they leave office or government work.
All the above-listed bills were introduced at the end of the week. Also, last week saw the passage of several measures that had been making their way through the legislative process for months. (4) Several of these are presented below:
House Bill 3425, sponsored by state Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago, passed both houses May 4, 2023. The bill requires school principals to report bullying to parents within 24 hours. Some school associations opposed the bill, saying a 24-hour time limit puts an undue burden on schools especially for incidents that happen on a Friday. (5)
HB 1286 Equitable Restrooms All-Gender bill passed both houses May 19, 2023. This bill, which allows businesses to designate multi-occupancy restrooms as all-gender, now heads to the governor's desk.
The Illinois Legislature passed HB 2396 last week, which would require school districts to establish all-day kindergarten, and it is now headed to the governor’s desk to become law.
These reports reflect but a partial accounting of legislative activity that occurred over the last few weeks during which a budget was not passed. Not all states go through this last-minute budget process. Jim Long of Illinois Policy compares our failed process to the state of Georgia’s. There, the General Assembly must have the governor’s budget report within five days of convening in January. After receiving the report, the legislature reviews the governor’s recommendations and develops an appropriations bill. The bill must begin in the House of Representatives and moves back and forth with the Senate until a budget is approved. No other bills are addressed until the state’s most important bill, the budget, is passed in the legislature. (6)
UPDATE: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois legislative leaders announced Wednesday afternoon they had a deal on a roughly $50 billion state budget that they planned to quickly bring to the Senate floor, but the chamber adjourned about seven hours later without voting on the measure. Once voted on in the Senate, the bill will be sent to the House with the hopes of passing by Friday.
Included in the budget is $250 million for Smart Start Illinois, which has a goal of making sure every child in Illinois can afford preschool. Also included is more funding to help Illinoisans go to community college. The Invest in Kids Scholarship, which gave low-income families scholarships to go to private schools, and tax credits for Research and Development were not included in the budget. (7)
Impact of Amendment 1 on November Ballot May 2022
Decision Time: Graduated Income Tax
Graduated Income Tax - Not Fair
How Did the Second Great Awakening Affect Illinois
Illinois Monuments and Statues
Illinois Governors and Corruption
Illinois Governors and State Racial Equality
The Civil Realm and Overstepping Authority
Reopen Illinois - When and How?
How is Illinois Meeting the Challenge of Coronavirus?
COVID-19 in Illinois
History of the Pilgrims
Illinois, the Nations' Corruption Capitol
Federal Investigations in Illinois
The Moral Implications of Recreational Marijuana
Time for Marijuana?
What is the Coalition of Apostolic Alliances?
Gatekeepers for Illinois
Reclaiming and Releasing Historical Moves of God
Restoring Ancient Pathways
Unlocking the Region for Kingdom Advancement
Ekklesia Awakening in Illinois
Praying Over Illinois Rivers
The Progressive Income Tax in U.S. History
Graduated, Progressive, Variable Tax Structure
Honoring Those who Helped in the Flood
Illinois Treasurer and Comptroller
Jesse White, Secretary of State
Kwame Raoul, Illinois Attorney General
Education: Home Schools
Education: Private Schools
August, 2016 .
Education: Magnet Schools
Education: Public Schools
Schools, Part 2
Criminal Justice Reform
Graduated Income Tax Revisited
Farm Subsidies: Economic Engineering
Ekklesia: Millionaires in Illinois
Ekklesia: District Map Making in Illinois
Ekklesia: Property Taxes in Illinois
Ekklesia: Broken Pension System in Illinois
Ekklesia: Fracking Revisited
Ekklesia: Media Bias
Ekklesia: Illinois Farmers
Ekklesia: A Prayer Strategy for Illinois Schools
Ekklesia: Feeding the Poor
Ekklesia: The Seven Mountains of culture and the Five-Fold Ministry of the Church
Ekklesia: Turn Around Agenda for Illinois
Christian Entertainment in Illinois
Tribute to Pastor Steve Barr
Christian Charities in Illinois
Christian Colleges in Illinois
Illinois Prayer under the Direction of Stan and Delbra Pratt
Franklin Graham and the Samaritan's Purse
|Join Our EMail List|