General Assembly – veto session
•       Illinois legislature convenes for first week of “veto session.”  By constitutional law, the lawmakers must gather in November to consider vetoes by the Governor while addressing any pressing issues of public concern.  In all, eleven House committees held meetings to look at these bills and issues. 

This week they were joined by Sheri Jesiel of Winthrop Harbor, a new member who enjoyed her first session day in Springfield (http://www.thecaucusblog.com/2014/11/jesiel-attends-first-springfield-session.html) as the appointee to serve out the term of retiring Representative JoAnn Osmond.  The second week of veto session is scheduled to take place immediately after Thanksgiving (http://ilga.gov/house/schedules/2014_Veto.pdf).

SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) attended her first session in the Illinois House of Representatives this week. Jesiel was welcomed to the chamber by her new colleagues and immediately took up her duties of the veto session concerning legislation vetoed by Governor Quinn this summer.

“I would like to thank my colleagues for their warm welcome to the chamber,” said Jesiel. “JoAnn Osmond was a wonderful Representative for the 61st District with big shoes to fill. I hope to carry-on in her foot-steps, and that of her husband Tim before her, in bringing sensible, fiscally responsible leadership to Springfield for the sake of the residents of the 61st District.”

Jesiel was appointed to represent the 61st District following the retirement of former State Representative JoAnn Osmond in July. While Jesiel was appointed to the fill the temporary void left by Osmond’s retirement, she was elected to a full term this fall to represent the 61st District in the upcoming 99th General Assembly that will convene this January.
Budget – Medicaid
•    House Republicans again push to impose limits on the rate of Medicaid growth.  Medicaid patient headcounts and expenditures are shooting up nationwide. This pattern is partly due to the federal Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), which encourages the states to expand and enlarge their individual Medicaid programs.  In 2012, 72.2 million American residents – more than one-fifth of the nation’s population – were covered by Medicaid for at least one month.  In their story this week, “Reversing the Medicaid Tidal Wave in Illinois”, The Caucus Blog describes the national numbers.

Led by Deputy House Minority Leader Patti Bellock, Illinois has tried to begin to move in the opposite direction.  Illinois Medicaid patient headcounts, already high by nationwide standards when the Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010, were set to go even higher.  Bellock pushed the General Assembly to enact a new Medicaid reform package in the 2012 spring session.  Faced with taxpayer anger, many lawmakers joined with Bellock to enact key elements of the package into State law.