Governor Bruce Rauner signed SB 2042 today, which appropriates money for the pass through of federal dollars without adding to the state’s budget deficit. The clean bill allows the state to provide some services to the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Governor Rauner supported and signed this clean pass through bill because it will help those in need without adding to the state’s budget deficit,” Director of Communications Lance Trover said. “While the Governor continues to work on passing a balanced budget with structural reforms to maximize how much we can invest in our schools and important social services, some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens will be able receive additional support.”
The Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act mandates that school with athletic programs develop rapid-response concussion emergency action plans that will enable medical help to be obtained and prompt care available in cases of actual or suspected head injuries. Parallel mandates are placed on youth sports leagues and on park districts that organize youth sports activities. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and other affected groups will develop rules and policies to implement the new law, which went into effect immediately and will apply to the 2015 high school football season.
House Republicans with law enforcement experience were central to the successful effort to implement a host of law enforcement reforms in the form of SB 1304 and signed into law as Public Act 99-352 on Wednesday, August 12.

The measure, which was worked out with substantial input from police officers, prosecutors, and criminologists, includes provisions intended to sharply increase the number of body cameras (“bodycams”) worn by Illinois police officers as part of their uniforms. This measure responds to concerns raised by the overwhelming level of negative media stories surrounding law enforcement around the nation during the summers of 2014 and 2015.
As the FY16 budget showdown continues, House Republicans took the lead in keeping a federal only pass through bill on track, ensuring approximately $5 billion in federal dollars will flow to state agencies and service providers. SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will appropriate federal funds given to Illinois for specific state programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C. The Governor has signaled his support for a “federal funds” budget bill.

Despite overwhelming passage in the Senate, the original SB 2042 almost failed in the House due to a late amendment added by House Democrats that attempted to hold these federally-funded programs “hostage” to the overall budget impasse. In the end the majority party yielded and allowed the original federal funds appropriation bill to be voted on by the full House with a handful of Republican suggested additions related to homeland security.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the nonpartisan agency within the Illinois State Legislature that tracks the budget status of the State, issued its monthly report for July 2015 on Monday, August 3. General funds tax receipts continued to fall short of spending in the first month of the FY16 fiscal year, largely due to the partial rollback of State income tax rates in January 2015. In July, income tax receipts fell by $204 million. Of this shortfall, $189 million of the shortfall was in personal income tax receipts and $15 million was in corporate income tax receipts.
The issue followed up on the release of videotapes showing officials of Planned Parenthood negotiating the transfer of fetal tissues for supposed medical research purposes. The negotiations included discussions about the condition of the tissue and the price to be paid for the expenses involved in recovering and transferring them.

Under Illinois law, the transfer of human tissue is controlled by the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act. HB 4266, filed by Rep. Peter Breen and sponsored by Rep. Sheri Jesiel, provides that this Act covers individual human organisms from fertilization until live birth, and bans the use of the Act to cover the transfer of fetal tissue resulting from an abortion. HR 671, filed by Rep. Jeanne Ives and sponsored by Rep. Sheri Jesiel, asks the Illinois Attorney General, the Executive Inspector General, and other enumerated branches of State government to investigate Planned Parenthood’s procedures for abortions and the sale or donation of human tissue.
The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) is now accepting applications for enrollment in the Lake County Adopt A Highway program. Volunteers adopt a section of a county highway, and commit to cleaning it twice a year. At this time, there are 23 sections of highway and two bike paths waiting patiently for someone to adopt them. Find the right match for your group today!

The LCDOT provides volunteers with high-visibility safety vests, trash bags and safety information. To acknowledge your effort, a commemorative sign will be installed at the site of your clean-up. This is a valuable learning experience for the volunteers who contribute a very important public service, promote civic responsibility and teamwork, and help the environment.
The Illinois Senate has approved a bill, SB 2042, to appropriate the federal funds allocated to Illinois in FY16 for spending and use. Programs that operate senior centers, Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition efforts, adult education programs, and home weatherization assistance offices are among the programs funded by federal grants that are funneled through the State. These programs may be able to maintain some of their operations with the help of this bill.

SB 2042, as amended, is scheduled to be voted on by the Illinois House this week. Complex appropriations issues may make it necessary to further amend the measure in the House. These federal funds, which total nearly $5 billion, are separate from the money paid by Illinois taxpayers to the State. This State of Illinois “general funds” budget remains approximately $4 billion out of balance, with no solution to this section of the State’s budget woes in sight. The Senate voted unanimously (57-0-0) on Tuesday, August 4 to pass the bill. Action by the Illinois House would be required to further move this bill forward.
An Illinois Supreme Court decision in early May struck down the 2013 “pension reform” bill, SB 1, and ordered Illinois government officials and taxpayers to cover the entire unfunded costs of pension benefits promised to many Illinois workers in the public sector. These unfunded costs are estimated to exceed $100 billion, and the burden of meeting these costs is one of the elements in the FY16 budget crisis.

The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision was an interpretation of legal language within the Constitution of 1970 that granted explicit contractual protection to pension benefits. While the constitutional interpretation of each state’s constitution is traditionally a subject for the sole jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of that state, some legal scholars believe that the urgency of this issue could grant the Attorney General standing to appeal the 2015 decision to the federal Supreme Court. The Attorney General is in the process of filing a paper asking for additional time to study the issue and possibly file this appeal. Lisa Madigan’s action was described by “Crain’s Chicago Business” on Tuesday, July 28.
The measure, SB 659, directs the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to create a one-stop “licensure application website” for businesspersons wishing to create new businesses or relocate businesses to Illinois. The General Assembly has directed that information be included on the single website to “walk applicants through” the initial stages of the permit application/license application or applications that may be required for implementation of these job-creation plans. Other states have already set up similar websites.

Gov. Rauner signed SB 659 into law on Friday, July 24, and the new website should be online by July 2017.
State Representative Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) is inviting local residents for a cup of coffee and a discussion of the issues facing the state and our local communities. Next week, “Java with Jesiel” will be at It’s All Good in Zion on Friday, August 7 from 7:30am to 8:30am. Stop in on your way to work and have your voice heard. All are welcome and coffee will be provided.

WHO:             Local Residents and Rep. Jesiel
WHAT:          “Java with Jesiel”
WHEN:          Friday, August 7, 7:30am to 8:30am
WHERE:        It’s All Good, 2780 Sheridan Rd., Zion
WHY:            Discussion of the issues facing Illinois and our communities
The measure, HB 576, amends State law to block implementation of the automatic pay increases slated to be paid in FY16 to Illinois elected officials. This action is necessary to prevent an annual automatic pay increase from being paid to members of the General Assembly, statewide elected officials, certain Cabinet-level executive branch agency directors and appointees, and county state’s attorneys. Automatic pay increases of this type have been mandated by the Compensation Review Act since 1984.

The increase for FY16, which is designed to help beneficiaries keep up with the level of inflation, is 2.0%. If HB 576 passes through the Senate and is signed by the Governor, this 2.0% pay hike will be blocked for the year. HB 576 also blocks scheduled increases in the legislator per diem and legislative mileage reimbursements that are meant to compensate legislators for their living expenses when living in, or traveling to and from, Springfield and other places of legislative duty.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses is urging Illinois residents to weigh in on Governor Rauner’s agenda at the request of small businesses from across the state who want to create jobs and put Illinois back on sound financial footing.

Follow the link here to head to their website and sign the petition.