Crunch Time – Illinois House of Representatives back in session after long break


In Illinois it appears there is nothing more important than elections. That’s why the Illinois House of Representatives has not met in over a month. The Primary Election was held on March 20, yet the politicians who control the legislative calendar saw fit to give themselves plenty of time off to campaign – and then even more time to vacation in the nearly three weeks since. Who cares about the state budget? Who cares about the crushing tax burden on Illinois families? Who cares about reforms that would increase jobs, growth and opportunity in Illinois? Judging based on the legislative calendar, apparently not the politicians in charge.  

The consequences of taking so much time off this spring means we have a condensed time period in which to hold hearings on literally hundreds of bills in committee and to pass a state budget by the end of May. This Friday, April 13 is the deadline for House bills to be heard in committee. That’s right, after taking more than a month off we’re being given one week to consider hordes of new bills, intentionally rushing them all through the legislative process. Incredibly, many committees have not held hearings at all yet this spring! Now they are expected to complete all their work in one week.

For myself personally, I am working on important legislation concerning needed reform to special service areas, pension reform, government transparency, and providing tax credits for parents with kids in either public or private schools.

The most important bills that come out of committee are the ones inspired by constituents. For me, two of those are bills I filed; HB 4831, scheduled to be heard in Human Services Committee on Tuesday, legislation that would allow licensed physicians access to the use of surgical centers without the need for a hospital affiliation; and HB 4836, scheduled to heard in the Special Needs Services Committee on Wednesday, which recognizes that as parents of adult children with disabilities age and begin to cope with their own health challenges, it can be difficult for them to provide care for their adult disabled child. Families may look to living arrangements or community supports that will allow their adult child to remain in a home setting but also receive support services. My bill changes the definition of “own home” to allow five unrelated adults to live together will help increase the capacity of alternative housing options in the community. Adults with disabilities can live with their peers in a home setting, rather than a nursing home or specialized developmental disability facility.

Finally, the Illinois General Assembly has yet to fulfill its constitutional requirement to adopt a revenue estimate on which to base the state budget. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin sent a letter to Speaker Madigan on February 7 emphasizing the need for us to accomplish this in a timely manner. Not surprisingly, no action has been taken. Talk around Springfield is that the General Assembly may only pass a partial budget, a stopgap budget, or no budget at all this year. Any of those outcomes would be a completely irresponsible and outrageous dereliction of duty on the part of legislators.

The House of Representatives returns to Springfield today with session scheduled to begin at Noon. You can watch or listen live by clicking HERE. As always, please don’t hesitate to call me at (630) 384-9719 with any questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment. Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

Sincerely,
Jeanne

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