After two years without a budget, which caused devastation to human services, higher education and the financial standing and stability of our state, Illinois finally has a bi-partisan balanced budget.
Last week, the legislature voted to override the governor’s veto of the bi-partisan agreement averting a catastrophic downgrade to junk status by the rating agencies.
The bi-partisan budget we passed spends $800 million less than the budget proposed by the governor in February, 2017. It has cuts, revenue and reform. Our work is by no means done.
We need to continue to address the structural issues that plague our state.
Below is a summary of the budget bill:
This budget cut state spending by over $2 Billion. Some of the cuts include,
– $1 Billion cut in state bureaucracy by cutting every state agency’s operating expenses
– $192 million cut in college and university administrative costs
– Savings from pension reforms (more on this below)
The personal income tax rate was permanently increased by 1.2 percentage points, going from 3.75% to 4.95%. There were also some tax break loopholes for big corporations that were eliminated.
Pension Reform: The budget bill creates a new “Tier 3” defined contribution plan similar to a 401(k) (as opposed to the current defined benefit plan) for newly hired teachers, university and state employees. There is also a Tier 3 defined contribution plan option for current Tier 2 members. See Senate Bill 42
At the request of the governor the House has also passed the following reforms:
Local Government Consolidation: Allows for voter-initiated referendum for the consolidation or elimination of units of local government. See House Bill 171
Workers’ Compensation Reform: The bill that passed out of the House, increases fraud penalties, limits payments for certain injuries, reduces prescription drug expenses and establishes rate review all designed to help employers save money and reduce their costs.
Other Reforms: Awaiting the governor’s signature is legislation that authorizes the governor to sell the James R. Thompson Center State of Illinois building in Chicago (Senate Bill 886), and changes to the state government purchasing laws (Senate Bill 8).
Please also see below for a list of bills that I have passed this legislative session. I will continue to update you over the summer as new legislation is signed into law.
This session, working with constituents, I passed a number of bills that are awaiting the governor’s signature. All of the legislation passed unanimously or with strong bi-partisan support. Here is a round up of some of my bills and the links to find out more information:
HB 2959: Pre-Existing Conditions
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, my legislation will prevent insurance companies in Illinois from denying health care coverage based on a pre-existing condition. This will help cancer survivors, people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, organ transplant recipients, victims of sexual assault and much more.
House Bill 375: Police Training
I worked with the Cook County Sheriff’s office and the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board on this bill. The bill, which passed unanimously, requires that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board create an introductory course to provide law enforcement officers with an awareness of mental health issues including:
A history of the mental health system;
Types of mental illness, including signs and symptoms of mental illness and common treatments and medications; and
The potential interactions officers may regularly have with these individuals, their families, and service providers including situations requiring the officer to de-escalate a potential crisis.
This training is designed to prepare our officers, when called to a crisis situation, to recognize and assist residents suffering with mental illness, defuse the mental health crisis and direct the resident to mental health resources instead of jails resulting in a better outcome for the officer, the resident and our community.
House Bill 1332: Eating Disorders
This bill requires insurers who provide coverage for hospital or medical treatment, to also provide coverage for the treatment of eating disorders based on medical necessity.
House Bill 2626: Parental Rights of the Blind
I worked with National Federation for the Blind to introduce and pass this legislation which provides that a person’s blindness shall not serve as a basis for denial or restriction of parenting time, the allocation of parental responsibilities, participation in adoption proceedings, foster care placement, or guardianship appointment.
This legislation eliminates a governmental board that serves little purpose. Working with the Department of Public Health, I passed this legislation to Abolish the Health Maintenance Advisory Board within the Department of Public Health.