To prevent closures and layoffs, lawmakers approved legislation
Tuesday that would allow revenue from Illinois' special-purpose
funds to be used to finance the continued upkeep and operations of
state programs and state attractions.
State Sen. Larry Bomke,
R-Springfield, said that the governor must still approve this
funding. Though Blagojevich has frequently used money from Illinois'
dedicated funds to pay for state spending, he has not publicly
supported the use of these fund dollars to finance the programs. If
the revenue is not approved, the health care providers, state parks
and historic sites that were affected by the cuts are expected to
close or substantially reduce or eliminate services.
Earlier this week, the Illinois Senate unanimously voted to
concur with the House's override of substantial, controversial
changes made by the governor to long-awaited ethics legislation.
House Bill 824, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, bans
campaign contributions from contractors who do more than $50,000 in
state business to declared candidates for the office that would
award a contract to the donor.
The measure also requires businesses with state contracts to
register with the State Board of Elections, which will create a
searchable database linking the businesses' names to disclosures of
all their contributions to political committees. Any incomplete or
falsified filings would be a criminal offense, punishable by a fine.
Though the passage of House Bill 824 was met with relief and
widespread support, another ethics proposal
Senate Bill 780 was the source of concern and criticism.
Although Senate lawmakers approved the new ethics proposal
introduced by the governor, reform advocates and most legislators
said that while they agree with the intent of the governor's
proposal, they believe the measure is flawed and needs more work
before it should become law. It is widely expected that the
legislation will not advance in the Illinois House.
The measure would prohibit lawmakers from holding a second job in
local government and would make the process by which lawmakers
approve their own pay raises more difficult. It also expands the
contractor contribution ban to all statewide officials, legislators
and political parties, regardless of who is awarding the contract.
Finally, Senate Bill 780 requires lawmakers and candidates to
disclose the names of lobbyists who give them more than $5,000 in
Also this week, the Commission on Government Forecasting and
Accountability made public a long-awaited, independent study on the
state's correctional centers. Bomke said the study confirms that
Illinois' prisons are overcrowded and that there is a growing need
for additional prison space.
The study, conducted by Peoria-based PSA Dewberry, confirmed that
by 2016 the Illinois Department of Corrections will need another
2,735 beds to accommodate the projected growth in the inmate
population. Currently, Illinois' prison system far exceeds capacity.
Senate Republican lawmakers have been pushing for a system to
review Illinois prisons, arguing that a long-range plan should be in
place to further analyze the existing system. Until such a system
can be implemented, Bomke has called for a moratorium on prison
closures in Illinois.
Vetoes overridden this week:
Champaign quick-take -- House Bill 3106/PA 95-0974 allows
quick-take proceedings to take place in Champaign for flood control
Community colleges -- House Bill 4189/PA 95-0880 classifies
community college districts as units of local government that must
adopt resolutions regulating the political activities and the
solicitation and acceptance of gifts by their officials and
CTA board members -- Senate Bill 2679 stipulates that CTA board
members may not hold another office that pays more than $15,000
annually -- currently $5,000.
Graveyard trustee compensation -- House Bill 5022/PA 95-0981
provides that the compensation of a public graveyard trustee may not
exceed $1,000 per year.
Municipal hotel operators tax -- Senate Bill 2676 increases the
hotel operators tax in East Peoria and Morton by 1 percent.
Scrap processors -- House Bill 4668/PA 95-0979 requires metal
scrap processors to make and record a copy of a driver's license or
ID card of anyone selling recyclable metals worth at least $100, and
prohibits a transaction if the person cannot provide the necessary
TIF -- House Bill 4548/PA 95-0977 authorizes a TIF extension for
the village of Libertyville from 23 to 35 years.
TIF -- Senate Bill 2298 extends the life of the TIF districts
created by the village of Milan and the city of West Frankfort from
23 to 35 years.
Waiting room fee -- House Bill 4956/PA 0980 provides that a
circuit clerk may charge a children's waiting room fee of $10.
Wrongful imprisonment -- House Bill 230/PA 95-0970 increases
maximum statutory awards for any person convicted and imprisoned by
the state for one or more felonies that he or she did not commit,
allows these individuals to file an action for a certificate of
innocence, and stipulates they can qualify for job training and
continuing education through the Department of Employment Security.
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Amendatory vetoes overridden this week:
Ballot questions -- Senate Bill 2190 requires that individuals
and groups who raise or spend $3,000 advocating or opposing a
question on the ballot must register with the State Board of
Elections. Registration requirements are already in effect for other
Contraband -- Senate Bill 1975 states that if a penal institution
employee brings in weapons, firearms, firearm ammunition,
explosives, lock tools, cutting tools or electronic contraband, it
is unauthorized contraband.
Counselor licensing -- House Bill 953/PA 95-0972 authorizes
licensed marriage counselors and family therapists to treat mental,
emotional or nervous disorders or conditions and requires insurance
County settlements -- House Bill 4450/PA 95-0975 provides that
crime victims must be notified whenever there is a settlement,
verdict or judgment of more than $500 against a county, county
sheriff or county employee.
Fairness in lending -- Senate Bill 1879 increases fines that can
be levied against lenders for violating the Human Rights Act by
discriminating on the basis of race, gender, disability or national
Hospital charge limits -- Senate Bill 2380 limits hospital
charges for those without insurance to 135 percent of the hospital's
cost to provide the service.
Insurance coverage -- House Bill 1432/PA 95-0973 changes the
definition of "serious mental illness" to include eating disorders,
including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Land conveyance -- House Bill 4653 requires the director of the
Department of Corrections to convey the former Hannah City Work Camp
to Peoria County.
Library grants -- House Bill 4527/PA 95-0976 increases the amount
of certain grants from the state to public and school libraries.
Occupation study -- Senate Bill 2632 requires the Department of
Commerce and Economic Opportunity to conduct a study to identify
current and projected shortages in critical occupations and specific
skill sets within Illinois businesses and industries.
Responsible Fatherhood Act -- Senate Bill 1864 requires the study
and establishment of a responsible fatherhood initiative.
Shingles vaccine -- House Bill 4602/PA 95-0978 requires insurance
to cover the cost of a shingles vaccine that is ordered by a
physician for enrollees older than 60.
Student health condition instruction -- Senate Bill 2685 requires
teacher institutes in Cook County to include instruction on
prevalent student chronic health conditions.
Amendatory vetoes accepted this week:
AEDs -- House Bill 1279/PA 95-0712 requires public and private
outdoor facilities focusing on cardiovascular exertion to have an
AED and a trained user on the premises during all physical fitness
All Kids program -- House Bill 1533 requires the Department of
Healthcare and Family Services to publish All Kids cost-sharing
requirements in newspapers; it further requires the department to
submit copies of all contracts awarded for the administration of the
All Kids program to the General Assembly. The bill also requires an
annual audit of the All Kids program by the auditor general.
CTA/RTA bailout -- House Bill 656/PA 95-0708 contains the RTA
regional sales tax hike and CTA bailout. Allows the CTA to sell $2
billion in bonds, impose a real estate transfer tax rate and
includes $50 million for downstate transit needs. An amendatory veto
by the governor allows senior citizens to ride the CTA/RTA for free.
Drug trials -- Senate Bill 2340 allows law enforcement agencies
to dispose of large quantities of seized drugs prior to trial, so
long as a sufficient quantity is preserved for trial purposes.
Health insurance -- House Bill 5285/PA 95-0958 requires
continuing coverage for students who take a medical leave from
Homemaker workers -- House Bill 4144/PA 95-0713 allocates $64.2
million to the Department of Aging for pay increases and health care
benefits for workers represented by the Service Employees
Illinois Health Policy Center -- House Bill 3286 creates the
Illinois Health Policy Center to provide guidance in matters related
to the development of health policy.
Notarial records -- Senate Bill 546 creates a pilot program that
will require notaries to create and complete a "notarial record" for
every residential property transfer located within Cook County.
Transaction processing -- Senate Bill 2327 commissions a study of
the cost of high-volume transaction processing systems.
[Text from file sent on behalf of
Larry Bomke by Illinois
Senate Republican staff]