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*** UPDATED x1 *** Late-night session roundup

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Make sure to monitor our live coverage post and our regularly updated end-of-session “cheat sheet.” The Senate is debating the budget bill as I write this. Some folks are very happy

Education experts said they are excited to see more money being set aside for education from pre-K to college to fund investments they argue are critical. […]

One of the headlines from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s February budget address was Smart Start Illinois. The program aims to provide early childhood programs for all young Illinoisans. The budget would allocate $250 million for the first year of the plan. […]

For K-12 public schools, the evidence-based funding model would get a major boost of $350 million. The funding model uses certain metrics to determine how much money schools need to give students a proper education. […]

Students’ college education would also get a boost in funding, with the budget providing an additional $100 million for MAP grants. With those grants, students can receive more need-based financial aid making sure getting a degree remains affordable.

* Some are not…

The budget released by the Illinois General Assembly failed to increase funds for statewide sexual assault services. Throughout the legislative session, the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) called upon legislators to invest an additional $12 million in state General Revenue Funding to the 31 rape crisis centers in Illinois. These funds are desperately needed to offset a drastic $9.5 million federal funding cut and the ongoing impact rising inflation has had on the workforce. Unfortunately, the agreed budget released today by Illinois legislators failed to increase the designated line item beyond Governor Pritzker’s introduced $7.69 million. Without the increase, numerous Illinois communities will be forced to severely reduce rape crisis services across the state. The gap in funding will result in longer waiting lists, staff layoffs, and satellite/outreach office closures, reversing years of progress toward comprehensive statewide access to services.

* From the Medicaid omnibus

* This bill cleared the Senate tonight and now heads to the House for concurrence

A bill has bubbled up suddenly in the final days of the Legislature’s spring session that could give downstate utility Ameren Illinois a highly lucrative gift and leave Commonwealth Edison in the cold. […]

There’s sudden momentum in the state Senate for legislation that would give Ameren the right to box out competition in its service territory to build any new high-voltage lines. […]

Advocates for competition say these laws will inflate costs of the projects, which could benefit from competitive bidding. Ultimately, ratepayers will cover those costs in their electric bills. Likewise, clean-energy advocates are concerned, worried that inflated costs of needed high-voltage connections will hold back renewable power development as rate shock leads to consumer pushback.

* This bill is heading to the governor

The Illinois House voted 106-0 to concur with the Senate on a sweeping ethics measure targeting red-light camera companies, sending the measure to Pritzker’s desk. It comes after several elected officials were charged in connection with the feds’ probe of politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed deals.

The legislation prohibits contractors who provide equipment and services for red-light camera companies from making campaign contributions.

It would also allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to remove specific red-light cameras that have been connected to a bribery or corruption scandal. It also creates a two-year revolving door provision — which would prohibit members of the General Assembly and officers of municipalities and counties from accepting employment from a contractor that provided automated enforcement equipment.

* As subscribers know, there are some very real problems with the existing state law. A punt was inevitable

Lawmakers also look ready to punt on another outstanding issue, with the House voting 69-36 vote Thursday to send the Senate a measure that would extend the deadline for approving map for Chicago’s new elected school board districts to April 1 from July 1. This move comes after two draft maps were criticized in public forums for not being representative of the diverse student population of Chicago Public Schools.

“The extension gives us more time to ensure that these last minute submissions are given the thought and the analysis they deserve,” said Democratic Sen. Robert Martwick, vice-chair of the committee charged with crafting the map and a sponsor of the legislation creating an elected school board in Chicago.

* The venue-shopping bill heads to the governor

Separately, the House voted 69-35 to send Pritzker a measure that would require lawsuits challenging laws under the state constitution to be filed in either Cook County or Sangamon County, home to Springfield.

Democrats who supported the measure said it was necessary to prevent people who sue the state from trying to get their cases heard before judges who they believe will rule in the favor, while also conserving resources for the attorney general’s office, which represents the state in court.

* The second BIMP amendment didn’t change much, but, man, this was just not cricket…

* The sponsor was so hoarse he could hardly speak…

* Best news of the day…

*** UPDATE *** React, starting with the governor…

Following the Senate passage of the FY24 budget agreement, Governor JB Pritzker released the following statement:

“My thanks to President Harmon, Leader Elgie Sims, and all the members of the Senate who voted today to advance our fifth balanced budget. This budget makes transformative investments in the children and families of Illinois while building on our record of fiscal responsibility. I look forward to the House taking up this budget that will make childcare and education more accessible, healthcare more affordable, and our state’s business and economic position even stronger.”

* IMA…

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) released the following statement regarding the Fiscal Year 2024 State Budget:

“A skilled, educated workforce is critical to the future of the manufacturing industry in Illinois, which is the largest contributor of any sector to the state’s Gross Domestic Product. We are encouraged by the additional investments in education, which will help to better prepare students for the high-tech, advanced manufacturing jobs that will grow our economy and move our state and nation forward,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We proudly partnered with the Governor’s office and legislative leaders in securing $400 million to close major economic development deals and attract businesses to the Land of Lincoln, as well as expand programs to strengthen our state’s electric vehicle and clean energy ecosystem. These initiatives, along with the reinstatement of the Blue Collar Jobs Act and continued elimination of the franchise tax, will further aid economic development across the state, and we look forward to building on these efforts in the coming years.”

* Illinois Municipal League…

The Illinois Municipal League (IML) issued the following statement in response to the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2024 state budget which includes an increase to the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF), which is estimated to provide an additional $112 million annually to cities, villages and towns:

“The Local Government Distributive Fund is an important tool to help Illinois cities, villages and towns pay for services like mandated pension benefits, critical infrastructure repairs, public safety and other important programs. We are pleased that the General Assembly recognizes the importance of LGDF to Illinois communities, and has chosen to increase the LGDF rate from 6.16% to 6.47%. We appreciate the increase and we are hopeful that LGDF will be put on a more rapid path to full restoration of 10% of the state’s total income tax revenue. The Illinois Municipal League will continue to advocate on this issue until LGDF is fully restored,” said IML Executive Director Brad Cole.

* Senate President Harmon…

Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement after the Senate voted to pass a balanced budget:

“This budget continues the work Democrats have done to restore economic prosperity to our state. It encompasses our shared goals of responsible budgeting and paying down debt while investing in key priorities like education, violence prevention and affordable housing.

“This was a collaborative effort. I am proud of the work we did, and I look forward to the House sending this balanced budget to the governor so he can sign it into law.”

* Leader Lightford…

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) declared the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget a positive investment for our state’s children – prioritizing education, youth employment and mental health.

“A person’s educational success begins the day they are born. The quickest way to fail a generation is by failing to prioritize their education,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “In Illinois, I am proud to say we took a positive step toward ensuring our students aren’t failed by an unjust system.”

The budget – backed by Lightford – includes a $250 million investment into early childhood education. The funding will be used to expand preschool, stabilize the child care workforce, and provide more early intervention and home visiting programs.

Further, the budget includes additional MAP grant funding, ensuring everyone at or below the median income can go to community college free. This builds upon Lightford’s commitment to prioritize education from birth to college.

“As a General Assembly, we did what was right by the people of Illinois and fought for equitable funding and access to education,” said Lightford. “I was proud to vote for a budget that provides our youth with greater opportunities for success – from investing in early childhood education to ensuring higher education is more affordable and accessible.”

The budget also included investments into workforce development – particularly for teens and young adults. It passed the Senate Thursday.


  1. - FKL - Thursday, May 25, 23 @ 11:30 pm:

    Landing Gears have been deployed.

  2. - Chito - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 12:28 am:

    Mary Flowers, how can we miss you if you won’t leave?

  3. - Yep - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 12:36 am:

    Nobody, but nobody will move a finger to save the Stratton Building. It was an unmitigated lemon the day they cut the ribbon.

  4. - Stuck in Celliniland - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 8:11 am:

    =Nobody, but nobody will move a finger to save the Stratton Building. It was an unmitigated lemon the day they cut the ribbon.=

    I agree it is time for a new building to replace the Stratton (as well as its younger twin downtown, Springfield’s Municipal Center), but ironically their cafeteria reopened last week for the first time since the pandemic shut down began.

  5. - Squirrel - Friday, May 26, 23 @ 9:02 am:

    Yep is right on the money. Everyone hates the Stratton Building.

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