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The Majority Report 02/13/17 - Do the job.


Do the job, governor

Do the jobIllinois has gone two years without a complete budget.

On Wednesday Gov. Bruce Rauner has a chance to do his job and put an end to the state’s suffering.

The governor is scheduled to deliver his budget speech at noon and unveil his plan for the next state budget year, July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

The Illinois Constitution requires the governor to propose a balanced budget:


(a) The Governor shall prepare and submit to the General Assembly, at a time prescribed by law, a State budget for the ensuing fiscal year. The budget shall set forth the estimated balance of funds available for appropriation at the beginning of the fiscal year, the estimated receipts, and a plan for expenditures and obligations during the fiscal year of every department, authority, public corporation and quasi-public corporation of the State, every State college and university, and every other public agency created by the State, but not of units of local government or school districts. The budget shall also set forth the indebtedness and contingent liabilities of the State and such other information as may be required by law. Proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds estimated to be available for the fiscal year as shown in the budget.

Three steps forward

Three steps forwardSenate Democrats last week passed three good-government measures that are part of their closely watched balanced budget and government reform deal.

The measures – government consolidation, procurement reform and financing relief for municipalities – were negotiated by lawmakers of both parties, but passed only with Democratic support. A fourth measure that was part of the bipartisan deal, a pension reform plan that Gov. Rauner said he supports and has pressured Democrats to bring for a vote, failed with no Republican votes.

Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Senate, called on lawmakers to continue working on the budget deal because there are no other comprehensive plans in the works to lift Illinois out of the budget morass.

“We need to pass the remaining components of the deal as soon as possible, because the fallout from the state’s fiscal crisis will continue to worsen,” he said. “Every day, Gov. Bruce Rauner spends $11 million more than the state has available to spend. I hope he will stop his allies from opposing our compromise, engage in honest negotiations and begin to use his office to lead – not to interfere with the Senate’s efforts.”

Senator Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, also expressed frustration at Republicans’ reluctance to vote on the grand bargain measures.

“I am disappointed that Senate Republicans refused today to support elements of the grand bargain budget deal – parts that they requested and have supported in the past,” he said.

“During the debate, many Republican senators referred to these pieces of legislation as ‘easy,’ and yet they failed to vote for them. If they are not willing to act on the low-hanging fruit of this overall negotiation, they are clearly not motivated to deal with the unprecedented and unacceptable budget impasse.”

The Senators expressed optimism that differences could be resolved and the entire Senate could rally to support the remaining components of the so-called grand bargain being assembled to address the state’s lingering problems.

In the news: Cullerton’s grand bargain push: ‘If not this plan, then what?’
Sun-Times editorial: Now let’s hear from the governor about that ‘grand bargain’
Budget now: Chicago Civic Federation sides against Rauner in fiscal plan
Pantagraph column: What Rauner could, should say in budget address


Lawmakers: Women’s agenda should be everyone’s agenda

Lawmakers: Women’s agenda should be everyone’s agenda

Three Senate Democrats are leading the way this spring on a legislative agenda that includes women’s equality, economic security and justice.

Senators Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) joined members of the Illinois Women Moving Forward coalition last week to discuss their proposals and encourage others to join the fight for fairness.

Bush’s proposal would make it illegal for hair salons, barbers, dry cleaners and tailors to discriminate, with respect to the price charged for services of similar kind, against a person based on gender.

“Too often women are charged more than men for the same services, while at the same time being paid less for doing the same job. This is unacceptable,” Bush said. “Preventing this unfair business practice will move Illinois another step forward in achieving economic equality for women.”

With nearly 45 percent of Illinois private-sector workers unable to access a single paid sick day, Hutchinson discussed her push to make Illinois the sixth state in the nation to require some form of paid sick time.

“At the end of the day, you should never have to choose between being sick and taking care of yourself or someone that you have the responsibility to take care of,” Hutchinson said. “It is a basic matter of fairness.”


In case you missed it


Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Shorewood: Lawmakers say Rauner should propose school funding plan (Peoria Public Radio)

Senator Daniel Biss, Evanston: Biss, Moeller announce measures to close the gender wage gap (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Melinda Bush, Grayslake: Illinois Democrats push back against Trump on abortion (Chicago Tribune)

Senator James Clayborne, Belleville: White pushes to expand organ and tissue donor registry (Advantage News, Alton)

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Oak Park students among qualifiers for state robotics championships (Oak Leaves, Oak Park)

Senator Toi Hutchinson, Chicago Heights: Bill would lower sales tax rate but tax more things (Daily Herald, Arlington Heights)

Senator Mattie Hunter, Chicago: Illinois residents make pledge to go sugarless on Wednesdays (Lawndale News)

Senator Iris Y. Martinez, Chicago: Senate bill would offer option between Real IDs or noncompliant driver's licenses (Herald-Whig, Quincy)

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: Bill would make changes to criticized state deaf commission (The State Journal-Register, Springfield)

Senator Martin Sandoval, Chicago: ‘We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in this region alone in projects that need to be built’ (Belleville News-Democrat)

Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: State lawmakers consider making Illinois ‘sanctuary state’ (WREX TV, Rockford)


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