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The Majority Report 05/21/17 - Cullerton to GOP: Do you think it's going to get better?


Cullerton to GOP: Do you think it's going to get better?

Senate President John J. CullertonDespite repeated Republican attempts to draw the process out further by asking for more time, Senate Democrats succeeded in passing several components of the grand bargain last week.

Aware of the ticking clock, and with only two weeks left in the legislative Session, Senate President John Cullerton called on Republicans to take action to end the state's historic budget impasse.

"Do you think it's going to get better? Seriously?" he asked during Senate floor debate.

Among the measures passed:
Gaming expansion sponsored by Senator Terry Link, Vernon Hills
A local government consolidation measure sponsored by Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park
A measure allowing the state to borrow $7 billion to pay down its $14 billion backlog, sponsored by Senator Donne Trotter, Chicago

The Senate also passed a spending plan for the remainder of the current budget year and a full budget for the next budget year. Unfortunately, Republicans refused to support the plan that was built around a fiscal framework they had brought to negotiations.

Speaking with reporters after last week's vote, Cullerton said that Democrats and Republicans have sat down for more than a dozen meetings and negotiations since the grand bargain was introduced on January 11. He said he was under the impression they had reached an agreement.

"So the issue is, why did the Republicans not vote for the budget?" he said. "If it's because we didn't pass enough reforms, then I need to know specifically what we didn't pass."  

You can view the Senate President's full remarks here.

In the news:
Chicago Tribune: Illinois Senate Dems push ahead on budget, but many factors are pushing back
Chicago Sun-Times: Senate Dems clear some budget bills; GOP wants more time


Manar passes school funding reform

Senators Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy Manar: Facebook LiveSenator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, secured passage last week of legislation changing the state's school funding formula, which has been widely criticized as "broken" by both sides of the aisle.

Manar's legislation replaces the state's current school funding formula, which is nearly 20 years old, with an evidence-based model. It creates adequacy targets of per-pupil spending and distributes funds to different tiers based on their calculated adequacy level. The measure includes a base funding minimum that ensures no district will receive less state funding than it did this year.

The legislation passed in the Senate with full Democratic support, but Gov. Bruce Rauner continued to criticize it because he doesn't support funding Chicago Public Schools.

Manar criticized the governor for sowing division in response to the measure.

"Here's the bottom line: The only opposition that exists to Senate Bill 1 is from Bruce Rauner and his enablers, who for some reason refuse to show independence from the governor when it comes time to do the right thing," Manar said. "Gov. Rauner and his team can put out all the statements they want claiming I abandoned the bipartisan process. I can sleep at night knowing I've never abandoned Illinois students or leveraged the state's future for a political agenda."

Prior to last week's vote, Manar and Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, a Maywood Democrat, held a Facebook Live virtual town hall in which they answered questions about the school funding reform bill. Lightford has been a vocal supporter of the legislation and the positive impact she believes it will have on lower-income and disadvantaged children in Chicago.

You can view the Facebook Live event here.


In case you missed it

Senator Omar Aquino, Chicago: 4 insurers out of running for Rauner's Medicaid overhaul (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Scott Bennett, Champaign: Sen. Bennett Seeks New School Funding Formula (WDAN)

Senator Daniel Biss, Evanston: Illinois Senate Oks Daniel Biss' campaign donor matching plan (State Journal-Register)

Senator Tom Cullerton, Villa Park: Lawmakers want investigation into Springfield warehouse lease (State Journal-Register)

Senator Bill Cunningham, Chicago: SB 447 to provide more options (The Beverly Review)

Senator Don Harmon, Oak Park: Legislator: Bill Would Trigger $2.2B in Illinois Wind Energy Projects (WTTW Chicago)

Senator Linda Holmes, Aurora: Illinois failing thousands of victims of domestic violence (Chicago Sun-Times)

Senator Mattie Hunter, Chicago: Jesse White's legislation to expand the organ/tissue donor registry sent to governor (WRUL)

Senator Pat McGuire, Joliet: Revisions to Illinois' procurement code advance to full Senate (News Gazette)

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: Lawmakers want answers from state child welfare officials (Chicago Tribune)

Senator Martin Sandoval, Chicago: ILLC Chairman Sandoval Leads State Collaboration Agreement (Lawndale News)


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