BRADY NAMED TO CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON PENSIONS
After failing to reach a compromise on pension reform during the one-day special session on June 19, the General Assembly has decided to utilize the Conference Committee process in hopes of making substantial reforms and stabilizing the state’s pension system. Among the legislators named to the Committee is State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington)
“Without a doubt the pension crisis is the greatest threat to the stability and financial well being of our state,” said Brady. “I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of the Conference Committee and hope my experience can help us reach a solution.” Said Brady.
Conference Committees are composed of 10 appointees designated by each of the four legislative leaders; the Senate President and House Speaker each appointed three members, while the minority leaders each appointed two. Conference Committee members are anticipated to meet both privately and publicly to iron out differences and come to an agreement, which will be filed and presented to lawmakers in both chambers in a Conference Committee Report.
Joining Senator Brady in representing the Senate Republicans on the Conference Committee will be Deputy Senate Republican Leader Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).
In addition to Murphy and Brady, the other appointees to the Conference Committee are: Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside), Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago); Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) and Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy)
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE WORK MAY BE CONSIDERED IN JULY
Lawmakers are likely to return in early July to consider the product of the Conference Committee’s meetings. If the report’s effective date is immediate, the measure will require a 3/5 vote for passage. If the effective date is changed to June 1, 2014, a simple majority vote would be required.
Should the Conference Committee be unable to reach an agreement or the report is defeated by a roll call vote, a second Conference Committee can be created. If the second fails to develop a proposal that passes muster with lawmakers, the bill is declared lost. However, it is also possible for the Committee to submit "corrected" reports which contain new changes and have the practical effect of giving lawmakers more than two opportunities to reach a consensus.
GOV SIGNS “FRACKING” BILL INTO LAW
On June 17 legislation allowing the state to adopt regulations affecting hydraulic fracturing, frequently known as “fracking,” was signed into law by the Governor. Senate Bill 1715, which is the result of extensive negotiations between environmental groups and industry representatives, defines how Illinois will regulate and monitor fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing is the process of forcing pressurized water, sand, and other materials underground to expand fissures in rock layers that trap natural gas or oil. Doing so allows the gas or oil to escape to the surface where it can be more easily recovered. While environmental groups initially raised concerns that hydraulic fracturing could have a negative impact on Illinois’ natural resources, proponents of the legislation say that the regulations in Senate Bill 1715 are to be considered a model for the nation in balancing environmental concerns with the significant opportunities for jobs that the process offers.
It has been estimated that hydraulic fracturing could create as many as 40,000 jobs in Illinois in job-starved areas of the state. The economic development opportunities and growth associated with fracking will also expand to other regions of Illinois, as the industry will rely on resources, material and transportation from all corners of the state.