On June 23, the Senate held another “Committee of the Whole” meeting to discuss mandatory sick time and increasing the state minimum wage. Both topics brought employees and members of the business community to talk about their views on the topics. The hearing was poorly attended with several Senators noticeably absent.
No legislative action was expected or taken on either subject.
The hearing was lambasted by Senate Republicans as another day of political theater, where no progress was made on passing pro-job reforms or a balanced state budget.
The current fiscal year ends on June 30. If no budget is in place by July 1, there will be no spending authority for many vital state agencies and programs.
Instead of working to make sure state employees get paid and important programs can keep their doors open, Democrat leadership wasted another week by refusing to work with the Governor to grow jobs and balance the budget.
House rejects pension payment delay for Chicago schools House lawmakers failed to pass legislation to create a 40-day delay before the Chicago Public School District’s $634 million pension payment is due. The bill was requested by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give the city more time to figure out how to make the payment. The proposed delay would have meant the bill wasn’t due until Aug. 10, when the first state-aid payment is due and after some city revenue would have come in.
The Chicago Teachers Union had some strong criticism for the bill, saying that the school district was deliberately undermining its financial position while negotiating an expiring labor contract.
DCEO privatization bill passes the House The House did pass a measure to create a new, private Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The idea was initially proposed by Gov. Rauner, inspired by successful private programs in several other states.
Before passage however, Democrats inserted several amendments that may kill the effort, including a three-year sunset provision. Many experts believe that three years simply isn’t enough time for the agency to become viable.