Expect some wheeling and dealing in the Illinois House from Democrats working to get votes to override the governor’s vetoes of dozens of bills.
After the November midterm elections, the current batch of state lawmakers will head back to Springfield for veto session. They could consider 78 bills the governor vetoed or changed so far this calendar year. Each bill’s chief sponsor would have to motion for an override in the chamber the bill originated.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said that’s a lot of bills for sponsors to consider for override attempts.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had this kind of volume going into veto session,” Cassidy said.
Forty-five of them passed both the House and Senate with supermajorities. Cassidy doesn’t expect many to be contentious.
“I will say this is my first summer of this administration without a veto so I’m kind of excited,” Cassidy said.
Of all the bills that passed both chambers with simple majorities, only 19 had enough votes for an override in the Senate, where Democrats have a supermajority. House Democrats only have a simple majority, not the 71 votes needed for a successful override, so overriding those 19 is uncertain in the House. Overrides must pass both chambers to be successful. If not, the governor’s veto is sustained.
And since veto session follows the election, there will be so-called lame-duck lawmakers who won’t be around for the next session that begins in January.
State Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, said there will be some calculation, especially after an election. He said individual lawmakers will have to make their case.
“Maybe we might be able to turn, not only some of those lame ducks, but also some of the other members that at least initially didn’t vote for the bill,” Davis said.
One lawmaker who won’t be in the legislature in January, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, said she doesn’t think there will be pressure.
“Certainly nobody’s going to pressure me,” said Ives, R-Wheaton. “I think I’ve proven I’m not one to fall to pressure.”
Ives legally can’t run for office because she ran for a higher office in the Republican primary in March, when she challenged incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, getting within four points of victory.
As to if there’s going to be some drama, Ives said there’s no love-affair between the governor and the 15 Republicans who voted with Democrats in 2017 to override the governor’s veto of tax increases.
State Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, said he counts votes, not lame ducks.
“I think we’re going to lean on people of good will regardless of their political spectrum or geography to vote their conscious on things like equal pay and a minimum wage for teachers to make sure they’re not living in poverty,” said Mitchell, who is also the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
In previous years, Auditor General reports of the General Assembly show that during Rauner’s first full fiscal year (fiscal 2016), there were 44 vetoes lawmakers either didn’t attempt or failed to override. The second half of that year, Republicans were able to take away the Democrats’ supermajority in the House. The next full fiscal year (fiscal 2017), there were 43 sustained vetoes.
There were 18 overrides of Rauner’s vetoes in all of calendar year 2017. So far this calendar year, there have been 2 overrides.
Veto session begins Nov. 13.
Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Illinois unveiling a new model of accountability to divvy up federal money for schools
Illinois’ education officials are set to unveil new metrics that will decide how much local school districts could receive in federal school improvement funds.
Using the new support and accountability model that’s planned to be released at the end of the month, schools that are struggling could receive $150,000 in Title I federal funds for school improvement, plus additional funds based on enrollment and state and local funding levels in the current school year. Some of those funds would have already been distributed earlier this year, officials said.
Rae Clementz, ISBE’s Director of Assessment and Accountability, said the new accountability and support metrics will provide insight for school officials and the public.
“It helps us depict a better, richer picture of the many ways in which schools are doing wonderful things,” she said.
Much of the new accountability and support model will be based on student data gleaned from PARCC, the acronym for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Officials said that, while the test was not going to be conducted, the content would still be delivered and used to measure growth via an Illinois assessment of readiness.
PARCC received criticism from parents and administrators alike for long periods of testing.
One statistic that’s going to be factored in is chronic absenteeism, which measures students missing class for any reason, not just truancy.
“Chronic absenteeism highlights students that may otherwise go unnoticed in average attendance,” Clementz said.
Absenteeism figures will be higher than chronic truancy, which only measures unexcused absences. In the 2015 school year, the most recent year for which data was available, 335,094 Illinois students missed at least 10 percent of their school days. This is what advocacy group Attendance Works classifies as “chronically absent.”
Patrick Payne, director of Data Strategies and Analytics with ISBE said there will also be new information on teacher quality released, measuring certain credentials and “the number of inexperienced teachers.”
The new measurements will not affect the state’s school funding formula that went into effect this year.
Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
CDC: Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Infections Linked to Raw Chicken Products
CDC | 92 people have been sickened in a recent outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella, including five in Illinois. 21 people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. This outbreak is more worrisome because the Salmonella strains are resistant to several types of antibiotics.
No single source of contaminated chicken has been identified yet. The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens. Because the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry. The CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products.
The CDC advises individuals to always handle raw chicken carefully, and cook it thoroughly to avoid contamination. Chicken needs to be cooked at at least 165ºF to kill harmful germs. Properly cooked chicken should not pose a risk of illness. Always wash your hands, utensils, and cooking areas after handling raw chicken. Do not wash raw chicken before cooking. This can cause cross-contamination.
- Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
- The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
- In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
- In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
- Children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
- For more information, see the CDC Salmonella website.
To learn more about this outbreak and food safety, check out the CDC’s website.
City gets good budget news tempered with warnings
The City of Springfield is on track for a budget surplus in FY 2019. Based on current revenue, the city may have a positive fund balance of $1.7 million. This comes as something of a surprise, considering the original budget had an estimated $2.6 million shortfall. At last night’s city council meeting, Budget Director Bill McCarty explained what caused the turnaround.
Numerous factors played into the turnaround. Early tax payments, a large settlement from Comcast, and a transfer from Fund 095 to the corporate fund were key on the revenue side. Hiring delays and stabilizing healthcare cost increases have been key on the expense side of the equation.
The city’s good management has been noted by outsiders as well. The S&P affirmed the city’s AA bond rating, which helps determine how much interest is paid on new bonds. A higher bond rating is a good indicator of financial health, and so avoiding a downgrade is very valuable for the city.
Clouds on the horizon
But while the current year is better than expected, the council was given several warnings about the future. Director McCarty pointed out that much of the surplus was due to a one time settlement. That extra million helps this year, but doesn’t represent a lasting increase in revenue. While optimistic about the long
Representatives from the Police Pension fund also warned about the growing pension obligations. Pensions already consume all of the property tax revenue in the city. McCarty said that where property tax used to pay for pensions and other things, now they only pay for pensions; and even other revenue sources are being tapped to make the required payments.
The S&P also noted these long-term challenges. So while the current AA rating was affirmed, the city’s outlook was downgraded from “stable” to “negative.” Although this will not impact current interest rates, it might make future borrowing more expensive.
You can watch McCarty’s presentation to the council which starts at 55:00. You can also watch his after meeting Q&A in the player below.
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