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Illinois Govt

Lawmakers: Not much will get done in Springfield this month

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Don’t look for much action from the Illinois Capitol this month. In fact, don’t look for much of anything, lawmakers from both parties said, because the General Assembly is pretty much taking the month of March off.

Both the Illinois House and Senate are scheduled for just four days of sessions this month, and they could cancel some of them.

State Rep. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, said Illinois lawmakers haven’t done much all year.

“If you look at the calendar, in January we were here just a few days. In February it was about the same. In March we’re in four days, that’s it for the House,” Bennett said.

State Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, said while lawmakers haven’t done much so far, he noted that the real action always comes in late April and May.

“I would say that we’re off to a slow start,” Davis said. “But nevertheless, we have a budget that we ultimately have to pass by the end of the year. So there are some things yet to be done.”

No one seems to know though, whether that will be a full state budget, a six-month state budget, or if there will be a budget at all.

On key issues – such as property tax reform, pension reform and workers compensation reform – there’s no expectation that lawmakers will do much of anything about them.

 

Article by Benjamin Yount. For more Illinois News Network content, visit ILNews.org 

Illinois News Network, publisher of ILNews.org, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media company dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility in the state of Illinois. INN is Illinois’ pioneering non-profit news brand, offering content from the statehouse and beyond to Illinoisans through their local media of choice and from their digital hub at ILNews.org. Springfield Daily was granted republishing permission by INN.

2018 Election

Local Republicans take “People’s Pledge” for term limits

Thomas Clatterbuck

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Should there be limits on how long someone can serve in office? For the Republicans the answer is a strong yes. The “People’s Pledge” lays out a commitment to limiting individuals to eight years in an executive office, and ten years in the General Assembly. Those who sign the pledge say they will work to get the question on a ballot for the voters to decide. Today, Rep. Tim Butler (R-87), along with local candidates Mike Murphy, Herman Senor, and Steve McClure all signed the pledge with Governor Rauner.

The signed pledges

This is not the first effort to get term limits on the ballot. In 2014, Rauner led a petition effort to get the term limit question on the ballot. Despite getting a substantial number of signatures, this effort was struck down by the courts. They ruled the proposed changes had to originate in the General Assembly.

Term limits are designed to create turnover in government. For supporters, this is a good thing because it brings in new people. Opponents agree it creates turnover, but point out no other industry seeks out employee turnover. However, the primary motivation in Illinois for term limits is Speaker Mike Madigan.

Madigan has dominated the Illinois House for decades. Rauner, who is a vocal opponent of Madigan, said that such a long tenure has led to corruption and other issues. The second half of the People’s Pledge is a vow to support anyone but Madigan for Speaker. The Republicans said they would like to retake the House and have a Republican Speaker, but they are willing to back any other Democrat that runs for Speaker.

You can watch the full remarks below, or the local candidate’s in the player above.

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Illinois Govt

Rep. Jimenez’s Legislation to Move State Jobs Back to the Capital City Signed into Law

Staff Contributor

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State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez’s push to return state jobs to the capital city today culminated in the signing of a new law mandating that Sangamon County be the default location for state positions in agencies under the Governor. House Bill 4295 directs state agencies to set a geographic location for each job, and if there isn’t a geographic necessity for the state job, then it should be located in Sangamon County.

“For all of my time as state representative, I have made it a priority to push State agencies to identify positions within State government that can and should be located in Sangamon County. A recent report identified hundreds of jobs that could potentially be relocated to the capital city. By making Sangamon County the default location for state jobs in state law, it sends a clear signal that state jobs should be in the capital city, unless they need to be located somewhere else in the state to best serve our residents,” said State Representative Jimenez (R-Leland Grove), the legislation’s chief sponsor.

Rep. Jimenez previously spearheaded passage of a resolution urging agencies under the Governor to compile a report listing the number of state employees in each county, including justification for the location. The report released indicates the potential for nearly 400 jobs to move back to the capital city. The new preference contained in House Bill 4295 takes the next step in the process, requiring the Director of Central Management Services to relocate to Sangamon County all State employment positions under the Personnel Code that are not required by their nature or function to be located in another area. It also requires that all new positions created be located in the Capitol City unless required to be located in another specific location.

The relocation provisions will apply to currently vacant positions and as they become vacant in the future.

“The home of Illinois’ state government should also be home base for as many state government employees as possible. That will help streamline the process of providing services and also save taxpayer dollars in the long run – two improvements we need now more than ever,” Representative Jimenez said.

For more information and detail about this bill, previous efforts and the report from 2016, visit www.repsara.com.

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2018 Election

New automatic voter registration law won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters face-to-face

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A new automatic voter registration law in Illinois won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters in an old-fashioned way.

Sharon Alter is vice president of voter services and co-chair of voter service with the League of Women Voters of Illinois. She says in-person, face-to-face registration always will have a place of importance.

“People still like the personal contact,” Alter said. “And that contact is important not just with prospective older voters, but also prospective younger voters. During the course of the in-person voter registration, some voting questions can come up, so there’s an education process, especially for a first-time voter.”

The League of Women Voters of Illinois is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Portions of the automatic voter registration law have begun to roll out. Earlier this month, Illinois’ Department of Motor Vehicle employees began to check for a customer’s voter registration online and allow citizens to sign-up if they wish to “opt-in”. Eventually, any eligible resident interacting with the DMV automatically will be registered to vote.

“The League of Women Voters Illinois is part of a coalition that supported the passage of this legislation,” Alter said. “Obviously, what all of us have to do is an education campaign. And that education campaign for voters about the process and the alternative here is just beginning.”

Illinois previously opened up online and same-day registration as part of a sweeping change to election laws in 2014. Alter says that didn’t really slow the demand for in-person sign-ups.

“When online voter registration started, as lot of people thought in-person voter registration would die out, but it really hasn’t,” Alter said. “And I would say at least for a while, even with automatic voter registration, in-person voter registration will still continue.”

Alter says she’s noticed a recent increase in voting interest across the board, but particularly among younger citizens.

“There’s an undercurrent of activism and interest and that’s across the board in ages, but particularly among younger voters,” Alter said. “A number of organizations have increased their membership, certainly since the November 2016 election, including the League of Women Voters.

Meanwhile, as part of the state’s membership in a national voter database, Illinois is required to try to reach people who are eligible to vote but who aren’t registered.
That means the state soon will spend $240,000 to send letters to unregistered voters.

 

Article by Scot Bertram, for more news visit ILnews.org

 

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