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The Majority Report 05/28/17 - Senate passes plan that balances Rauner's budget


Senate Dems pass budget for state's stability and certainty

Budged dealAfter months of Republican requests for more time on a bipartisan budget deal, Senate Democrats decided the people of Illinois have waited long enough and passed a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2018.

The budget passed balances Governor Rauner's proposed $37.3 billion budget, eliminating its $4.5 billion hole with a mix of cuts and revenues.

Included in the budget are $3 billion in cuts and reductions to government spending.

"We're stabilizing the finances and ending the chaos that this impasse has created," said Senate President John Cullerton.

The plan also ensures public schools will be able to open this fall, providing $330 million in additional funding, including $35 million for early childhood education programs and grants for after school programs and advanced placement classes.

Universities and community colleges will also get much-needed stability after going two years without a full budget from the state. Students would gain certainty about going to college with the return of MAP grant scholarship funding.

Vital human services programs would be reinstated under the Senate plan, including: autism support, youth employment, Teen Reach, community youth services, immigrant services and addiction prevention services.  

Other key programs that would again see state funding after would include programs to help independent seniors stay in their homes, breast and cervical cancer screenings, domestic violence shelters, mental health programs and child care services.


Raoul, Biss pass workers' comp reform measures

Sen. Kwame RaoulAfter passing a balanced budget, the Senate met one of Governor Rauner's demands by passing two separate workers' compensation reform measures.

State Senator Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, secured passage of legislation that streamlines the state's workers' compensation system while keeping valuable protections in place.

"We refuse to participate in a race to the bottom when it comes to workers' compensation rights," Raoul said. "We have addressed this issue before with great success. Although we can always look for ways to reform workers' compensation, we must also maintain Illinois' longstanding commitment to workers' rights."

House Bill 2622, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat, would create a privately operated, nonprofit state-chartered insurance company in Illinois that would offer workers' comp insurance to employers as a competitive alternative to for-profit insurers.

Sen. Daniel Biss"This is a system that many states already use with incredible success - to the point of being able to offer dividends to employers," Biss said. "This is a sensible pro-growth idea that will keep help to keep insurance companies honest and get workers' comp rates down."








Bush, Bertino-Tarrant pass measures to reduce opioid abuse

Sen. Melinda BushWith opioid addiction and overdose deaths rising across the country, two senators introduced bills aimed at reducing the abuse of heroin and prescription pain medication.

Senate Bill 1607, sponsored by Senator Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, would require prescribers of controlled substances to check the Prescription Monitoring Program database to see if a patient has been prescribed a controlled substance by another doctor prior to writing a script. This would make it harder for individuals to obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors, a practice known as doctor shopping.

"Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States," Bush said. "We should do everything in our power to reduce opioid addiction and overdose. This legislation would make it harder for individuals to shop for doctors and obtain multiple opioid prescriptions. This is a key step toward tackling the opioid epidemic we're facing in Illinois."  MORE >

House Bill 3161, sponsored by Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, a Shorewood Democrat, would require the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and maintain a website to educate people on heroin and prescription opioid abuse.

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant"We need to take every possible step to address the heroin and opioid addiction problems our state faces," Bertino-Tarrant said. "Families are being destroyed by addiction and we need to make information and resources more readily available."

Under the measure, the website developed and maintained by DHS would include the warning signs of heroin and opioid addiction, helpful tips for parents on how to discuss the dangers of addiction with their children, available treatment options and services and other related information. MORE >






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Senator Bill Cunningham, Chicago: Illinois Senate OKs bill allowing AT&T to drop landlines (Peoria Journal Star)

Senator Dave Koehler, Peoria: City of Canton recipient of affordable housing grant (Canton Daily Ledger)

Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill: Senators praise, honor Roger Walker with road designation (Herald & Review)

Senator Iris Y. Martinez, Chicago: Martinez calls on Rauner Executives to stop trashing CPS (Lawndale News)

Senator Julie Morrison, Deerfield: Congested waterways could mean warnings, citations for misbehaving boaters (Freeport Journal Standard)

Senator Steve Stadelman, Rockford: Most Rockford tax bills went down this year (Rockford Register Star)


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