Senate Week in Review Feb. 6 - 10
MURPHYSBORO, IL - The Illinois Senate returned to the Capitol on Feb. 7 to continue the deliberations on the Senate Leadership's compromise proposal to end the state's long-running fiscal stalemate, according to State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo).
The compromise is structured as a series of 13 separate bills on subjects ranging from worker's comp reform to new tax proposals. The bills are linked together--they must all pass in order for any of them to take effect. Consequently, Senator Schimpf had decided that he would be voting "yes" or "no" on every bill in the package. "I disagree with splitting my votes up when they are all a package deal," Schimpf stated. "If I were to support the compromise, I should own it all--not just the popular provisions," Schimpf added.
Senate President John Cullerton called for votes on four of the bills on Wednesday, February 8th. At that point, Senator Schimpf felt compelled to take a public position on the proposed compromise. Schimpf stated, "Today, I cast a 'no' vote on all four bills that were put to a vote. For me to support this compromise, it must contain a balanced budget, comply with the Illinois Constitution, include meaningful reforms, and offset any tax increases with significant spending cuts. The proposed compromise does not satisfy those standards and I cannot support it in its present form."
One of the four bills that contained changes to the state's pension system failed, leaving the fate of the compromise legislation uncertain. Schimpf hopes Senate Leadership will continue negotiating to improve the package. "I do hope for more negotiations, and I believe we are making progress," Schimpf stated. "I fear what the consequences will be for the 58th Senate District if we go another two years without a budget," he continued.
The pension reform bill was troubling for Senator Schimpf. "Unconstitutional pension reform has no business in this package," Schimpf stated. "Based on the previous court rulings, I believe the 'Cullerton consideration plan' is not going to survive constitutional review. I will not support a pension plan that is a blatant diminishment of benefits," Schimpf said.
Senator Schimpf believed the Feb. 8 votes were rushed by the Illinois Senate President, at a time when it looked like the continued negotiations were beginning to yield results. Sadly, not much progress was achieved, but constituents need to be reminded that at least "both sides of the aisle" are still talking.
'Blue Lives Matter'
Senator Schimpf is cosponsoring Senate Bill 1380 which is commonly referred to as the "Blue Lives Matter" legislation. The bill comes on the heels of several high-profile violent incidents which have targeted police, correctional officers, and first-responders because they wear badges. SB 1380 simply adds local, state, and federal law enforcement and first-responders to the current Illinois Hate Crimes statutes. For more about the "Blue Lives Matter" legislation, please visit www.senatorschimpf.com.