Senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) voted yes on the budget proposal that passed the Illinois Senate Wednesday, May 30, one day prior to the May 31 deadline. The Fiscal Year 2019 budget plan passed out of the Senate with a vote of 56-2.
“This budget isn’t perfect by any means, but it satisfies my three largest concerns,” said Schimpf. “As I’ve previously stated—it had to be balanced, have no new or increased taxes, and had to comply with the Illinois Constitution. Despite its imperfections, this budget meets those criteria.”
Sen. Schimpf has shared that his ideal budget would have spent less money and paid down some of the state’s debt. Regardless, he says this balanced budget allows both houses to avoid another impasse that would have devastated the state.
Illinois Senate passes AFSCME back pay bill
Tens of thousands of state workers in Illinois could see IOU’s for back wages paid out thanks to the Illinois Senate’s passage of House Bill 4290. The bill appropriates more than $63 million for back wages owed to AFSCME members dating back to 2011.
Sen. Schimpf voted yes on the measure on Wednesday, May 30, as he has been a strong advocate for honoring the promises made to the men and women who put in the work, but never got the pay they were promised.
"This is long overdue,” said Schimpf. "The Illinois Supreme Court has said that this is a valid, contractual debt that the State of Illinois owes to some of its workers. It’s time we pony up and get this done."
More than 24,000 state employees could be paid out for their service to the state in the Departments of Corrections, Human Services, Juvenile Justice, and more.
“A lot of state workers impacted by this never thought they’d see this day come,” said Schimpf. “As I’ve previously stated—this measure does what the state said it’d do more than seven years ago. It’s only right to honor our obligations.”
The measure passed out of the Illinois House the week of May 21. The bill now heads to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk for final approval. The Governor’s Office has been neutral on the issue.
Bipartisan working group announces higher education reforms
After months of study about the future of Illinois’ higher education system, the Higher Education Working Group announced a package of comprehensive reforms on May 29.
The group has developed a series of legislative initiatives to strengthen Illinois’ colleges and universities, making them more attractive and affordable for students across the state for many years to come.
Southwest Illinois Task Force Resolution
A resolution that would have created the Southwest Illinois Connector Task Force is stuck on the House Resolutions Calendar—as lawmakers pack their bags and return to their districts for summer.
Senate Joint Resolution 54 (SJR54) passed out of the Senate on May 10 and the House Transportation Committee amended and passed the resolution on May 23.
“I’m disappointed that both houses were unable to complete action on this resolution prior to adjournment,” said Schimpf. “The lack of urgency in Springfield regarding our region’s infrastructure remains one of my greatest frustrations.”
The Resolution called for the study of the cost, feasibility, and environmental impact of a proposed four lane divided highway from Waterloo to Murphysboro. The study would have also assessed the short and long-term economic impact to the region, and all options for funding—both public and private.
As currently drafted, the resolution requires that task force members conduct four meetings and produce a report by Dec. 31, 2018. Sen. Schimpf expects to meet with the highway project’s grassroots supporters to assess the project’s next steps.
“Although I expect this resolution to ultimately pass and be signed into law, I’m concerned about whether the task force can meet the aggressive timelines set forth in the legislation,” said Schimpf.
Game Over for now on Illinois Gambling Act
The Illinois House Executive Committee failed to pass a measure this week that called for an expansion to the state’s gaming laws. Senate Bill 7 also known as the Illinois Gambling Act would have added additional owners’ licenses and called for changes to the provisions concerning the admission tax and privilege tax. In a statement released Monday, May 28, Sen. Schimpf said the move was a loss for the district.
“I’m disappointed the Illinois House has failed again to move forward on a gaming bill that would have spurred economic growth in Southern Illinois,” said Schimpf. “I supported this legislation in the Illinois Senate for two reasons. First, it would have allowed Walker’s Bluff to bring a casino license to their winery. Second, it would have authorized Fairmount Park to offer electronic gaming at its racetrack. I urge the Illinois House of Representatives to take up this matter again during the Fall Veto Session.”
Sen. Paul Schimpf was invited to speak on the Illinois Senate floor on Memorial Day. In his speech, the Senator spoke to the significance of the holiday in terms of our country’s future.
“As long as our best and brightest continue to believe in America and believe that we are worthy of their sacrifices, our country will always be successful in the long run,” said Schimpf.
Senator Schimpf ended by saying God Bless you all and God Bless America.
About State Senator Paul Schimpf
Sen. Schimpf took the Oath of Office during the Inauguration of the 100th General Assembly on Jan. 11, 2017 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Senate District 58 includes all or parts of Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Monroe, St. Clair, Washington, and Union Counties and represents more than 220,000 Illinois citizens.