Democrats release parliamentary hold on gun control legislation
A controversial gun control bill could soon be heading to the governor's desk. The "Gun Dealer Licensing Bill" was criticized by many as an ineffective idea targeting gun crimes that would instead likely put many firearms stores out of business and potentially harm law-abiding gun owners.
Former Governor Rauner has already vetoed a similar bill. In response, Chicago Democrats then passed a similar bill again in the spring, but instead of sending it to the Governor during the constitutionally-required 30-day period, they used a parliamentary trick to hold the bill in the Senate. That hold was released on January 8th, starting the 30-day clock.
Senator Schimpf is closely monitoring the situation and noted his disappointment in parliamentary tricks being used to potentially advance such controversial legislation.
Bill Brady unanimously voted Senate Republican Leader
Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington was elected in a unanimous vote to the office of Illinois Senate Republican Leader, as the 101st General Assembly convened Jan. 9.
Brady has represented the 44th Legislative District since his appointment to the Senate in May 2002. Brady previously served in the House of Representatives, representing the 88th District from 1993 to 2001. He became Senate Minority Leader in June 2017.
In remarks this week, Leader Brady said he was honored and humbled to be elected Leader by his Senate colleagues. He said he looks forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle to stabilize Illinois’ economy, create more jobs, balance the state budget and limit tax burdens on Illinois residents.
“The people of Illinois deserve nothing less than our best efforts,” said Brady, following his election as Leader. “Thank you for this opportunity.”
Governor Rauner issues end of term progress report
In a constitutionally prescribed report to be delivered to the 101st General Assembly, former Gov. Rauner said that critical fiscal challenges remain for the state despite important progress his administration made in education, government operations, healthcare services, technology, job growth, and criminal justice.
"We have helped save billions of dollars for taxpayers and we've dramatically improved service," the Governor said, "but if state government spending continues to grow faster than our economy, we will not be able to avoid persistent deficits, tax increases, and the out-migration of jobs and families.
"Unless we implement major structural reforms to cause our economy to grow faster than government, our children could face a bleak future of ever higher taxes and lost opportunity," he said.
The full report will be delivered to the General Assembly later this week. It highlights some of the Rauner-Sanguinetti Administration's achievements since 2015 in education, economy, government and political and ethics reform. The highlights include:
Education: Record funding for K-12 and early childhood education and equal funding for charter schools, expanded student apprenticeships, a historic tuition scholarship tax credit, and one of the best plans in America for measuring student growth.
Economy: Record high employment, the formation of Intersect Illinois to recruit and expand businesses at no expense to taxpayers, reduced LLC fees and red tape and fewer regulatory burdens, clean energy job leadership, and dramatically expanded minority contracting with the state.
Government: Moved state services into the digital age saving billions for taxpayers, eliminated forced unionization of government employees, negotiated 22 incentive-based contracts with state unions, won a $2 billion 1115 Medicaid waiver to vault the state into pre-eminence in mental health, prevented millions in Medicaid fraud and abuse, and cut prison recidivism rates from 50 percent to 39 percent.
Politics & Ethics: Signed Executive Orders to curb lobbyist revolving doors and sexual harassment and prevent legislators arguing cases in front of the state property tax appeals board; championed term limits and fair maps; and urged legislators to remove blocks to such majority-supported voter initiatives.
Illinois receives $3. 7 million Early Childhood Development Grant funds
The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development this week received a $3.7 million Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) Initial Grant Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The grant is one of 45 distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Child Care to enhance early childhood programming, which includes Head Start and Early Head Start, state prekindergarten programs, child care, and home visiting services. The Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development will serve as the lead agency for the grant, which will allow the Office to develop a needs assessment and strategic plan and to strengthen the state's system of early childhood programs.
In 2016, an executive order established the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Youth, which convenes leaders from across state agencies to improve outcomes for Illinois children and families. One of the projects that the Children's Cabinet has adopted is promoting early childhood workforce development.
The PDG B-5 grant will run through Dec. 31, 2019, and the Office will have the opportunity to apply for renewal grants before the end of the year.