Legislators Return to Springfield for Final Days of Spring Session
Today, Governor Rauner was joined by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and business leaders from across the state for a press conference. Together, they outlined the importance of approving a balanced budget during these final days of the spring legislative session. “If we leave by the end of the month without a budget, it’s not because the Republicans- the Governor, the Senate Republicans and the House Republicans- are not willing to negotiate and compromise to find a solution,” said Durkin. “Its not going to be on our hands. It’s going to be on the Democrats’ hands.”
This unwillingness to budge is hurting Illinoisans. We have seen the devastating impact of not having a budget for the last 11 months, and it’s time for the Speaker and his caucus to meet the Republicans in the middle so that a compromise budget can be approved before our adjournment date of May 31. I applaud the work of these bipartisan working groups, and I will be working fiercely toward creating a final budget that uses their blueprint as a guideline for revenues and expenditures for FY17. I am willing to compromise. I am willing to take the difficult votes that would be required to make this balanced budget a reality. I invite my colleagues from the Democrat side of the aisle to do the same. Our primary job over these next eight days is to approve a budget. Now let’s get it done.
Rep. Sandack Emcees Local Fundraising Race
Leaders Meet to Discuss Budget Negotiations, but Many Obstacles Remain
Many issues stand in the way of a durable agreement to craft a constitutional balanced budget for Illinois in FY17. After the meeting, Republican House Leader Jim Durkin urged the negotiators to achieve agreements on questions that involve the status of collective bargaining labor-management relations within local governments, public-sector pension reforms, and workmen’s compensation reforms. Many House Republicans believe that lack of progress on these issues has become a very serious threat to future job creation and future tax revenues in Illinois. Current statistics show that Illinois’ economy is generating few if any new private-sector jobs. Our state’s unemployment rate, as of April 2016, has grown 0.7% since October 2015, and our state’s most recent 6.6% jobless rate is now the highest in the nation.
Sandack Talks School Funding Reform on Comcast Newsmakers
Democrats Advance $1.5 Billion in Unfunded Wage Increases
Democrats Pass $227 Million Unfunded Higher Education Bill
HB 4167 appropriates $227 million in General Revenue Funds (GRF) to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for the Monetary Award Program (MAP). Democrats in the House and Senate passed the bill last week despite the fact that Illinois does not have $227 million in available GRF to fund MAP grants. I was vocal in my opposition to this bill, which relies on phantom money to fund MAP grants because our college students deserve honesty and not empty promises when it comes to grants for their higher educations. You can listen to my floor comments here. HB 4167 faces a likely veto when it reaches Governor Rauner’s desk.
The Illinois General Assembly worked in a bipartisan manner to pass stopgap higher education funding last month, which included nearly $170 million for MAP grants from a dedicated funding source. SB 2059 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Rauner as Public Act 99-502.
Local Constituent Brings 7th Grade Class to Springfield
Discussions of Legal, Regulated Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Continue
Several U.S. states, such as Iowa and New York, have taken steps to ban the operation of daily fantasy sports websites within their state. In the states where daily fantasy sports are explicitly banned, major sports betting websites face legal penalties for overseeing activity from computers located in the forbidden states. Websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel will not consciously take bets from these locations. The Illinois Attorney General opined that daily fantasy sports betting activities violate Illinois laws against illegal gambling. If this opinion is upheld through further legal action and, in the absence of legislative action, Illinois could join the list of states where this type of activity is discouraged or forbidden.
Two large gray areas in the discussion of daily fantasy sports betting activity in Illinois are: (a) the effect that legalization – if enacted – would have on existing gaming activities, such as casino riverboats and tavern video poker; and (b) the effect that strict regulation, if enacted, would have on casual neighbor-to-neighbor sports activities, such as weekend fantasy football leagues. These are questions that are being asked as discussion of this issue moves forward in Springfield.
Illinois Moving Closer to Achieving REAL ID Compliance
By the end of July, applicants visiting Driver Services facilities will no longer be issued a new permanent DL/ID card at the end of the application process. Instead, they will leave the facility with a temporary secure paper driver’s license, which is valid for 45 days and will serve as their DL/ID for driving purposes and proof of identification. The temporary, secure paper driver’s license or ID card will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the permanent driver’s license or ID card. In addition, the facility employee will return the old DL/ID card back to the applicant after punching a hole in it.
Meanwhile, the applicant’s information will be sent to a centralized, secure facility in Illinois. After fraud checks have been conducted to ensure the applicant’s identity, a higher quality, more secure DL/ID will be printed and sent via U.S. mail within 15 business days to the applicant’s address.
For purposes of air travel, DHS states that it will accept the temporary document in conjunction with the old DL/ID to board an aircraft until the permanent card arrives in the mail. Illinois joins 39 other states that have moved to centralized production of DL/ID cards. This includes heavily populated states like California, Texas, and New York – as well as Illinois’ neighboring states.
For more information on Illinois’ REAL ID compliance efforts, please visit The Caucus Blog.
Governor Vetoes AFSCME’s Mandatory Arbitration Bill
Governor Rauner explained his veto of HB 580 as a defense of Illinois taxpayers. Rauner believes that some unions that legally represent state workers, especially AFSCME, are using their political clout to try to cut taxpayers’ concerns out and away from the negotiating table. Unanswered questions concerning AFSCME workers’ future pay, health benefits and retirement health benefits could represent hundreds of millions of dollars in future expenses to state workers or taxpayers.
HB 580 had been a highly partisan bill when it was debated and discussed by the House in February, with House Republicans standing in alliance with the Governor. The House vote was 68-46-2, three votes short of the 71 votes required to override the Governor’s veto.
Upcoming Events in District 81
Please call my Downers Grove office at (630) 737-0504 or visit ronsandack.org to learn more about these and other events that could be added to the schedule.