Illinois House set to vote on historic state budget – NBC Chicago

A day after Governor JB Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers announced a budget deal, a revised version of the state’s spending plan moved a step further, passing the Illinois Senate Thursday night.

But the completion of a final map of Chicago’s newly elected school board districts could be pushed even further into the future, as the House voted to give itself months more to establish it.

The slow state budget could still see the Illinois House pass the $50.6 billion spending plan by Friday — nearly a week later than the initial deadline Democrats set.

At around 11:15 p.m., the Senate passed the budget by a vote of 34 to 22, paving the way for a vote in the House on Friday.

About an hour earlier, the Senate passed one of the underlying budget bills, 36-20.

After it passed, Pritzker said he looked forward to the House passing a budget “that will make child care and education more accessible, health care more affordable, and our state’s business and economic position even better.” stronger”.

“This budget makes transformative investments in Illinois children and families while building on our record of fiscal responsibility,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Senate Republicans, who were part of the budget negotiations, did not support the budget, in part because it only included a $2.50 wage increase for providers of developmental disabilities. Two Democrats also voted no.

The Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities had called for a $4 an hour wage increase for workers. Republicans were also upset that funds for a private scholarship program were not included. State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, assigned some of the blame to prioritizing health care for undocumented immigrants.

Illinois Senate Republican Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, said the budget “includes not just misplaced spending priorities, but misinvestments on behalf of the people we represent.” He chastised Democrats for canceling the private scholarship program.

“To turn our backs on these families from my point of view is a mistake,” Curran said.

But Illinois Senate Speaker Don Harmon D-Oak Park called it a “responsible balanced budget.”

“It’s a budget that invests in schools in red districts and in blue districts. We invest in hospitals in red and blue districts and in healthcare workers across the state. We invest in municipalities in your districts and ours,” Harmon said. “I am disappointed that we have not yet reached a bipartisan budget, but I renew my commitment to work with you next year. And we will try again.

Lawmakers spent much of Thursday in caucuses — as House Democrats tried to iron out key issues, including talks on health care funding for undocumented immigrants, the funding relief program private scholarships, evidence-based school funding, and money for district projects.

On Thursday afternoon, an amendment to the original budget plan was tabled – signaling that House consternation had been assuaged. In some cases, members have shown their support for the bill after projects in their districts have been included.

About $550 million is included in the current budget measure for undocumented health care, which is part of a larger Medicaid allocation through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Another measure, which is part of the budget implementation bill, gives the department the ability to pass emergency rules to change the process for funding this health care, which the department has not currently the ability to do. The state would then implement these new rules, should the department decide to change them.

Pritzker said Wednesday that Democratic leaders had agreed to give the governor’s office the “tools” to manage the program so it does not grow to unsustainable proportions.

Budget matters weren’t the only tasks in the state capitol.

The Illinois House voted 106-0 to agree with the Senate on a sweeping ethics measure targeting red-light camera companies, sending the measure to Pritzker’s office. It comes after several elected officials were indicted as part of the federal government’s investigation into politically connected deals by red-light camera company SafeSpeed.

The legislation prohibits contractors who provide equipment and services to red-light camera companies from making campaign contributions.

It would also allow the Illinois Department of Transportation to remove specific red light cameras that have been linked to a bribery or bribery scandal. It also creates a two-year revolving door provision – which would prohibit members of the General Assembly and municipal and county officials from accepting employment with a contractor providing automated enforcement equipment.

On another issue, the House decided to give itself an additional nine months to map out Chicago’s newly elected school board.

After two weeks of contentious hearings in which attorneys complained their views were not being heard, lawmakers tabled an amendment that would extend the deadline for them to submit district maps, which were originally supposed to be presented on July 1. The amendment would give lawmakers until April. 1, 2024 to determine districts for the elected school board.

The House voted 69 to 36 to approve the amendment Thursday night, and the Senate had to pass the measure before adjourning.

After two hearings, the attorneys said they wanted the map to represent the population of the public school system, not the general population of the city.

Eli Brottman, a consultant who testified that there were many issues with the maps, including not enough Latino-majority districts, tweeted Thursday night that he was “grateful to everyone who fought for the equality”.

“We’re winning the fight, but we need to continue to ensure that the coming months include plenty of public commentary on the process and the proposed cards,” Brottman said. “The responsibility does not end there.”

The elected school board will begin serving in 2025, with 10 members to be selected in the November 2024 election, and another 10 members and a school board chair appointed by Mayor Brandon Johnson.

NBC Chicago

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