An Introduction from Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady
The spring session of the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 24th, following a whirlwind four-day special session that took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus was successful in ensuring some key issues were addressed, many were not and Illinois residents were saddled with yet another unbalanced state budget.
Legislation aiming to provide schools, property taxpayers, and local governments with the tools to address the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a hospital assessment plan, were among the highlights of the session.
More controversial measures included an elections omnibus, which expands vote by mail and allows for the use of ballot drop boxes, raising concerns from many that the new law could allow for voter fraud. Additionally, the majority party refused to consider a more practical phase-in of the minimum wage increase to provide relief to small businesses.
Because Senate Republicans were at the table helping to negotiate a budget, they were able to ensure that funding was not cut for K-12 education, MAP grants, universities, and community colleges. The Local Government Distributive Fund will be fully funded, and nursing homes will receive their fair share of CARES Act funding. Additionally, Senate Republicans fought to ensure that the state will make its full FY21 certified pension payment.
Senate Republicans urged the majority party to use the remaining time available to better understand how federal borrowing and aid would work, and time to more fully understand how COVID-19 and the governor's stay-at-home order have impacted state revenues before passing a budget.
Unfortunately, this request was not heeded and the budget that was brought to a vote contained nearly $43 billion in spending and was projected to be $6 billion out of balance, relying on borrowing to fill the gap. Perhaps most troublingly, the majority party failed to take action to stop themselves from getting an automatic pay increase. Ultimately, members of the Senate Republican Caucus voted unanimously against the rushed measure.
The following document is the Senate Republican Caucus's annual At-A-Glance, a full listing of all the legislation that passed the General Assembly during the spring 2020 session.
-Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady
Click here to read the full listing of legislation that passed the General Assembly during the spring of 2020.