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Senate Week in Review: June 12-16, 2017

This week, Senate Republicans continued their calls for compromise and cooperation to address the state’s fiscal crisis and end the ongoing budget stalemate, with several Senate and House lawmakers joining together to unveil a comprehensive balanced budget plan that includes critical structural reforms.

Governor Bruce Rauner echoed Senate Republicans’ urgings to get back to the negotiating table, calling lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session starting June 21. Senate Republicans have maintained that lawmakers need to return to the Capitol to finish the significant work that was done before Democrat lawmakers walked away from the good-faith discussions. 

In other news, Amazon Inc. continues to expand in Illinois, creating jobs and underscoring the importance of economic growth and development. 

Finally, with the warm weather sweeping the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health is providing some helpful tips to avoid tick-borne illnesses this summer.

Governor Rauner calls Special Session 

With the clock ticking down on the end of the 2017 Fiscal Year, Governor Rauner is calling lawmakers back to Springfield for a 10-day special session to continue their work toward passage of a balanced budget before Illinois lapses into its third-straight year without a budget.

Since the May 31 scheduled adjournment date, Senate Republicans have pushed for lawmakers to return to the Capitol to continue budget negotiations and work together to end Illinois’ budget impasse.

Senate Republicans are hopeful that the Senate majority will return to Springfield ready to work together to bring stability and relief to the taxpayers, students and employers of the state.

Special session is set to convene at noon June 21, and will run until the end of the Fiscal Year 2017 on June 30. 

Senate lawmakers unveil Capitol Compromise package

Despite statements made by Senate President John Cullerton earlier this week stating that the Senate has done its work, Senate Republicans remain adamant that the Senate Democrats’ partisan budget and watered-down reforms are a stark departure from the Senate budget and reform package being discussed in bipartisan working groups until Senate Democrats opted to move forward with their own agenda.

In response, several Senate Republicans, joined by a number of their House colleagues, filed a refreshed compromise plan that places budget negotiations back on the bipartisan track they were on before the Senate majority walked away from negotiations late last month.

The renewed package is based on a balanced budget bill with a four-year hard spending cap of $36 billion and approximately $5 billion in spending reductions and adjustments. Incorporated into the comprehensive plan is a four-year property tax freeze, government consolidation allowing for more local control, workers’ compensation reform providing relief to business owners while still protecting workers, education funding reform for more equitable school funding, pension reform that is expected to save taxpayers approximately $1 billion per year, and term limits for legislative leaders and constitutional officers.

Each component included in the budget proposal incorporates critical compromises from both parties, demonstrating Republican lawmakers’ willingness to reach across the aisle and work with the majority to put an end to an unprecedented budget crisis that has beset Illinois for two years. 

Governor Rauner has indicated that the compromise budget introduced by Republican lawmakers is a true path forward for Illinois, stating: “Republicans in the General Assembly have laid out a compromise budget plan that I can sign.”

Amazon delivers new jobs to Illinois

Despite Illinois’ ongoing uphill battle to keep businesses from leaving, one of the world’s largest retailers is expanding facilities and bringing jobs to the state.

Amazon Incorporated, an enterprising e-commerce company, continues to expand throughout the state. The global retailer opened another fulfillment facility in northern Illinois back in September, creating approximately 1,000 jobs and continuing Amazon operation expansion in Illinois.

The e-commerce giant’s Romeoville facility is just one of five current fulfillment centers operating in Illinois with another four facilities expected to be up and operating by 2018, bringing with them more than 8,000 jobs from all nine facilities throughout the state. 

The successful expansion of Amazon’s facilities throughout the state and the job growth being generated underscores the importance of fostering business development in Illinois. According to Senate Republicans, this means putting an end to the policies that drive businesses out and implementing critical reforms, like workers’ compensation reform and significant property tax relief, which make Illinois more business-friendly and competitive with surrounding states.

IDPH cautions against tick bites

With warmer weather and people across the state enjoying more outdoor activities, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is urging Illinois residents to take precautions against tick bites.

With tick-borne illnesses potentially leading to fevers, rashes, nausea, Lyme disease and even death, the IDPH provided the following tips to help avoid tick bites this summer:   

• Wear light-colored, protective clothing—long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes, and a head covering.  Treat clothing with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. 

• Apply insect repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.

• Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.

• Check yourself, children, other family members, and pets for ticks every two to three hours.

• Remove any tick promptly by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pulling it straight out.  Wash your hands and the tick bite site with soap and water.

For more information, visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/news/idph-offers-tips-avoid-tickborne-illness.

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