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Illinois will enter Fiscal Year 2018 without budget

Illinois will enter Fiscal Year 2018 without a budget in place; however, budget negotiations continue and Senate Republicans remain committed to passing a balanced budget along with critical reforms.

In other legislative action this week, lawmakers passed a measure to keep the state’s 9-1-1 system functioning. The Governor amendatory vetoed the legislation to remove surcharge increases from the legislation, while still allowing 9-1-1 service to continue in Illinois.

Meanwhile, the ongoing budget impasse has halted sales of tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.

In a bit of good news, a new report shows Illinois is ranked favorably when it comes to protecting its citizens from preventable accidents.

Of note, this week Senator Christine Radogno of Lemont announced plans to retire from the Senate on July 1. The Senate Republican Caucus quickly selected Senator  Bill Brady of Bloomington to be the new Republican leader.

No budget by fiscal year deadline

Despite the looming deadline of June 30 marking the end of Fiscal Year 2017, no complete balanced budget and reform package has advanced from the General Assembly to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk.

While legislative leaders met in what were generally described as productive and positive meetings, and rank-and-file lawmakers representing both chambers continued to work together hammering out details on budget and reform proposals, lawmakers ended the fiscal year without coming to terms on a final package. The Senate and House of Representatives are both scheduled to continue session through the weekend to try to hash out a deal.

Senate Republicans reaffirmed their commitment to a deal that is good for Illinois families, underscoring the need for a balanced, full-year budget, something the state hasn’t had in over a decade, along with critical reforms to provide taxpayers and employers with relief.

9-1-1, telecommunications bill passes the Senate

Legislation designed to keep 9-1-1 centers in operation was advanced to the Governor this week, to extend the authorization for 9-1-1 centers as well as provide a roadmap to advance the state’s aging telecommunications network.

At issue, however, was language in the legislation that would allow Chicago to raise its 9-1-1 surcharge. On June 30, the Governor changed the legislation via an amendatory veto to remove the surcharge increases, as well as revoke sunsets on the Emergency Telephone System Act and the sections regarding telecommunications and cable and video in the Public Utilities Act. The Governor’s office issued a statement stating “These changes mean 9-1-1 would continue in Illinois without the General Assembly having to pass legislation to renew the service.”

Last Powerball drawing for Illinois?

Lottery players in Illinois may have played their last Powerball game for a while due to the ongoing budget impasse. The Illinois Lottery suspended sales of tickets for the popular multi-state game at 9:00 p.m. on June 28, with Mega Millions sales halted at 9:45 p.m. on June 30. State officials said that if a Fiscal Year 2018 lottery appropriation is passed, they will work with the Multi-State Lottery Association to determine how to restore the games for Illinois players.

In addition, while sales for Illinois-based lottery games remain ongoing, winning tickets with prizes greater than $25,000 will face a delay before they are paid.

Positive news for state in safety report

While Illinois often has the dubious distinction of lagging behind its neighbors in national rankings, Illinois significantly outperformed neighboring Missouri when it comes to preventable accidents. The National Safety Council’s annual report has given the Land of Lincoln a “B” in the category, compared to an “F” for the Show-Me state, which finished dead last. Illinois was one of seven states, plus Washington D.C. to earn a “B.”

The grade includes such areas as distracted driving, prescription overdoses and falls.

In other safety areas, the council gave Illinois an “A” for both workplace and road safety and a “C” for home and community safety. Missouri again earned an “F” in each of those areas. 

Senate Republican Leader announces retirement, Brady elected to the position

Senate Republicans have a new leader as they move forward in their efforts to pass a balanced budget and reform state government.

On June 29, Senator Radogno announced her retirement from both the position of Republican Leader and from the Senate, citing her desire to spend more time with her family.

“It has truly been an honor to represent the 41st Senate District,” said Senator Radogno.  “I have done the job to the very best of my ability and always with the needs of the state and my constituents in mind. I am proud of my legislative accomplishments – none of which were achieved alone. I have always appreciated the support, advice and counsel of my colleagues in both parties, staff and family.”

On June 30, Republican Senators elected Bill Brady to become the next leader of the caucus.

“The issues facing Illinois are daunting, but our caucus remains committed to working together to face those challenges,” Senator Brady said.

Senator Brady has served in the State Senate since 2002. He previously served as State Representative from 1993 until 2001. He currently serves as Deputy Republican Leader.

Senator Radogno became the first female Caucus Leader in Illinois General Assembly history. She was first elected by her peers as Senate Republican Leader in 2009. Senator Radogno has served in the Senate since 1997, representing the 41st Senate District with communities in Cook, DuPage and Will counties.

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