February 9, 2018 Update

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned Session for the week.  Both chambers return to Session on Tuesday, February 13th.  The Governor will deliver the final Budget Address of his first term to a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday, February 14th at noon.  In addition to receiving the proposed FY 19 budget, both chambers will continue to review legislation at the committee level next week. The deadline to file substantive legislation for consideration in the 2018 legislative session is Friday, February 16th.
The Governor’s budget director updated members of the Senate Budget Committee this week on the status of the state’s finances. The budget director noted that while the budget enacted last year by lawmakers was originally $1.7 billion out of balance, that number has now been reduced to $600 million through a combination of spending cuts, interfund borrowing and an unexpected increase in new revenue.  The state still has roughly $8.3 billion in unpaid bills, with $1.1billion of that being tied to “unappropriated liabilities” which he defined as money the administration is spending without permission from lawmakers to keep the prison and Medicaid systems operating during the budget impasse. The Governor has been promising for weeks that he will deliver a balanced budget to the General Assembly on Wednesday and outline a path to rolling back the state’s income tax increase.
Negotiations continue on the extension and revision of the hospital assessment program.  As of this writing, the changes are embodied in amendments 4, 5, 6 and 7 to SB1773 which were filed this week in the Illinois House.  The amendments are scheduled for a hearing at 9 am on February 13th in Room 114 of the Capital. The bill’s sponsor noted that there are still several items being negotiated.
A Senate Committee approved legislation, (SB336/Harmon) to allow people who have been prescribed opioids to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card.  Supporters of the legislation argue that the bill provides an alternative to highly addictive opioids.  The bill is now before the full Senate for consideration.
Nick Smith, a Chicago Streets and Sanitation Supervisor, has been named to the House seat formerly held by newly appointed state Senator Elgie Sims.
2018 Key Session Dates:
February 14: Governor’s Budget Address
February 16:  Bill Introduction Deadline, both chambers
March 20: Primary Election
April 13:  Committee Deadline, both chambers
April 27: Third Reading Deadline for bills in first chamber, both chambers
May 11:  Senate Committee Deadline, House Bills
May 18: House Committee Deadline, Senate Bills
May 25: Third Reading Deadline for bills in second chamber, both chambers
May 31:   Adjournment