Dems pass status quo budget, ignore reform opportunities

Governor Rauner and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly offered to negotiate and compromise on the state’s fiscal issues, beginning with discussions centered on much-needed structural reforms to state government. However, repeated attempts to work in good faith with Democrat legislators have been rebuffed in favor of the same failed budget policies that have dominated Illinois finances for more than a decade.

Pro-jobs reform killed by Senate Democrats

Significant portions of Gov. Bruce Rauner and Senate Republicans’ pro-jobs reform agenda were stalled this week by entrenched opposition from Democrat lawmakers in control of the General Assembly.

Democrats refuse reform with action AND inaction

Sometimes, a smaller anecdote can illustrate a larger truth – that’s the case with three bills flying below the radar during a hectic pre-adjournment week.

Memorial wall at Illinois Capitol honors IL military sacrifice

On Monday – Memorial Day – Senate Republicans unveiled a special Remembrance Wall in the halls of the Illinois Capitol. The display highlights photographs, mementos, memorials, and stories from friends and loved ones of deceased veterans. The display also features a collage of digital memorials, submitted online from hundreds of veteran families from around Illinois, as well as a space for in-person visitors to write and post their own memorial.

Streamlining Illinois’ adoption process

As a follow-up to 2013 legislation to speed up the adoption process for youth with “unfit” biological parents, a similar bill relating to foreign adoptions is advancing through the General Assembly.

Senate passes bobcat hunting legislation

Bobcat hunting and trapping is another step closer to becoming a reality, after legislation passed the Senate on May 21.

Vaccination legislation advances to Governor

Legislation that protects small children from exposure to fatal diseases now advances to the Governor for final approval.

Senate sends legislation decriminalizing marijuana to Governor

On May 21, after much debate, the Senate passed legislation that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Sen. Rose voted against the measure.

‘Right-to-Try’ legislation on way to Governor’s desk

On May 19, the Senate passed the Illinois “Right to Try” Act to help terminally-ill patients. House Bill 1335 would give terminally-ill patients access to clinical-trial, experimental medical treatments and medications. “Right to Try” offers hope to citizens afflicted with HIV, ALS, cancer or a litany of other serious conditions.

Legislation giving more protection to Mahomet Aquifer heads to Governor

Legislation crafted by State Sen. Chapin Rose to protect the Mahomet Aquifer – the source of drinking water for 500,000 people – was passed by a unanimous vote of the Senate May 21.

Sen. Rose works with Illinois Farm Bureau to Protect Landowners Rights

State Sen. Chapin Rose and the Illinois Farm Bureau teamed up to add legal protections for homeowners and landowners when it comes to the planning and surveying for electric transmission lines on their property.

Weatherization program raises concerns in Senate Committee

A 2009 program intended to “create jobs in low-income areas and improve energy efficiency” sparked debate in a Senate Committee May 14, when Senate Republican lawmakers raised concerns about problems within the state’s Urban Weatherization Program, recently identified by the Better Government Association (BGA).

Measure to decriminalize marijuana held in Senate

Legislation to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis was debated in the Senate on May 14, but later held by the sponsor in response to concerns with the legislation. House Bill 218 would reduce penalties for possession of 15 grams or less of cannabis, establishing a maximum $125 fine for the offense.

Firefighter Memorial held at State Capitol

Hundreds of firefighters from across the state gathered at the State Capitol grounds on May 12 for the annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor Ceremony. The event honors those who have given their lives in the line of duty and to those who heroically serve with courage, pride, and honor.

IDOT Releases multi-year highway construction plan

On May 14, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) released an $8.4 billion six-year highway construction plan as part of the state’s Proposed Highway Improvement Program. Of that, $1.85 billion is to be invested in Fiscal Year 2016, which begins July 1.