IASB Legislative Report 102-02

Delivered via email: February 11, 2021

Illinois House Adopts New Rules

Under normal circumstances, the discussion of the rules that govern the General Assembly is lightly debated and passed on a partisan roll call. While these rules are important to the business of the chamber, it is usually a formality with the previous set of rules slightly tweaked before each new Illinois General Assembly begins working. However, with the election of new House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Westchester), the House rules were given special emphasis.
The new governing procedures will allow all bills to be assigned to committee. Previously, the Rules Committee was notorious for not assigning legislation the majority party did not want to see voted upon. Under the new rules in the odd year, all bills will be sent to committees, but this does not necessarily mean they will receive a vote in a legislative committee. The second year of each General Assembly is considered “budgetary and emergency legislation” matters only, allowing limitations on the number of bills being heard and acted upon. Another major change is a rule that limits the respective party leaders to 10 years serving as House Speaker or Minority Leader. While the House Rules can be easily changed, it is another sign that the House will operate differently in the 102nd General Assembly than in the past. The rules package also puts the House on more even footing with the Senate in allowing for remote legislative hearings during a pandemic. The rules resolution was heavily debated and was eventually passed along partisan lines, 70-44.

Connect to your Local Lawmakers

With both the Senate and the House of Representatives conducting remote legislative hearings, we need school leaders to reach out to their local lawmakers to advocate on behalf of their school districts. One easy way to connect with your elected officials is to send a quick introductory email. This outreach helps your legislator have the contacts needed to get answers about your schools and community from those who know best: You! Make that introduction by following this link to fill out a short form on which you can customize a message to your lawmakers, if you wish. Unfortunately, new members of the Illinois General Assembly may not all have an email address set up yet; to reach those lawmakers you can call their office or send them a Tweet. We hope you find these tools to be helpful in communicating with members of state government and look forward to assisting you in engaging with your elected officials.

Governor to Deliver Budget Address

As required by the Illinois Constitution, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D-Chicago) will present a budget address to the Illinois General Assembly, at noon on Wednesday, February 17. With neither chamber meeting in-person at the Capitol, the address will be delivered virtually. While full details of the proposed budget are not yet known, early reports indicate a budget that relies on closing corporate loopholes and flat funding. Illinois is facing a $3 billion deficit. The governor is required to present a balanced budget using only resources available at the time of presentation. With the failure of the graduated income tax amendment and unknown but potential federal stimulus funds, it is likely that the governor will present a bleak budget picture. By all indications, the proposal will call for flat funding for public education in Fiscal Year 22, just as it was in FY21. The budget address is an important early step in the budget process, but it is ultimately up to the Illinois General Assembly to pass a budget. IASB will provide a more in-depth analysis after the budget address.