With the legislature entering its final week before a scheduled May 31 adjournment deadline, the list of major issues yet to be resolved continues to hang over the General Assembly, State Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) said.
Despite state government’s one-party control, the Governor and his House and Senate allies have yet to move the ball forward on almost every major issue.
To date, no state budget draft has been produced, fostering concerns that a spending plan will be dropped on legislators at the last minute, with little opportunity for lawmakers or the public to know details, Senator Luechtefeld said.
The state continues to accumulate pension debt while the Senate President, House Speaker and Governor all appear deadlocked over competing reform plans.
In the House, the Speaker has declared that his priority is to shift pension costs to local school districts and state universities and colleges. He continues to insist downstate and suburban schools get a “free lunch” even though that claim was thoroughly debunked by an extensive study prepared by Senate Republicans.
Illinois faces a June federal court deadline to adopt legislation giving Illinoisans the right-to-carry a concealed weapon in public. The House has made progress on a proposal, but it may face stiff resistance in the Senate, where anti-gun hardliners hold more power.
Although a major expansion of gambling, including a Chicago casino, cleared the Senate May 1, the House has not taken up the measure. Similarly, the Senate President shoved a same sex marriage bill through his chamber on Valentine’s Day, only to have it sit idle in the House for more than three months.
In the meantime, as if to summarize the mismanagement that has characterized Illinois over the past decade, a national legislative research organization has issued their annual study of state economic outlooks, ranking Illinois 47th in the nation in Economic Performance and 48th in Economic Outlook.