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Mon June 2, 2014
Legislative Recap: What Lawmakers Did & Didn't Do
The Illinois Legislature adjourned its spring session having passed a new state budget and other key measures, but leaving some business undone. Here's a look at what passed and what didn't:
BILLS SENT TO GOV. PAT QUINN:
Budget: A roughly $35.7 billion budget for 2015 keeps funding flat for schools and most state agencies. Majority Democrats acknowledged the budget is ``incomplete'' because it postpones tough votes about whether to slash spending or find new revenue until after November's election.
Capital construction: The bill to provide $1 billion for road and bridge projects surfaced in the final days of the session and passed with bipartisan support. It will use money from a prior capital plan.
Ballot measures: Looking to drive voter turnout, majority Democrats approved multiple nonbinding referendums for the November ballot. Among them: Asking voters whether Illinois' minimum wage should be increased, an extra tax on millionaires should be imposed and prescription drug coverage plans should be required to include birth control.
Voting: A bill passed allowing election-day voter registration for this year's November election. Advocates say it gives more Illinois residents a voice; Republicans called it an attempt to drive Democratic voter turnout.
Juvenile arrest records: The measure would erase some arrest records for juveniles who weren't charged or convicted of the alleged crime. Supporters said it would give young people a better chance to get jobs, enter college and avoid gang violence.
Medicaid: If the measure is signed, the health care program for low-income and disabled people would expand to include adult dental and podiatry services. Those services were cut in 2012 to save money, but the measure's supporters said the cuts meant more patients sought expensive emergency-room treatment.
Chicago pensions: Lawmakers passed a measure to help Chicago with two of its underfunded pension systems, but no action was taken on the city's bigger police, fire and teachers pensions.
Tax increase extension: House Speaker Michael Madigan said he couldn't garner the ``yes'' votes to make Illinois' temporary income tax increase permanent. But he and other supporters, including Quinn, are expected to make a postelection attempt.
Obama presidential library: A proposal to set aside $100 million in construction money to help attract Barack Obama's presidential library to Chicago passed a House committee but never came to the floor due to concerns over spending in a tough budget year.
Pensions: Municipalities across Illinois wanted relief for skyrocketing police and fire pension costs, but the issue never gained traction. A plan to address Cook County's pensions failed to get a final House vote.
Gambling: Supporters failed to rekindle efforts to expand gambling _ either by adding five new casinos or one mega-casino in Chicago _ as a source of much-needed revenue.
Oil drilling: Lawmakers who support the drilling process commonly known as ``fracking'' proposed legislation to speed the startup of the practice. Instead, they will urge the state to more quickly write rules to regulate it.
Property tax refunds: Quinn said in his March budget address he wanted to give every Illinois homeowner a $500 property tax refund instead of a property tax credit. The proposal never advanced, partly because it would have cost the state more.
School funding: The most serious proposal to overhaul Illinois' school funding formula in more than a decade passed the Senate but stalled in the House. It would have required schools to demonstrate need before receiving money and reduced the amount of state aid to wealthier districts.
Lincoln library: Madigan proposed splitting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, saying the institution needed to be independent. The Senate never took up the bill but Senate President John Cullerton said it was worth another look.
Obama Presidential Library