3 Illinois Policy Action bills advance out of committee before April deadline
Local government transparency, local government consolidation and criminal justice reform gain traction despite politicized legislature.
As of April 8, any bills that did not pass out of committee and onto the Illinois House of Representatives or Senate floors are effectively dead, and will not become law in 2016.
Between 2016’s hyper-politicized environment in the Capitol and an abbreviated legislative schedule – caused by legislators’ monthlong spring break – far fewer bills progressed than in a normal year.
Despite this, Illinois Policy Action saw success in committee on key pieces of its legislative agenda:
- Local government transparency: House Bill 5522 promotes proactive transparency by getting local governments to post information regarding their finances and operating procedures online. This legislation would encourage government accountability, as well as provide information on which of Illinois’ nearly 7,000 units of local government might be ripe for consolidation and streamlining. HB 5522 moved out of committee April 6.
- Local government consolidation: House Bill 4501 would give all counties in Illinois the opportunity to assess – and act on – government consolidation. The bill would provide all counties the same consolidation process available already in DuPage County. DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin testified on the success that DuPage has had implementing the process and saving taxpayers millions of dollars, and the Lieutenant Governor’s office testified on this legislation as a leading recommendation by the Task Force on Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates. This bill is gaining significant traction as it moves to the House floor.
- Criminal-justice reform: House Bill 5973 is part of Illinois Policy Action’s criminal justice re-entry agenda, which would create opportunities for former offenders to reintegrate into society and pursue meaningful employment. This bill limits how licensing boards in select industries may deny licenses based on criminal history to only those convictions directly related to the activity being licensed. This bill will now have an opportunity to be heard on the House floor along with Senate Bill 42, which addresses opportunities in the health care industry for rehabilitated ex-offenders.
Beyond these bills, approximately 20 pieces of free-market legislation that Illinois Policy Action supported in committee during the week of April 3 moved forward to the floors of both chambers. This included good bills to clean up the pension system, deregulate, promote transparent government and reform the criminal-justice system to be both fairer and more cost effective.
Illinois Policy Action will continue to advocate for legislation that empowers Illinois’ taxpayers, and the team will provide further updates throughout the remainder of spring legislative session.