Committee deadline gives clues on what Rauner may sign this year
A budget fix, local-government transparency legislation and a patient-freedom bill advanced out of committee last week.
Last week’s legislative session in Springfield marked an infliction point for thousands of pieces of legislation: any bill that did not advance to the House or Senate floors would be dead for this session. This means thousands of bills will now be removed from substantive committee, with no chance of becoming law this year. The committee deadline also provided insight as to what legislation is building momentum and may be on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk in the final six weeks of session.
Here is a look at legislation that advanced out of committee:
- Both the House and Senate passed legislation to fix the $1.6 billion shortfall from the current year’s operating budget, due to the unbalanced budget passed last year. Despite calls from legislative leaders demanding new revenues, the budget fix passed with no tax increases and no new borrowing.
- Advocates for local-government transparency – a key piece of Illinois Policy Action’s legislative agenda – earned a win as HB 2717 passed out of committee on March 26. With nearly 7,000 units of local government in Illinois (the most of any state in the nation), this transparency bill would help expose government waste and serve as a precursor to consolidation and local tax reductions.
- SB 29, or the Right to Try Act, passed to the floor of the Senate this week. This model legislation from the Goldwater Institute would promote patient freedom by giving terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs and treatments that have passed testing but have not yet been approved for general use by the Food and Drug Administration. Terminal patients are eligible after they have considered all other FDA-approved treatments. It also encourages physicians to be responsive to their patients’ desires by protecting them from disciplinary action when they help patients access these treatments. The act allows, but does not coerce, drug manufacturers and health insurers to provide these treatments or coverage of their costs.
Despite movement on several significant pieces of legislation, many more bills are now dead for the year, including legislation that would reduce the LLC filing fee, repeal the death tax and bring about school-choice scholarships.
With six weeks remaining in session, the General Assembly will now focus on passing a budget for next year. The Illinois Policy Action team will be working in Springfield to make sure the budget is balanced, spending cuts are made and taxes continue to be reduced.