The Governor has now laid out his budget priorities and parameters before a joint session of the General Assembly. Here are a few of the most notable points from his budget address:

• Any compromise agreement approved must be a good deal for taxpayers and job creators.
• New revenue is on the table, as long as it is coupled with economic reforms to help us grow jobs.
• No permanent income tax increase will be considered unless it is offset by a permanent property tax freeze for families.
• There are no “must have” reforms needed for a budget compromise, but the Governor maintained  that term limits are important to restoring confidence in state government, and workers compensation reform is crucial to attracting new jobs to our state.

You can view the governor’s full budget proposal here.

We must get a responsible, full year budget in place as soon as possible. I’m encouraged by the progress made in the Senate in recent weeks; especially the bi-partisan consensus that we must begin doing some things differently to repair our economy and our state finances. I’ll keep you updated as the negotiations progress.

Judge Rules Against Attorney General Madigan’s Attempt to Halt State Employee Pay
A St. Clair County judge has denied Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s motion that would have stopped state workers’ paychecks during the budget impasse.

As you know, state employees have continued to be paid in the absence of a state budget due to a district court injunction handed down in July 2015 by District Court Judge Robert LeChien of St. Clair County. Last week, Judge LeChien refused to lift that injunction, thereby maintaining the current status of Illinois state workers’ paychecks.

But the judge’s refusal does not close the case. The Attorney General has pledged to appeal this district court decision, which is why we are continuing to push for a hearing on legislation (HB 1787 and HB 2803) that would provide a continuing appropriation for workers’ pay.
State Representative Dan Brady on Thursday joined a bi-partisan group of lawmakers and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White in unveiling new legislation that would help create more life-saving organ and tissue donation opportunities in Illinois. Representative Brady (R-Normal) is co-sponsoring House Bill 1805 that would permit 16 and 17 year-olds to join Illinois’ First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or state ID card.

“This legislation will give new drivers a voice to express their wishes regarding donations, which will be of great guidance to their parents who will continue to have the final decision until they are 18 years of age,” Representative Brady said.

Under the bill, 16 and 17 year-olds may sign up with the registry to donate their organs in the event of their death, but for minors under the age of 18 good-faith efforts must be made to notify parents or guardians who would still be able to make the final decision on the donation.

“Our goal is always to save lives,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “Thousands of Illinoisans are waiting for an organ. Many of those who wait are someone’s mother, father, daughter or son. This legislation, which the vast majority of other states have implemented, is an important step in reducing the number of those on the waiting list.”