Senate Republican Week in Review: May 22-26
Springfield, IL – Reactions to Governor Rod Blagojevich’s latest campaign
scheme, a $10 billion education funding plan, have ranged from stiff opposition
to skeptical at best, according to Illinois State Senator Peter Roskam
(R-Wheaton), who is unconvinced that the plan to sell off the Illinois Lottery
is the most effective and responsible way to revamp the education system.
The Governor’s proposal, announced at a Chicago press conference Tuesday,
includes selling the state’s annual revenue stream from the Illinois State
Lottery to a private investor in return for a large up-front windfall of cash,
which he estimates would total $10 billion.
However, several newspaper editorial boards have already pointed out that the
Governor’s plan would leave a $2 billion-per-year hole in the budget after only
four years, calling the plan a “quick infusion of money” that “spends tomorrow's
revenues on today's needs.”
Senate Republicans maintain that while education funding is an issue that
needs to be tackled, any proposal needs to reflect careful thought and
consideration as to the feasibility of implementing such a plan and the
long-term consequences that may accompany it.
Furthermore, lawmakers question why the Governor, if he is truly committed to
reforming education, did not present the plan during the spring legislative
session and work on a bipartisan, responsible, and effective solution.
The Senator noted that lawmakers also have cause for concern based on the
Administration’s dismal track record for introducing radical ideas to raise
money that ultimately fail or completely backfire. In the past three years, he
has advocated doubling the number of gaming positions to generate money for
schools, legalizing Keno to pay for school construction, selling the Toll
Highway Authority Headquarters, the state’s main office building in Chicago, and
Illinois’ 10th riverboat license , and eliminating the State Board of Education.
None of those proposals have met with success.
Also worth noting, the Blagojevich Administration has an affinity for
under-funding its current commitments, and stealing money that has already been
designated for specific purposes. Just this week, Governor Blagojevich signed
Senate Bill 1520 which authorizes him to raid another $1.1 billion from the
pensions of downstate and suburban teachers, after having pilfered $1.2 billion
from the same retirement systems in 2005.
Other legislation signed into law this week includes:
- AIDS/HIV (SB1001) – Creates a new special fund to be used for grants for
programs to prevent HIV transmission and other activities that are consistent
with the African-American HIV/AIDS Response Act.
- Banks (HB 4736) – Provides that any bank that operates in Illinois must
operate under the jurisdiction of the Check Printer and Check Number Act.
- CPA review (HB 4726) – Requires firms and individuals licensed under the
Illinois Public Accounting Act to undergo a peer review in order to renew
- County Board of Health (SB 2798) – Provides that when a eight-member
county board of health assumes the responsibilities of a municipal department
of public health, and both the county board and the city council adopt
resolutions or ordinances to that effect, the county board may, by resolution
or ordinance, increase the membership of the county board of health to 10
- Credit reporting (SB 2310) – Allows any consumer to place a security
freeze upon their credit report. Allows a consumer reporting agency to charge
a fee of up to $10 to place, remove, or temporarily lift the freeze with
exemptions for persons older than 65 from the fee for placement and removal,
and persons who are victims of ID theft.
- Diabetes Commission (SB 2483) – Creates the Illinois State Diabetes
Commission within DHS consisting of members that are Illinois residents and
shall include an Executive Committee appointed by the Secretary of DHS.
- DXM (HB 4300) – Provides that a drug product containing dextromethorphan
may not be sold, delivered, distributed, or possessed except in accordance
with the prescription requirements of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.
- Homestead Exemption (HB 4789) – Re-enacts the Senior Citizens Assessment
Freeze Homestead Exemption and increases the income limit from $45,000 to
$50,000, increases the senior citizens homestead exemption from $3,000 to
$3,500, and amends the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act to
increase the maximum income limit from $40,000 to $50,000.
- Medicine administration (SB 2898) – Requires schools to allow students to
use an epinephrine auto-injector.
- Red light enforcement (HB 4835) – Allows Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake,
Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will Counties to establish red light
enforcement camera systems at intersections.
- Revenue Stamps (SB 2241) – Requires the Department of Revenue to establish
a system to allow a recorder or registrar of titles of a county to purchase
the revenue stamps electronically from the Department and to deliver the
electronically purchased stamps to the recorder or registrar of titles.
- Safe to Learn (HB 2706) – Reinstates the Safe to Learn Program, a grant
program operated by the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to support and
fund school-based safety and violence prevention programs.
- Skillsmatch Program (SB 2449) – Requires all executive branch entities,
public universities, and constitutional officers to use the IDES Skillsmatch
program or to provide links to their human resource pages to IDES for use on
the Skillsmatch website.
- Vehicle Code (SB 2233) – Requires the Secretary of State Police Inspectors
to ensure that automotive repairers are in compliance with Collision Repair
Act when the Inspectors conduct their annual audits as part of the license
renewal process. Also, the bill requires that notice must be provided in
private parking lots where vehicles abandoned or left unattended without
permission are subject to removal by a towing service.