From Illinois News Network
The state’s non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability says they project income tax receipts coming in at least $300 million more than expected. But the windfall can’t be counted on for the coming fiscal year. COGFA Revenue Manager Jim Muschinske says the increase, which could be as great as $500 million dollars in unexpected revenue for the current fiscal year, was from one-time events in the 2014 tax year.
Lawmakers held hearings in both chambers investigating the cuts to which the Rauner administration said there wasn’t money to fund the programs because of the bad budget passed by the previous General Assembly.
Senate passes youth concussion legislation
A measure to ensure there are proper procedures to get kids back into the classroom after suffering a concussion passed the Senate Thursday. Senate Bill 7 from Democratic State Senator Kwame Raoul urges school districts to develop policies to ensure children in all education levels, from grade school to high school, ease back into the classroom after receiving a head injury.
“We often focus on return to play without realizing that reading, exposure to computers, overly exercising your brain exaserbates concussion symptoms.”
Earlier this week, before the bill passed out of the Education Committee, Raoul said two of his children recently suffered concussions. His son is back in action while his daughter is still struggling to fully recover.
The amended measure, if passed in the House and signed by the Governor, would require a doctor to sign off before a student could return to sports or the classroom and provides for school-specific emergency action plans.
Lawmaker coalition: Use Illinois coal in Illinois
A group of lawmakers say Illinois coal should be used in Illinois. During a Thursday press conference featuring downstate representatives and senators from both parties the issue of Illinois’ energy regulations were brought into focus for not being friendly to Illinois coal.
Democratic Representative John Bradley says it’s a shame that Illinois coal is being shipped out of state instead of being used locally. Meanwhile costs of shipping out-of-state coal to Illinois are being passed on to consumers. Bradley says allowing for more Illinois coal to be used in Illinois isn’t just smart, it would actually lower carbon emissions.
“So not only is this good for the state, not only is this good for our economy, not only is this good for job creation, but it has a positive environmental impact by in terms of significantly lowering our carbon footprint.”
Republican State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer says 70 percent of southern Illinois energy is derived from coal, but most of that coal comes from elsewhere.
“It’s sad to say that the majority of it, the high majority of it, is not coming from Illinois, unfortunately”
Several other downstate lawmakers also said Illinois coal should stay in Illinois in an effort to increase jobs in the state’s coal industry. They also say it makes no sense to ship in coal from western states when Illinois has more coal than many other areas can produce. But other lawmakers say there should also be a focus on clean coal operations with any updates to the energy regulations. There’s no bill to focus on Illinois coal quite yet, but supporters of changing the regulations say they want something passed by the end of the current session of the General Assembly.