State Roundup: Worker’s Comp proposal fails to make it out of committee

From Illinois News Network

Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal to reform worker’s compensation failed to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

More than two hours of testimony included Republicans fighting for changes they said would spur job growth and Democrats claiming the proposal would make it harder for workers to get compensated for worker’s comp claims.

Rich Goldberg, Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs, spoke in favor of the legislation, which he said was part of a comprehensive package of reform needed to turn around the state.

“Passing fundamental structural reform to grow our economy will have a lasting impact on our state’s future.”

Senator Kwame Raoul countered that the language in the proposal is such that it may create barriers for workers.

“When we look at worker’s compensation, which is something I know a little about, we have to look at unintended consequences.”

In a party-line vote of 8-4, Rauner’s plan to overhaul the system was shot down.

House amendment to SB1824 to exempt ZAA from dangerous animal breeding restriction leads to bill being pulled from floor

Representatives spent more than half an hour debating a house amendment to a senate bill that adds an “animal refuge” exemption to a restriction on breeding dangerous animals.

Representative Michael Zalewski sponsored the bill in the House and opposed the amendment by Representative Charles Meier to include the Zoological Association of America on exempt list.

Representative Ed Sullivan expressed confusion about how what was being described as a “hostile amendment” was being discussed on the House floor when most are negotiated before debate.

“It’s very unique to see a hostile amendment come to the floor.”

The answer, apparently, was Zalewski’s respect for his colleague.

“We agreed that there would be a roll call vote on Charlie’s amendment given my respect for him.”

Zalewski said if the amendment passed, he would withdraw the bill entirely, prompting some, including Representative Ron Sandack, to wonder why the conversation was taking place at all.

“What we’re doing here is arguably wasting time.”

In the end, the amendment passed and Zalewski removed the bill from the record.

House passes amendment to appropriate more than $277M to education

The House passed an amendment to appropriate more than two hundred seventy seven million to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for education operations.

While House Democrats presented the bill as a bipartisan effort to fund K-12 education in step with Governor Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, House Republicans decried the effort as a piecemeal approach to what should be a comprehensive budget solution.

Remaining portions of the education-funding proposal are being discussed in the Senate and expected to reach the House for debate this week.

Sponsor Representative Will Davis said the ultimate goal is to increase the amount prorated to education — something Governor Bruce Rauner has asked for.

“The governor asked for an increase in early childhood education so we are trying to reflect his wish there.”

But Republican Representative Jeanne Ives had a lesson for her colleague across the aisle.

“This is not how you do a budget. You don’t present half of the budget and the other half is mysteriously behind door No. 3, or in this case the Senate Chamber … When it comes to budgeting 101, the Democrat party has failed this year and this is a perfect example.”

After questions about the partisan nature in which this bill was negotiated and passionate closing remarks by Representative Davis, the bill passed with 66 votes.

Suburban funding bill fails in Senate

In mere minutes, the Senate shot down a bill that would cut the share of funding municipalities received from the state in half, the Daily Herald is reporting.

The idea was part of Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan to reshape spending in Illinois and received backlash from mayors for months.

The vote was called with little warning and didn’t receive a single vote. As has been the case many times this session, Senate Democrats voted “no” while Senate Republicans cast votes of “present.”

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