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Springfield Snapshot, February 4-8, 2013
This week the General Assembly began referring bills to committees. Of particular interest to CMAP was HB 190, a supplemental appropriations bill totaling $2 billion, with $591.5 million in general revenue and $1.5 billion in federal and other state funds. The bill includes an additional $714 million in funding for the Illinois Department of Transportation, which had originally requested $785 million. The bill does not include new sources of revenue: Much of the money is re-appropriations and authorization to spend $550 million from group health insurance to pay old bills, and the additional funding comes from federal sources. The bill awaits Governor Quinn's signature.
On Wednesday, the Governor gave his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. He highlighted many accomplishments of the last year, including progress on high-speed rail, water and sewer investments, foreclosure prevention, and education reform.
The speech emphasized a number of priorities, including the need to deal with the State's pension crisis. Topics of gun safety laws and mental health issues were mentioned, as were increasing the state's minimum wage, marriage equality, and modernizing the voter registration processes. Governor Quinn also announced creation of the Illinois Manufacturing Lab, a Chicago-based public-private partnership that will combine expertise and resources from University of Illinois, its National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the private sector to help enhance the competitiveness of our region's manufacturing cluster.
Only the Senate is in session next week, and the House returns Tuesday, February 19.