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Springfield Snapshot, May 6-10, 2013
Both the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate were in session this week. Three weeks remain in this legislative session, and bills must advance out of second chamber committees by Friday, May 10, 2013. One final legislative deadline remains before the General Assembly adjourns on Friday, May 31 -- bills in both chambers must meet third reading deadlines by Friday, May 24. The following Policy Update reviews action from the week of May 6 - 10. For a more in-depth analysis of state legislative activity thus far this session and a list of bills CMAP is monitoring, see the most recent state legislative update memo to the CMAP Board.
Intense debate continues in both chambers around proposals to address the State's pension crisis. The House passed two amendments to Senate President Cullerton's pension reform proposal SB 1. The amended measure aims to stabilize and bring solvency to four of the State's pensions with approximately $140 billion in savings by 2045. Speaker Madigan's proposal, which passed last week in the House, was sent back to the Senate for concurrence. Opponents contend that this proposal would not fulfill the State's constitutional obligation regarding pension benefits, which sets forth that pensions "shall not be diminished or impaired."
This week, Senate President Cullerton put forth a new proposal (SB 2404) developed in collaboration with public employees' unions. The bill has passed out of the Senate and could be considered in the House in coming days. Proponents estimate this bill would save the State $45 to $51 billion in pension payments over the next 30 years. This new proposal provides more options for current employees and retirees to choose from with regard to cost-of-living adjustments and health insurance. Opponents of this bill argue that it does not make a sufficient financial impact on the State's woefully underfunded pension systems.
State Capital Program
Stakeholders continue to discuss the state's longer-term infrastructure needs. The Transportation for Illinois Coalition (TFIC) has convened numerous meetings about the state's infrastructure needs to build support for a new capital program. CMAP is engaged in these discussions and advocating for reform in the potential capital program. At its meeting on May 8, the CMAP Board considered and approved capital program principles. Additionally, CMAP launched an interactive website that articulates the need for performance-based funding of highway and bridge projects. This approach would improve current transportation programming practices by enabling transparent, data-driven investment decisions and consistent collaboration among stakeholders.
Bills Directly Affecting CMAP
One bill with direct impact on CMAP continues to advance through the legislative process. HB 3199 requires the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to hold a hearing within 30 days after the Governor's Budget Address to the General Assembly to consider CMAP's annual report and its impact on the State budget. Status: HB 3199 sits on second reading in the Senate.
CMAP also closely monitored SB 1594 this session, which proposes merging the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and CMAP. The bill missed its third reading deadline in the Senate.
Other Bills Acted on This Week
Illinois Urban Development Authority (HB 1295) amends the Illinois Urban Development Authority Act to allow for the development, financing, and maintenance of transportation projects. Status: Sits on third reading in the Senate.
Water and Sewer Utilities Value (HB 1379) provides an alternative procedure that a large public utility may choose in establishing the ratemaking base of a water or sewer utility that the large public utility is acquiring. Status: Sits on third reading in the Senate.
RTA Issuance of Bonds (HB 1389) extends the deadline for the RTA to sell additional Working Cash Notes that are over and above the $100 million authorization to July 1, 2016 from its current deadline of 2014. Status: Sits on second reading in the Senate.
Urban Composting(HB 2335) allows compost piles of up to 25 cubic yards to be exempt from permit. Removes limits to certain Chicago permitted facilities. The bill also allows for on-farm composting exemptions to urban/suburban areas on up to two percent of their property with materials brought off site. Status: Sits on third reading in the Senate.
Counties Reduction Efficiency (SB 494) establishes a local government reduction and efficiency pilot program whereby DuPage County can develop a process to dissolve some local units of government. Status: Sits on third reading in the in the House. CMAP supports this legislation.
Township Code-Singular Dissolution (SB 1585) provides a process by which a single township within a county under township organization could dissolve.Amendments limit the provisions to townships within a coterminous, or substantially coterminous, municipality in which the City Council exercises the powers and duties of the township board, or in which one or more municipal officials serve as an officer or trustee of the township. Status: Sits on third reading in the in the House.