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Springfield Snapshot, April 22-26, 2013

The Illinois Senate convened this week for an abbreviated three-day session. The Illinois House of Representatives did not meet but will return to Springfield on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. CMAP has been tracking over 350 bills this session, but very few bills remain active. On Thursday, April 25, bills originating in the Senate needed to pass the third reading deadline. The corresponding deadline in the Illinois House was on April 19. Bills that did not meet those deadlines will require extensions from House and Senate leadership to advance through the legislative process. The following Policy Update discusses action from the week of April 22-26.

State Budget
Several Senate committees met this week to discuss the FY 2014 budget proposals. On April 25, the Illinois Senate Appropriations II Committee met to consider budget proposals for several state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Secretary Ann Schneider updated the committee on the status of recent IDOT projects, including the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and federal stimulus funding. Recent CMAP Policy Updates examine IDOT's annual update to the five-year transportation program and revenue shortfalls faced by the state capital program. Stakeholders have recently begun meeting to discuss the state's longer-term infrastructure needs. Transportation Funders for Illinois (TFIC) has convened numerous meetings around the state to discuss communities' diverse infrastructure needs.

The Senate did not take any legislative steps to address the state's pension crisis. As policymakers and residents grapple with the gravity and complexity of the issues, a few recent efforts have attempted to shed light on the State's budget. Crain's Chicago Business launched an interactive on-line tool that allows the user to explore options for resolving the budget crisis.

Bills Directly Affecting CMAP
Two bills with direct impacts on CMAP continue to advance through the legislative process. The first (SB 1594) would merge the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and CMAP, calling for the formation of a transition committee to develop detailed plans to integrate staff and operations. Status: SB 1594 is sitting on third reading in the Senate.

The second bill (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 was assigned to Senate Transportation Committee; it will be considered in a hearing on April 30 at 5:00 p.m. in Springfield.

Other Bills Acted on This Week

RTA Board Benefits Elimination (HB 140) eliminates compensation and pension benefits for RTA board members. Status: Assigned to Senate Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee.

Water and Sewer Utilities Value (HB 1379) provides an alternative procedure that a large public utility may choose in establishing the ratemaking base of water or sewer utility that the large public utility is acquiring. Status: Assigned to Senate Energy Committee.

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: Assigned to Senate Environment Committee.

RTA Fare Increase Hearings (HB 2453) requires both the Mass Transit Committee in the House and the Transportation Committee in the Senate to hold a public hearing regarding any increase in the revenue recovery ratio or any increase in fares or charges for public transportation. Status: Assigned to Senate Revenue Committee.

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: Passed unanimously out of the Senate.

Counties Affordable Housing (SB 1244) establishes an Affordable Housing Trust Fund pilot program in Lake County. The legislation also gives Lake County the authority to impose a $3 recording fee on real estate transactions to be deposited in a trust fund. Status: Arrived in the House. CMAP supports this legislation.

Township - 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: Assigned to House Counties and Townships Committee.