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Springfield Snapshot, May 20-24, 2013

The General Assembly is scheduled to conclude its spring session in one week on May 31, 2013. The session's final legislative deadline occurs today, May 24; bills in both chambers must have a third reading. The following Policy Update reviews action related to CMAP's agenda and legislative framework from the week of May 20-24.

Before the General Assembly adjourns, legislators will have to pass the State's fiscal year 2014 budget. In addition to setting funding for state programs and services, the budget needs to address a backlog of bills and mounting pension costs. Legislators will respond to some of the Governor's spending reductions, such the $400 million from education. Appropriations committees met over the spring to consider Governor Quinn's proposed $35.6 billion budget.

Pension Reform
Legislators are still considering two pension reform proposals. House Speaker Madigan's proposal (SB 1) emphasizes reform of four State pension systems and Senate President Cullerton's bill (SB 2404) proposes reform by providing cost-cutting options for retirees. Reboot Illinois created a summary graphic that compares the proposals.

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 third reading in the Senate.

CMAP also closely monitored SB 1594 this session, which proposes merging the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and CMAP. Status: SB 1594 was re-referred to the Assignments Committee in the Senate and is not expected to see any more action this session.

Other Bills Acted on This Week
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: Passed in both chambers.

Open Space Land Grants (SB 1341) reduces the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant match requirement from the current 50 percent to 10 percent for communities that are distressed (defined in rules to be promulgated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources). Status: Arrived in House.

Toll Highway Expansion (HJR 9) authorizes the Illinois Tollway to build the Elgin O'Hare Western Access (EOWA) project. The Toll Highway Act requires a joint resolution of the General Assembly before the Tollway can issue bonds for or begin constructing a new Tollway. The resolution also calls on the Tollway to minimize environmental impacts, accommodate alternative modes of transportation, and support the involvement of diverse groups in the project and broader economic development in the corridor. This joint resolution is required for the EOWA project to move forward. Status: Resolution adopted. CMAP supports this resolution.