Fall Veto Session Enters Final Week

The Illinois Statehouse in Springfield

The Illinois Statehouse in Springfield.


A major energy package, automatic voter registration ---- and the state budget --- are all on the line … as state lawmakers return to the capitol this week. It’s the second half of the annual veto session.

Legislators will begin the week with a hearing Monday afternoon before the Illinois House Labor and Commerce Committee. It’s focused on legislation Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed regarding what benefits injured employees deserve to receive.

Democrats are critical of the governor’s ideas.

Steve Brown -- the spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan -- says it’s an opportunity for feedback on the plan. 

“We’ve been talking about workers’ comp for some time now – as if that's the key to the Garden of Eden”, said Brown. “We know really it is as much about trying to take benefits away from working families, middle class families. We'd like to try to minimize that, focus attention on the insurance companies.” 

However, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who is sponsoring the legislation, says the hearing is premature.  Durkin says the governor and the top legislators should first agree to a compromise. Republicans say Illinois needs to reduce companies’ costs to be competitive.

Rauner and the legislative leaders will also meet on Monday afternoon.

The governor and leaders are meeting as Illinois approaches a deadline -- when 2016 is over, so is a temporary spending plan.

Rauner continues to prioritize an agenda he says will grow the economy in the long run; Democrats continue to resist those plans.

Brown, the Madigan spokesman, says passing a budget should come first.

“What’s going to be in that budget?” asked Brown rhetorically. “Are you going to continue to devastate higher education, for example?”

There’s plenty else on this week’s docket … like a potential electric rate hike. Exelon says without state intervention, thousands will lose jobs as it closes nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities.

Hearings will be held, focusing on workers’ compensation, and on abuse developmentally disabled persons living in group homes.

And legislators will also decide the fate of vetoed bills. One would create automatic voter registration.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio