Legislature ends budget standoff
Ten Republicans in the Illinois House of Representatives joined Democrats last week to override Gov. Rauner's veto of a $36.1 billion spending plan that gives Illinois its first budget in two years, assures public schools open in the fall and prevents summer road work from grinding to a halt.

It was the final step in breaking a 736-day stalemate, the Senate having already quashed Rauner's veto. The legislative initiative closes a $5 billion hole in the governor's own budget proposal.

With the state's credit rating teetering on the brink of junk status and the Comptroller warning that by August incoming revenue would not match money needed for court-ordered spending, "it was time to set aside politics and put the state's interests first." State Senator Steve Stadelman said.
Lawmakers will continue work on reforms the Governor has requested, such as property tax relief.

Measure could help Rockford-area adults earn high school diplomas

Thousands of adults in Winnebago and Boone may get the chance to earn their high school diploma, thanks to legislation that passed the Illinois House. Sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman in the Senate, the measure effectively eliminates the existing law prohibiting school districts from awarding high school diplomas to anyone over the age of 21.

“A high school diploma is nearly essential in today’s world, but not everyone is able to complete high school in the same amount of time,” Stadelman said. “These programs will give people a second chance and help them obtain job skills. And they benefit everyone, because a trained workforce is good for economic development in our communities.”

The legislation allows non-profit entities, including community colleges, to establish programs that can award high school diplomas to adult learners.  House Bill 2527 passed both chambers unanimously and heads to the governor’s desk for approval.

Category: Week in Review

With 10 days left in fiscal year, governor calls special legislative session

More than three months after he called Republicans off a promising budget compromise in the Illinois Senate, Governor Bruce Rauner has called lawmakers in both chambers to Springfield for a special legislation scheduled to last until the start of the new fiscal year July 1.

Senate leaders from both parties began working in late 2016 on bipartisan to balance spending along with numerous government and ethical reforms. Five bills in a 12-bill package had been approved and the remaining seven were expected to pass March 1 when Rauner abruptly told Republicans to abandon the process.

Now, weeks later and well after the May 31 deadline to adopt a budget by a simple majority vote, the governor is ordering lawmakers to return to the Capitol at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $48,000 a day or $480,000 over the 10 days remaining in FY 17, the second without a budget.

"The blame game needs to stop," Stadelman said. "Finger-pointing doesn't get us any closer to ending this impasse, which is hurting our most vulnerable citizens and frustrating all of them."

Stadelman-backed bail reform measure signed into law

Thanks to a new law supported by Senator Steve Stadelman, people who aren't a threat to their communities won't languish in jail because they can't afford bail. The Bail Reform Act of 2017 took effect immediately after receiving the governor's signature earlier this month.

Stadelman praised the legislation for allowing courts to assess flight risk and public safety rather than focus on a defendant's ability to pay when deciding pretrial releases.
Senate Bill 2034 grants a number of rights to defendants including the right to a public defender or attorney at their bail hearing, the right to a new bail hearing, the right to non-monetary bail and the right to have courts address risk in the least restrictive way possible.

Residents find savings on utility bills at Stadelman clinic

stadelman cub62017 rExperts from the Citizens Utility Board analyzed people's gas, electric and telephone bills and recommend ways they could reduce their monthly costs during Senator Stadelman's Annual Summer Utility Bill Clinic this week at the Rockford Public Library-Montague Branch. Stay tuned for information on a workshop this fall where a CUB representative will discuss how to navigate the confusing world of broadcast and web-based entertainment and news options.

Category: Week in Review

Community celebrates new school construction, expanded sports facilities

Mercyhealth sportscore r

Senator Steve Stadelman participated this week in the official "kick off" of Mercyhealth Sportscore Two by booting one of the first soccer balls to fly in the expanded Indoor Sports Center at the Rockford Park District complex. Stadelman passed legislation to secure a funding mechanism for the Reclaiming First initiative, a campaign to regain for Rockford the No. 1 position in the state's sports tourism market through the $30 million Sportscore upgrade and the transformation of a vacant factory on the downtown riverfront into UW Health Sports Factory.
school groundbreaking

Stadelman also joined administrators, parents and students at a groundbreaking ceremony this week for a new school on Perryville Road south of Harrison Avenue. The $15.7 million, 86,000-square-foot building is the first new school built by Rockford Public Schools since 1998.  It replaces Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools as part of a 10-year, $250 million facilities upgrade.
Senate Democrats pass fair funding for all Illinois schools

Illinois school districts, shortchanged for decades under the state's worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, could see a significant influx of funding to level the playing field between rich and poor districts under a landmark school funding reform measure passed in both houses of the General Assembly.

"A fix for our broken school funding system has been a long time coming," said Senator Steve Stadelman, a vocal advocate since 2012 before he was elected to his first term. "Our over-reliance on property taxes to pay for public education creates a fundamental inequity that hurts Rockford and many other less prosperous communities around the state. The quality of a child's education should not depend on his or her zip code."
Under Senate Bill 1, no school district would receive less funding than what the current formula provides. Rockford public schools would see a $5 million increase and Harlem public schools would get an extra $650,000, according to an analysis by Funding Illinois’ Future released this week.

The legislation would establish a formula that takes into account factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students. It also offers property tax relief.

Category: Week in Review

Failure to end budget impasse frustrates Stadelman

05312017CM0614 rThe deadline to approve a state budget without a three-fifths super-majority passed this week, leaving open the possibility of Illinois heading into a third consecutive fiscal year absent a spending plan.

"I'm disappointed the Governor and lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement before the end of the spring session,"Stadelman said. "Every day there's no budget the state takes on $11 million more in debt. We need to continue negotiating so schools can open this fall and government can continue to operate."

Overtime session dates are expected to scheduled for later this month. Illinois begins its fiscal year July 1.

Stadelman votes for property tax freeze

State Senator Steve Stadelman voted this week for two measures imposing a two-year property tax freeze. Senate Bill 482 freezes property taxes for two years for all units of local government except school districts, while Senate Bill 484 is a two-year property tax freeze on all school districts not eligible for a financial hardship exemption as defined by the legislation.

“I know that the people of Illinois are suffering under the highest property tax rates in the country,” Stadelman said. “While a permanent tax freeze would be detrimental to school districts that rely on the property tax, I am hopeful this freeze will provide some relief while making sure underserved school districts are not harmed.”
SB 482 passed the Senate 38-11-9 and SB 484 passed 37-11-9. Both are headed to the House for consideration.

River Edge Historic Tax Credit extension heads to governor’s desk

An extension of the River Edge Historic Preservation Tax Credit has passed both legislative houses and is headed to the governor for approval. State Senator Steve Stadelman won passage of legislation this week, extending the urban redevelopment incentive for four more years starting in January 2018.

“The tax credit has already spurred hundreds of millions of dollars of development in Rockford alone,” Stadelman said. “This will help put crumbling infrastructure back to use, grow the economy and increase revenue.”

The credit, equal to 25 percent of the rehabilitation costs for a business in a historic building, has been an important economic tool for downtown Rockford projects like the $12 million renovation at the Prairie Street Brewhouse. In addition to Rockford, the credit is also available in Aurora, Peoria, Elgin and East St. Louis.

Category: Week in Review

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Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
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