Alton, IL

State lawmakers End Veto Session

Story by WBGZ Radio

State lawmakers wrapped up veto session last week and aren’t expected back in Springfield until late January, when some want the focus on economic and spending reforms.


The second year of the 100th Illinois General Assembly isn’t back in session until around the time Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to give the State of the State Address Jan. 31.


The state of the state needs some help, especially with becoming more business friendly. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said that’s his focus.


“I hope that we can finally come to an agreement on some of the reforms designed to stimulate the economy,” Barickman said. “We need those in Illinois.”


Some of the reforms Republicans have pushed for, like property tax relief or reducing the cost of workers’ compensation in Illinois, have largely been ignored by majority Democrats since Rauner took office nearly three years ago.


Rauner is also set to give his budget address Feb. 14.


State Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said lawmakers need to find cuts.


“The tax increase was put in place but I think that anyone who’s watching the budget numbers knows that if you’re serious about long term balance, you’re going to have to reduce spending further,” Righter said.


Lawmakers last summer, including Righter, voted to override the governor’s veto of a $5 billion tax increase. Every bit of that increased revenue is spent in the budget lawmakers imposed on the state by overriding Rauner's veto.


Outside of perfunctory days, the first scheduled day back for lawmakers is Jan. 23 for the House, Jan. 30 for the Senate.


State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said his focus is going to be on the next fiscal year budget with Rauner’s budget address scheduled Feb. 14.


“It’s going to obviously put markers down on what the governor's proposals are in great detail,” Manar said. “So to me, that’s the first order of business come the first of the year.”


State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said he doesn't think majority Democrats will advance much of anything early in the year.


“Let’s get real, it’s Illinois, it’s an election year, there’s a primary on March 20th,” Butler said. “I don’t think you’re going to see the Illinois House or the Illinois Senate take a lot of action before the primary March 20th.”


Despite there being more than 50 weekdays they could meet, the House only has 20 scheduled between Jan. 2 and the March primary. The Senate only has 18 days scheduled before the primary.


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