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The Rauner administration and the largest state employees union have agreed to a two-month contract extension while negotiations continue on a new labor agreement.

At the same time, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would prohibit either a strike or lockout and provide for an independent arbitrator to resolve the contract talks.

Rauner said the bill would put the fate of the contract into the hands of an unelected arbitrator “to impose billions of dollars of new costs on our taxpayers without any involvement of the executive branch, the General Assembly or those taxpayers.”

The agreement was signed Wednesday between the administration and Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 38,000 state employees.

The agreement says that “neither side will resort to strike, work stoppage, work slowdown or lockout between August 1, 2015, and September 30, 2015, or until impasse is reached, whichever comes later.” Read the entire story in the State Journal-Register.
FY16 Budget Crisis
Budget stalemate continues in Springfield. As the State of Illinois entered the fourth week of the new fiscal year without a balanced budget in place, the Democrat majority again refused to negotiate in good faith and instead continued their piece-meal approach to the budget crisis.

In the House, Democrats again backed a temporary budget to fund certain services at a level that is not sustainable over the course of the entire fiscal year. House Amendment 1 to HB 4143 was adopted by a narrow majority of Democrats, but did not receive enough votes to be passed on Third Reading and was therefore held for future consideration.
State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) received the Governor’s signature on her first piece of legislation on Tuesday. Back in April, Bryant received unanimous support in the House for HB 3721, a bill designed to help National Guard members keep their jobs. Bryant, whose district shares a border with the state of Missouri, explained the need for the measure.

"When a member of the National Guard is called to duty by their own state's Governor or by the Governor of a neighboring state, this bill would allow them to categorize their work as military service," Bryant said. "The addition of a 'military service' definition to their work in another state affords members of the National Guard protection that their job will be held for them upon a call up to duty in another state."

Bryant said that while the change may seem small, it is quite significant for the men and women of Illinois serving in the National Guard. Read more.
While Illinois faces $5 billion in unpaid bills and struggles to find the resources to pay for vital services, Legislative Democrats are again thwarting attempts to reject an automatic legislative pay raise that was enacted July 1st of this year.

On Tuesday, Illinois House Republicans, again, requested the immediate release from the House Rules Committee, a bill (HB 4225) that would prohibit 2% cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for State government legislative and executive elected officers and appointees for the FY2015 budget.

In his request, Representative Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove), implored the House Speaker to release the bill for a vote, calling it “unconscionable” that Democrats would allow themselves and others in state government to get pay raises, while the budget --- and money for vital services--- still lie in limbo.  However, the House Republican’s request was deemed to be “out of order” and no action was taken.


A 2% raise for members of the General Assembly will automatically go into effect unless legislation is passed to specifically to stop it.  The Republican Caucus wants no less than an immediate release of HB 4225 from Rules to reject the pay raises and allocate those dollars where they can help our communities, and this was not their first request to advance the legislation.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has filed a resolution to protect military personnel in the wake of last Thursday’s attack on the Recruitment Center and Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. House Resolution 658, calls on the U.S. Congress to act swiftly to enact laws that allow military personnel to be armed for their protection in light of several terror attacks that have been carried out on U.S. military installations in recent years.

“The issue of ensuring the safety of those who protect our nation is two-fold in this day of terrorist threats at home and abroad,” said Wheeler. “We expect our military personnel to be able to defend themselves while overseas, but today they also need to protect themselves at home. For this reason, I have filed a resolution that calls on the U.S. Congress to act quickly to allow our service men and women to protect themselves while serving on home soil.” Read more.

Some changes to Illinois’ fledgling concealed-carry law that clarify some of its ambiguities took effect with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature.

Senate Bill 836, which took effect earlier this month, addresses a number of issues raised by gun-rights groups, such as privacy, mental illness and dealings with law enforcement. It was the first set of changes made to the law since its approval in June 2013.

Illinois’ concealed-carry law, which took effect in 2014, is among the more stringent in the nation. In-state applicants have to take a 16-hour course – or eight hours for honorably discharged veterans – and pay a $150 fee to the Illinois State Police. It forbids carrying in a number of locations, mandates increased mental health reporting requirements and allows local law enforcement to object to granting licenses to people they feel are a danger to themselves or others.

The most significant changes deal with the process of applying for a concealed-carry permit. The new law clarifies that the privacy waiver that applicants have to submit applies only to personal records, such as criminal and psychiatric history, that have direct bearing on the applicants’ qualification to carry a concealed handgun. It also provides a mechanism by which someone with a “mild” developmental disability who otherwise meets the legal requirements can appeal a denial. The Daily Chronicle has the story.

FY16 Budget Crisis
Democrats send unbalanced partial-month budget to the Governor. As the State of Illinois entered the third week of the new fiscal year without a balanced budget in place, the Democrat majority continued to take a piece-meal approach to the budget crisis.

On Wednesday, the Illinois Senate concurred with House changes to SB 2040, an unbalanced partial month budget set to expire on August 1. The Democrats’ plan passed the House by the bare minimum of 71 partisan Democrat votes in the House the previous week. SB 2040 does not contain one-month spending levels based on the projected FY16 revenue estimate of $32 billion.