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Budget – Higher education
Governor signs bill, pushed by House Republicans, to provide stopgap funding for higher education. The bill was SB 2059 as amended in the House. On Monday, April 25, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law, making it possible for the Comptroller’s office to begin transferring “lifeline” funding to Illinois’ nine universities, 12 campuses, 39 community college districts and approximately 120,000 Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) Grant recipients.
Comptroller takes immediate action to alleviate hardship.

Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger issued the following statement Thursday regarding student Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants:

"Today, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission sent $164 million in MAP Grant vouchers to my office and we turned around the payments immediately. As a result, colleges and universities will receive payment to assist the 125,000 college students who rely upon that funding to further their education. Our students have suffered unacceptable hardship due to this budget impasse and it is my priority to provide relief however possible.

But this is not a long term solution. In fact, the MAP Grant funding that was signed into law earlier this week covers only half of what students were promised this year. I applaud the General Assembly and Governor for a strong first step, but it is critical that they now finish the job and pass a comprehensive balanced budget that allows us to keep our promises not only to students, but also to social service providers, schools, businesses and others that are serving taxpayers across our state."
Budget – Higher Education
Reps. Fortner and Brady lead successful, bipartisan effort to provide $600 million in stopgap funding for higher education. State universities statewide are facing sharp cutbacks and, in some cases, threatened shutdowns due to the current budget impasse. The failure of the Illinois General Assembly majority to enact a balanced budget has led to cash-flow situations affecting Illinois higher education. However, the stopgap funding bill passed by the General Assembly on Friday is expected to enable all twelve state university campuses to continue to operate through the 2016 spring and summer terms.
State Representative Chad Hays announced in Springfield today the filing of new legislation that will protect Illinois patients by establishing standards for adequacy, accessibility and transparency of all health insurance plans sold in Illinois.

HB 6562, the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act, will require health insurers to develop networks of health professionals, hospitals and facilities that meet the needs of the patients enrolled in their insurance plans. It will also require insurers to maintain up-to-date directories of in-network professionals and facilities, and communicate with patients about changes to their networks. Read more.
Higher education in Illinois is in crisis. The state has not appropriated basic operations money to the state universities this year. As a result one institution is preparing to close on May 1 and others cannot guarantee that they will be open when students return in the fall. May 1 is also the day when students traditionally must decide where they will attend in the fall. If students are uncertain about the future of our state universities, they may not plan to attend. Waiting longer to fund our universities may come too late to get those students back. There are three things we can do now to help this crisis.

First I propose that we utilize the Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) as a stopgap to fund the universities through August. The EAF will have about $600 million left in it at the end of the fiscal year on June 30. August is an important time since that is when students return and revenue from tuition, room and board comes to the universities. In SB 2046 (J. Cullerton/Currie), the total appropriation for ordinary and contingent expenses for the state universities and the Illinois Math and Science Academy is $1,079,180,600. This represents a full year appropriation, but there was no identified revenue to pay for it. An equivalent expenditure for four months from May 1 to August 31 would be one third of that, $359,726,867. Read more.
State Representative Don Moffitt (R-Gilson) was honored on Wednesday, April 13th on the House Floor for his service as the Fire Caucus Co-Chair and for his career-long commitment to fire services, EMS, and first responders.  The special recognition, in the form of the presentation of House Resolution 1104 and a fire axe plaque, was presented in coordination with Fire Services Lobby Day at the Capitol.

Read more.


FY16 Budget
As budget crunch deepens, Republicans offer real solutions. As of April 2016, the State has entered its tenth month without a balanced budget, making Illinois the only state that has not yet enacted a spending plan for the current fiscal year. No plans have been enacted to control and continue State spending during this period. Many providers of essential social healthcare services, including vitally-needed services for seniors, veterans, persons with challenges relating to mental health or developmental disability, and victims of domestic and sexual violence, have been affected by this lack of budget appropriations. Many of these entities have been forced by cash-flow realities to reduce services. Some of these service providers have been forced to lay off personnel, and in some cases to completely shut their doors, in the communities they serve or have served.