Week in Review for July 1 thru July 5, 2013

Concealed Carry 
Governor Quinn on Tuesday issued an amendatory veto of HB 183, the concealed carry bill. HB 183 passed the House in late May by a vote of 89-28, and the Senate by a 45-12 margin. The Governor’s changes included:
  • An expansion of the list of locations in which a permit holder may not carry a concealed weapon to include all businesses which serve alcohol. HB 183 as passed banned concealed carry only in bars where alcohol sales made up at least 50% of all revenue. The amended version would ban concealed carry in many restaurants.
  • A requirement that the weapon must be completely concealed instead of “mostly concealed” 
  • A limitation to only carrying one concealed firearm and one ammunition clip which carries no more than 10 bullets 
  • Reinstatement of the assault weapons ban 
  • A reversal of HB 183’s signage requirement for private businesses. In the original bill, a business owner who did not wish to allow concealed carry on the business’ property was required to post a sign stating so. Governor Quinn amended the bill to require the business owner to post a sign expressly allowing concealed carry on the property. Concealed carry would be assumed to be illegal if there is no sign stating that it is allowed. 
  • An elimination of the “safe harbor” exception which allowed permit holders to carry their concealed weapon in the immediate vicinity of their car. Governor Quinn’s amendment does not allow a permit holder to step out of a car to lock the firearm in the trunk if the car is parked in a parking lot where concealed carry is prohibited. 
  • Making the meetings and records of the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board open and available to the public. 
The House sponsor of the legislation has filed paperwork for an override.

Budget Bills Signed
The Governor has taken action on numerous budget related pieces of legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 and supplemental provisions for Fiscal Year 2013. As passed by the majority party in the General Assembly, the budget bills contained authorization for $35.5 billion in spending for FY14, nearly $2 billion more than was authorized in the approved budget framework for the previous year and nearly half a billion more than FY 14 revenue estimates projected by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA). To date, the Governor has acted on all of the FY14 budget bills and also the FY13 supplemental provisions passed by the General Assembly except for one, HB 214, which contains the budgets assigned to the Appropriations – General Services Committee. This bill includes funding for payments to Constitutional Officers, the General Assembly and various regulatory agencies.

The Pension Reform Conference Committee held a second hearing on July 3rd in the Bilandic Building in Chicago. The purpose behind the hearing on Wednesday was to allow various groups and individuals to outline their suggested plans for pension reform. The committee took testimony from a group of university officials, a university professor, Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center of Tax and Budget Accountability and the Illinois Policy Institute. University officials from Southern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois offered their six step plan to stabilize the State Universities Retirement System.  Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Ralph Martire, offered a plan to restructure the state’s pension funding schedule.  A former professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago suggested the conference committee needs to raise revenue through taxation on stock trading. Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of the Policy Institute, offered a plan to move from a defined benefit pension system to a self-managed (401K-style) defined contribution system and freeze COLAs for state employees until the funds return to healthy levels.

The pension conference committee is scheduled to meet again on Monday, July 8 at 3 p.m. in Springfield.