The $2 billion in additional spending and 7.5 billion in unpaid bills will make the formerly temporary tax increase on residents, permanent.
Today is the last day of Regular Session. If the budget and Budget Implementation Bills (BIMP) are not passed by both chambers by midnight tonight, the General Assembly will go into an Overtime Session.

If there were a balance of political parties in the legislature, overtime would have greater ramifications because a "super majority" would be needed to pass legislation. With Democrat super majority control of both chambers that provision has little impact with the exception that legislators will not receive their per diems.

Stay tuned in here today for all the highlights from session as we cover it live. Session is scheduled to convene at 9:30 a.m.

In the waning hours of the legislative session, House Republican Leader Tom Cross speaks in opposition to shifting the state's financial burden to universities and community colleges (and ultimately to Illinois families). Instead, he calls for substantive pension reform to set the state back in the right direction.
With two days left until the end of session we're changing things up a bit on the blog. Several members will be adding their voice to our live blog coverage, specifically on budget bills. Reps. Tim Schmitz, Darlene Senger & Norine Hammond will provide their insight and knowledge to staff's reporting.

Session starts today at 11 a.m. and we'll be providing the highlights, here.

Rep. Mike Unes
By State Rep. Mike Unes from East Peoria Times
May 28, 2013

A little more than a decade ago, the state of Illinois hit a critical mass. ...(It) hit a magical point on the spreadsheet wherein taxing more led to less revenue for government instead of more. The memory of Ben Stein’s dry monotone voice explaining the Laffer Curve in the 1980s classic movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” had faded from our collective psyche.

Government officials, unable to deal with this new reality and unwilling to address their full-blown spending addiction had hit rock bottom. Instead of getting the professional help our state needed, state officials turned to new coping mechanisms instead of treatment. The new fix was the “shift.” "Read the rest of Rep. Unes' opinion piece in the East Peoria Times.
Rep. Jil Tracy
Session begins at 1 p.m. today. We'll have live highlights throughout the day.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross addresses the House of Representatives on the FY14 budget.

House members also join the debate -- pointing out the irresponsibility of adding more than $2 billion in additional spending even as the state struggles with $7.5 billion in unpaid bills.

On May 27, 2013 the House debated Medicaid Expansion. All Republicans voted against the measure. Here's what several of our members had to say during that debate:

The courts are allowing us to enroll in the Federal Medicaid Expansion at any time,” said Rep. Patti Bellock. “This is no time to rush into a massive expansion the State and Illinois taxpayers cannot afford. We need to spend more time getting our fiscal house in order to ensure Medicaid is sustained for those it was designed to serve.” 

Rep. Raymond Poe
Budget bills are in committee this morning expect to see them on the House floor soon. Session today begins at noon, follow it live here.

House Republican Floor Leader, Rep. Dennis Reboletti debates Concealed Carry on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives on May 24.

by House Republican Leader Tom Cross in May 24th Daily Herald.
As a result of legislation passed last year by the Illinois General Assembly, a private company is analyzing Illinois' Medicaid program to make sure it is running efficiently and that those who are receiving benefits are legally eligible to receive these services.
Maximus, the company hired to review the program, has reviewed 65,995 cases this year and made recommendations. Of those, the state made final determination on 51,587 cases, which has resulted in a conclusion that 26,871 do not qualify under current state law. The reasons are primarily because these individuals either don't live in Illinois or they don't meet the income guidelines. Read more at the Daily Herald...
Rep. Dennis Reboletti
 Follow live blog coverage of the Illinois General Assembly as they head into the last week of session. The budget and pensions plus a calendar full of bills remain to be considered follow the highlights here as it happens.

Today's session begins at noon.
Rep. Josh Harms
This is the last week of scheduled regular session for the Illinois General Assembly. All legislation and the state's budget must be passed from the second chamber by May 31, 2013.

Today, session will begin at 3 PM and you can follow the highlights right here.

Follow live blog coverage of the Illinois House of Representatives here at noon.
The latest concealed carry legislative proposal being considered by Illinois lawmakers passed the House Judiciary committee this morning and is headed to the House floor for consideration by the entire body. The major components of  SB2193 HA1 include:
  • Statewide shall-issue licensing standard; 
  • Strictly preempts authority of local governments to regulate firearms; 
  • No special "endorsement" or permit required for licensee to carry in Chicago or Cook County;
  • Grants licensee broad right to carry in a vehicle, including within a vehicle in the parking lot of a prohibited area; 
  • License to be issued by State Police; 
  • $150 Fee; 5-year license; 
  • 16 hours of training (Including Live Fire Exercise),
    • Up to 8 hours of training completed in another state can be counted toward this requirement.
    • Renewal application requires 3 hours of training, plus re-qualification on the firing range. 
  • Carrying prohibited on public transportation, in State and local government buildings, and in other areas defined in this legislation, including but not limited to schools, childcare facilities, stadiums, courthouses and airports.
  • Effective immediately; 
  • Applications to be available within 180 days; 
  • Allows law enforcement to object to an application on Basis of “clear and present danger to self or others, or threat to public safety,” which triggers review by Concealed Carry Licensing Board (created by this legislation); 
  • Denial of application by ISP is subject to administrative review, pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Review Law; final administrative decision is subject to judicial review; 
  • Denial of application by Concealed Carry Licensing Board is subject to judicial review; Application to be processed within 90 days (unless subject to review by Concealed Carry Licensing Board). 
  • The time for processing a license application subject to the maximum amount of scrutiny allowed under the provisions of this bill would be approximately 180 days. 
  • While applicants are not required to submit fingerprints, the State Police would be allowed an additional 30 days to process the application if the applicant does not submit a set of fingerprints.
Follow highlights of the concealed carry debate from House Committee on Judiciary right here, starting at 9:30 a.m. today.

SB2193, House Amendment #1 is the concealed carry legislation introduced by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D).

Those who gave their lives in service to this country were honored today on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives. We extend our sympathies to their families as we mourn with their loss and remember the fallen.

Rep. JoAnn Osmond
House session is scheduled to begin at 11:30 AM today. Check back here for live coverage and refer to House Calendar for bills that may be considered.

Representative Patti Bellock, House GOP budget negotiator speaks to the concerns of SB26, the Expansion of Medicaid Bill that passed out of committee today.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross passed SB1764 out of committee today increasing the penalties for driving while intoxicated for drivers for hire. The legislation now heads to the House floor for a future vote.
Five Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Centers are now open in Illinois for those affected by last month's severe flooding. Persons in the declared disaster areas can visit one of these centers to meet in person with staff from FEMA and other relief agencies in order to sign up for recovery assistance and get their questions answered.

Residents of the declared counties can also sign up for assistance at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.
Rep. Barb Wheeler
Live highlights of today's session of the Illinois House of Representatives starting at 1 p.m.

For state Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, this was the last straw: A food stamp recipient in his district used her Link card to bail herself out of jail.

"We are losing a couple billion dollars in fraud and we know that," Bost says of Illinois' Link program, which provides food and, in some cases cash, to needy families. "I've never been one opposed to providing for the needy. There are true needs. But if it's just for the greed, it doesn't matter if it's this or corporate greed, it's got to stop."

Link card for bail money? What's next? Link cards to gamble at slot machines ? Oh, wait ... read on.

For the full editorial, click here:,0,6222550.story
Rep. John Cavaletto
Follow live coverage of the today's session of the Illinois House of Representatives at 2:00 PM.

May 24 is the House deadline to pass senate bills.
House Calendar for today.
House hearings scheduled today in committees

House Republicans make a motion to have bills designed to improve the business climate in Illinois heard on the House floor.

The infographic below illustrates the negative impact state policies have had on the business climate in Illinois, resulting in the loss of jobs.

Rep. Mike Bost
Check back here at 2 p.m. for live blog highlights of today's session.

“Let us set as our national goal, in the spirit of Apollo, with the determination of the Manhattan Project, that by the end of this decade we will have developed the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy source.” 
 – President Richard Nixon (November 7, 1973) 

Guest Contributor
Mark Denzler, Vice President & COO
Illinois Manufacturers' Association

Four decades ago, President Richard Nixon introduced “Project Independence” to the American people only weeks after the Arab oil embargo threatened the United States with the long-term possibility of high oil prices, a disrupted energy supply, and a potential recession. The price of gasoline jumped from 38.5 cents per gallon to more than 55.1 cents within a span of five months and politicians called for a gas-rationing program. Ninety percent of gas station owners complied with the President’s request not to sell fuel at certain times on weekends and the state of Oregon implemented a ban on Christmas and commercial lights. The nearly five-month embargo had a profound impact on the nation and lit the fuse to develop home grown energy.
Rep. Norine Hammond
Follow live coverage of the Illinois House of Representatives here starting at noon.

Disaster assistance requested for 16 additional counties - 2 p.m. 5/17

Governor Quinn today requested that the federal disaster declaration for April flooding in Illinois be expanded to include an additional 16 counties.

Today's request asks President Obama to add Bureau, Crawford, Henderson, Knox, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, Warren and Woodford counties.

President Obama will make a determination, and, if approved, individuals in the approved counties will be able to apply for federal assistance.

Rep. Don Moffitt
Senate Bills are still making their way through committees and members are attempting to meet the committee deadline for Senate Bills set for this Friday, May 10. Sessions are anticipated to be shorter this week to accommodate the deadline.

Check back here at noon for the live blog.

The one thing we can all agree about public service is that we should strive every day to improve the quality of life for the people we represent.

One way House Republicans are doing that is by developing a jobs agenda to help get Illinois moving again, but we need the input of those on the front lines of job creation in our state. Please help us to craft better policies for improving the jobs climate in Illinois by sharing your thoughts and ideas in the survey below. Your suggestions will assist us in our efforts to make Illinois a great place to do business.

Thank you for your help.
Last week during floor debate on pension reform, Rep. Jeanne Ives questioned the bill's sponsor, Speaker Michael Madigan, on how the state got into the current pension mess. The video below is their exchange.


Excerpt from May 2, 2013 WSJ article, Illinois House Backs Overhaul of State Pensions:
"Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Mr. Madigan acknowledged that the pension problem flowed partly from lawmakers and governors enhancing retirement benefits over the years and not always weighing the costs of their decisions. A spokesman for Mr. Madigan said the speaker accepts his share of blame, but was one of many who contributed to the problem." 
Rep. Darlene Senger
Follow highlights of today's session of the Illinois House of Representatives, rich here - live at noon.

Session is at 10 a.m. today. Check back here for live blog coverage.

Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer
Session begins at noon today. Be sure to check back here for live blog coverage of floor debate.

The list of bills that may be addressed on the House floor this week is still rather short as Senate Bills make their way through House committees.

Leader Tom Cross responds to the committee passage of SB1, legislation sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan that mirrors HB3411, pension reform legislation Cross sponsored and introduced earlier this year.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti
Check back here at noon for live blog coverage of the Illinois House of Representatives for today's session. We're anticipating a short session as Senate bills are still making their way through House committees.

Earlier today SB1, HA1 a pension reform measure passed out of committee and will be heard in the House on a future date. Read our coverage of the testimony on Facebook.
Leader Tom Cross & Rep. Nekritz introducing pension reform
This morning, the House Committee on Personnel and Pensions passed  SB001 HA#1, legislation sponsored by Speaker Mike Madigan to reform the states ailing pension system. This bill mirrors bipartisan-crafted legislation introduced earlier this year by House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Democrat Pension Committee chairperson Rep. Elaine Nekritz. That legislation stalled in the House after passing committee on March 14 of this year.  The Cross/Nekritz provisions from HB3411 remain intact in this new bill.

Here is a quick peek at this pension initiative: