State legislators are done with their work until Republican Bruce Rauner becomes governor next month. Members of the House finished their work Wednesday, and after a morning of debate, the Senate adjourned yesterday afternoon. The General Assembly meets over a two year cycle. This one is coming to a somewhat lackluster close. Though the House declared itself totally done, Senate President John Cullerton is leaving open the possibility of calling legislators back to Springfield. "But it's not anticipated we'll be having any more action.
Illinois lawmakers passed driver regulations for ridesharers.
The House and Senate approved creating statewide regulations yesterday for drivers working for services such as Uber and Lyft. It includes modified insurance requirements, background checks and a zero-tolerance substance policy.
Illinois Senators approved a plan last night that would hike the state's minimum wage to eleven dollars an hour.
Jackie Collins, a Chicago Democrat, says that would improve quality of life for low-income workers, and reduce their need for government assistance.
"I believe that what we are doing here, we will send a message to those corporations - the multi-billionaire corporations, that no longer will we support sub-par wages, in the knowledge that the government will help their workers afford food, housing and healthcare."
The Illinois General Assembly voted to make same-day voter registration a permanent feature of state elections.
Democrats allowed it for the first time in this year’s election. As with most changes to election law, there was a fierce debate. Republicans charged Democrats rushed it through and the changes open the door to voter fraud.
But Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic Majority Leader, says that’s not true.
Illinois may soon run its own healthcare marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. The General Assembly is working against a New Year's deadline to create its own exchange. That, or risk losing millions of dollars from the federal government. When the Affordable Care Act went into effect last year, Illinoisans began signing up for healthcare in a marketplace technically run by the federal government.
Chicago aldermen are expected to vote on raising the minimum wage today. But Illinois lawmakers might not let Chicago go as high as it wants. The debate over the minimum wage in Springfield is two-fold. One - is what is the appropriate minimum wage for Illinois. And two - is whether the City of Chicago should have a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state. Steve Brown is a spokesman for the Democratic Speaker of the House. He says leaders are trying to see if there’s support for letting Chicago set its own rate. But for now - the Speaker isn’t showing his cards.
Lawmakers will consider keeping same-day voter registration for Illinois' general election.
A bill sponsored by State Sen. Don Harmon is scheduled to be presented today in a House committee. It would make permanent a measure passed last spring that allowed same-day voting registration and extended early voting.
The original legislation made the changes effective only for the general election.
Harmon says same-day registration was a successful experiment that's worth continuing. Republicans argued the provisions were intended solely to boost Democratic turnout.