News

Illinois On The Brink Of Third Year Without A State Budget

Democratic lawmakers in Springfield and Republican governor Bruce Rauner have until May 31 to reach a budget deal.

Why May 31? That day marks the end of the legislative session, and after that, passing any legislation, including the long-sought “grand bargain,” would require three-fifths of lawmakers to vote “yes” for any bill to pass.

Illinois long ago broke the record for the state to go the longest without an annual spending plan, and lawmakers say they recognize they need to pass a plan pronto, so will it happen?

Legislation to Expand Gambling in Illinois Advances

Legislation that would expand gambling in Illinois and includes a provision for racetracks to operate slot machines passed the Illinois Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 7 was passed on a 33-24 vote, marking the second time this spring that senators have approved gambling-expansion legislation. The earlier bill was tied directly to several other important pieces of legislation in what was being called a “grand bargain” designed to produce a long-awaited budget from a gridlocked state government, but SB7 has no such explicit links.

Illinois Senate Approves Right to Know Online Privacy Bill

The state Senate on Thursday approved the groundbreaking Right to Know Act, a measure that would require online companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon to disclose to consumers what data about them has been collected and shared with third parties.The bill, sponsored by Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, now heads to the Illinois House after passing on a 31-21 vote.

Bill in Illinois Legislature Could Impact Dress Code

EYEWITNESS NEWS CAPITOL BUREAU – A new bill in the Statehouse could impact your dress code at work. Lawmakers want to add new language to the state’s Human Rights Act.

Employers would not be able to discriminate against employees or applicants for hair, facial hair or clothing if it’s worn for sincerely held religious beliefs.

Supporters say it’s a good step in the right direction.

Self-driving cars may be hitting the roads in Illinois if legislation passes

Drivers in Illinois may soon be sharing the roads with self-driving cars.

The Illinois House Transportation committee has approved a bill that would allow driver-less vehicles in the state.

The committee is still working on some of the language in the bill but it’s hoping to present it to the full house for a vote in April.

Internet Privacy Legislation Clears Illinois House Committee

Two bills meant to expand internet privacy rights cleared procedural hurdles in the Illinois House.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Art Turner Jr., says he wants to make it easier to find out what kind of information companies collect. He says that’s particularly important since President Trump and Republicans in Congress are scaling back federal protections.

“Illinois is in a unique position now to provide privacy rights and that protection for consumers here,” Turner says.

Legislation would eliminate Illinois’ soy-based ink requirement

According to a lawmaker and a local printer, a law still on the books since the late 1990s meant to help local farmers has done nothing but drive up costs and drive down competition.

In 1998, lawmakers demanded that Illinois’ public agencies, schools and universities only use soy-based ink for their printing. Since then, laser printing has changed the process to make it cheaper and faster.

Nursing Homes Fight New Legislation to Stop ‘Dumping’

The nursing home industry is fighting legislation that would require them to have higher staffing levels — and greater penalties if they don’t meet them.

Illinois’ long-term care ombudsman tracks complaints and looks out for residents of nursing homes.

But the ombudsman has her own complaint. She says state agencies that regulate nursing homes are ignoring her.

Statehouse bills attempt to reduce patient ‘dumping’

llinois residents need more protections against the practice of nursing homes discharging troublesome patients against their will and “dumping” them in hospitals, according to the Alzheimer’s Association and other advocates for residents of Illinois long-term care centers.

“The problem is alarming,” said Jamie Freschi, the Springfield-based statewide long-term care ombudsman.

Complaints about hospital dumping by nursing homes and assisted-living centers in Illinois is more common than in any of the nation’s most-populous states, she said.

Illinois Senate Spells Out Proposed Services for Sales Tax

Illinois would charge sales tax on storage lockers, private detectives, lawn care and body piercing under legislation introduced in the Senate on Thursday.

It was the only development in the Capitol a day after Democrats called an acrimonious halt to consideration of a plan engineered to break through a two-year budget deadlock with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.