March Legislative Update
By IL FOP Labor Council, Staff - Monday, March 5, 2018
From: Leinenweber, Baroni and Daffada
The Illinois General Assembly met last week, with both chambers in session. The primary focus is moving bills out of committee in anticipation of the committee deadline coming up in approximately one month. The House is in this upcoming week, and the Senate is in the next week, and both chambers are out for the next three weeks. The unusual three-week break is due to the mid-March primary and the timing of the traditional two week break on either side of the Easter holiday.
The main policy debate of last week was legislation dealing with various aspects of gun control. This issue soared into the political spotlight after the recent school shooting in Florida and the loss of a law enforcement officer in Chicago. All the legislation dealing with this issue passed the House last week, all with at least some bi-partisan support. The other issue that does not seem to be diminishing in headline value is the issue of sexual harassment claims against various Madigan staffers. Madigan, who is ultimately responsible for hundreds of employees both as the Speaker of the House and as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, has had two top level campaign staff persons accused of harassment. This immediately sent the Speaker’s operation into a defensive tail spin, and Madigan has not yet fully gained control of the situation. Madigan has tried to deal with the situation by increasing communication with both members of his caucus and with the press, a move that is somewhat unusual for the political veteran. Despite his best efforts, Madigan is coming across as, at best, out of touch. This is especially problematic for Speaker loyalists, some of whom are facing primary elections. The timing probably could not be worse, as early voting for the March 20 primary has already started.
The primary issues have not changed radically for either party over the past weeks. Ives is still intent on taking out Rauner and has continued to build steam in her campaign. She has made it into more and more media and picked up positive press along the way; however, she has too large of a gap to narrow to have much hope of victory. The Democratic gubernatorial primary has tightened up, but in every poll and in every scenario, Pritzker has remained on top since the beginning. This is due to the huge financial advantage Pritzker has over Kennedy and Biss, and the organization and professional staff that type of financial advantage can buy. The overcrowded 8-way Democratic race to replace Lisa Madigan, the long-standing Attorney General, seems to have tightened to the two leading challengers, Kwame Raoul and Pat Quinn.
Legislation of Interest:
- HB 4701 clarifies that an individual who is in IMRF as a law enforcement officer, who gets transferred to a downstate police pension fund is still a Tier 1 member. The legislation has not yet made it out of committee.
- HB 5114 which combines the language of HB 4701 with a change in the State Universities Retirement System to reinstate the law enforcement benefit for Tier 2 university police. The legislation has not yet made it out of committee.
- HB 5350 makes changes to reinstate the alternative formula for tier 2 conservation police. The legislation has not yet made it out of committee.