January Legislative Update
By IL FOP Labor Council, Staff - Thursday, January 24, 2019
From: Leinenweber, Baroni, and Daffada
The week of January 14th saw the end of the 100th General Assembly and the start of the 101st G.A. The 101st promises to look very different than the 100th for multiple reasons. Perhaps the most significant change is in the Executive Branch, but the Legislative Branch has experienced many changes as well. The most interesting thing, at least so far, is how much has stayed the same.
Pritzker is about as different from Rauner as two Governors can be. Pritzker ran on a generally pro working person platform. He advocates for raising taxes to allow more revenue for state and local funding to pay bills. He supports increasing gambling, legalizing marijuana and pouring borrowed funds into new Illinois infrastructure. He has taken steps to pay his staff more than previous law allowed. He has supported collective bargaining and has already started to reverse the anti-labor policies of his predecessor. All of this is to say that he is heading in a very different direction than the epically unpopular former governor Rauner.
Pritzker will likely get help from the new Legislature. There has been more turnover between the 100th and the 101st G.A. than has happened in anyone’s recent memory. The Democrats control the Legislature with a higher margin than ever before, and now have super majorities in both chambers. The new members are, generally, more progressive and more engaged than Freshmen of previous years. Many have entered the chamber filing legislation in the first week. Many were elected in previous Democrat proof districts. Many of them openly support Pritzker’s policies. This Liberal Democrat controlled body cannot wait to support police reform, increased taxes, legalized marijuana, increased education dollars, increased social programs, and increased gambling. The defining issue that all of Illinois faces; however, is not these new changes. The defining issue is what has stayed the same.
The Legislature elected John Cullerton to be the Senate President and Michael Madigan to be the Speaker of the House. While Cullerton is likely to embrace the more liberal policies of the new body, Madigan is decidedly more conservative than many of the Republicans in his chamber. This continuity in leadership is likely to keep some level of continuity in actions through the Legislature and is likely to make it possible to kill some of the more liberal agenda certain legislative members may prefer. The other major carry over from the 100th G.A. and Rauner’s term in office is an astounding amount of debt. The State still has over $8 billion in short term debt coupled with tens of billions in long term debt. This means that whatever the desire for new programs, the checkbook is going to have trouble supporting it. This also means that even if the progressive arm of the controlling Democrats is able to substantially increase revenue, that money will go to pay for past years’ costs for a long time before any law enforcement agency gets an additional dollar.
Below is a list of some of the bills that effect the FOP:
- SB 39 allows an additional $5,000 homestead exemption for property taxes for officers who suffer a duty disability.
- HB 309 creates an unnecessary and complicated contract approval process for employees of educational facilities, including police employed by colleges and universities.
- HB 21 removes the requirement that a complaint against a police officer be accompanied by a sworn affidavit.
- HB 152 limits subjects of collective bargaining to make officers more susceptible to unwarranted investigations and discipline.