- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on action in the Illinois General Assembly (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

The Illinois House has approved a package of criminal-justice reforms to aid crime victims and reduce prison populations.

The plan won House approval 83-26 on Monday and moves to the Senate. It includes additional counseling and other services for crime victims paid with federal funds. It would allow prisoners to complete improvement programs to shorten their sentences. Judges would have more leeway to order probation in drug cases.

Peoria Democratic Rep. Jehan (JEE’-hahn) Gordon-Booth says her measure would reduce Illinois’ prison population - a goal of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. And Gordon-Booth says it would help ex-inmates rejoin the community and heal families affected by violence.

Some lawmakers questioned whether there would be money in a state budget crisis for new initiatives.


The bill is SB2872.


6:40 p.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s spokeswoman says he won’t support a bill to rescue two Chicago pension funds, prompting an aide for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to dub the Republican “Governor Gridlock.”

The Illinois Senate approved the Legislation on Monday on a 41-0 vote. The measure, which the House passed overwhelmingly last year, allows taxpayers and city employees to contribute more to pensions for Chicago’s laborers and municipal workers. The increase would come, in part, from taxes on city sewer and water service.

Emanuel says the legislation is needed to ensure the hugely under-funded pension systems remain solvent.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says he won’t support it without comprehensive pension reform that protects taxpayers.

Emanuel communications director Adam Collins says Rauner is “showing why nothing gets done in Springfield.”


The bill is SB2437


5:45 p.m.

The Illinois House has approved funding for colleges, universities and social service agencies that saw state money run out when a stopgap budget expired last year.

Democratic Rep. Greg Harris described the measure Monday as a “lifeline.” It authorizes about $400 million for higher education and $258 million for human services. A spending plan passed last year provided funds only through Dec. 31.

Harris says the money will help students pay tuition and ensure services such as mental health care and meals for elderly residents continue.

Republicans argued the bill spends money Illinois doesn’t have and that the state needs a comprehensive solution to its budget crisis.

The House approved it 63-49 on Monday. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers would need to act before adjourning the session on Tuesday.


The bill is SB2051


5:20 p.m.

The Illinois Senate has abandoned a plan to vote on a deadlock-busting budget plan.

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno (ruh-DOHN’-yoh) told reporters late Monday afternoon that they were close to agreement on a plan to fund state services for the first time in more than a year. But Radogno says her Republican members wanted more time to debate it.

The package includes an income tax increase. Republicans want to ensure the plan includes changes in the business and political climates that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner wants.

The Legislature’s session expires Tuesday so there wasn’t time to move the plan to the House. The Senate wanted to provide a framework for future proposals.

Now Cullerton says the plan will be reintroduced after the new General Assembly is seated Wednesday.


1:55 p.m.

The Illinois Senate has moved legislation to the floor that would address the long-running state budget stalemate.

The Assignments Committee on Monday approved eight measures that include an increase in the income tax rate to 4.95 percent, up from 3.75 percent. Other bills would allow borrowing to pay off an $11 billion backlog of overdue bills, increase the minimum wage, expand legalized gambling, consolidate local governments, pay Chicago teachers’ portion of their pensions and enact changes to state employees’ pensions to save the state money.

The state Senate planned to vote on at least some of the provisions Monday afternoon. But with only less than two days remaining in the current session, there’s no chance they could advance to the House.

The state Senate hopes to send a message that there’s bipartisan agreement to end the spending standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature.


The bills are SB17, SB253, SB263, SB284, SB305, SB390, SB432, SB523.


5:30 a.m.

A plan to end a two-year Illinois budget standoff negotiated in the Senate could get a vote in Springfield.

Sen. Pamela Althoff, a Republican from McHenry, says the deal was shaping up over the weekend after weeks of talks between Democratic Senate President John Cullerton and GOP Leader Christine Radogno (ruh-DOHN’-yoh).

Althoff says a state budget deal could see action Monday as the Illinois Legislature returns to work.

The deal would mark a significant step toward smashing the logjam on a state spending plan between Republican Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders. But there are just two work days remaining for the current General Assembly - no time to seek a House vote.

Cullerton spokesman John Patterson declined comment Sunday. Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly did not comment Sunday.

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