Legislators and lobbyists will once again fill Illinois’ capitol this week, as the General Assembly returns from a two-week break.
Now’s the time the legislative session ratchets up – as it will until a scheduled May 31 adjournment.
The Senate will take up legislation already approved by the House, or vice versa — either killing proposals or sending them to the governor’s desk.
For example: a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. It passed the Senate, but is awaiting a vote in the House.
Other measures haven’t gotten that far yet.
But look for negotiations on everything from medical marijuana to gambling expansion to “fracking” for natural gas to gun regulations to come to a head.
And of course … there’s the state budget. Lawmakers will begin deciding how to spend taxpayers’ money – and widespread cuts are expected.
Those cuts are intrinsically linked to the state having to pay more toward employees’ retirement benefits, after years of underfunding them. What to do about public pensions will be a hallmark of the spring session.
– Amanda Vinicky.