The first attempt to pass the “grand bargain” for a state failed yesterday in the Senate. It will be interesting to see if there are going to be any next steps. See story from the State Journal Register below.

Senator Heather Steans has introduced Senate Bill 955 which will increase the DSP starting wage to $15.00 per hour. It also clarifies that Individual Service Coordinators are also part of this campaign. We strongly recommend that you ask your Senator to become a co-sponsor for Senate Bill 955. READ THE BILL.

Wow! What a fun night we had at my retirement party at the Lisle Hilton. I was amazed and delighted to see so many friends who came out to celebrate. Special thanks to Sherri Schneider and Janet Donahue for organizing the shindig! Terri Devine did a great job as our moderator and we had presentations by Director Fenton, DHS; Rocky Donahue, PACE; Tony Records (yes, that Tony Records), Zena Naiditch, Equip for Equality and Emily Bryan! My family including grandchildren were all able to attend to make it a perfect evening.

Thanks to all of you for your support of our advocacy but more on that next week. My last day with The Arc will be Tuesday.


Illinois Senate reaction to budget-bill votes lukewarm

The Illinois Senate’s attempt at kick-starting a compromise budget plan has fallen flat.

The Senate approved three of the four measures majority Democrats called for votes Wednesday. But they were approved with no Republican support. And the only contentious part – a major overhaul to the state’s pension program – failed.

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago and Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont put together a 13-part plan they hoped would break a nearly two-year deadlock on a state budget. They pledged votes in January but couldn’t reach agreement.

Cullerton said Wednesday “it’s time to vote.” Radogno said she wants agreement on the whole package – which includes an income-tax increase and changes to workers’ compensation – before voting starts.

GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders have been unable to settle an annual budget plan since 2015.

Earlier report:

The Illinois Senate has approved small pieces of the far-reaching budget compromise plan it’s debated for six weeks. But whether the rest of the package gets a vote is questionable.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve plans to streamline government purchasing and to make it easier for voters to approve consolidating or eliminating superfluous local governments.

But there were no Republicans voting in favor of the measures. Democratic Senate President John Cullerton has said the plan to break a stalemate on a state budget must be approved with votes from both parties.

Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont says the plan is part of a package that includes a tax increase and changes to the workers’
compensation program that are more difficult to settle. Those need more work and Radogno says the entire plan should be settled first.

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Tony Paulauski
Senior Advisor
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
708-828-0188 (CELL)