I learned this morning that the Human Services funding bill did pass the Senate but did not have a vote in the House. The House will take this bill up next week. Sorry for my error reporting passage in the House.
You will want your House member to support Senate Bill 2047!
Senate Bill 2047, Amendment 1 did pass in the Senate on Friday 55-0! (See page 15).
Friday’s vote included both Republican and Democrats. This means that Governor Rauner was supporting the bill. The grants were greatly reduced from their original awards (36% of their original award) because we are approaching the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. The bill included community grants not protected by the consent decrees.
This bill includes:
- The Autism Program – $1,505,000
- Best Buddies – $342,100
- Life Span Project – $165,000
- Dental Grants – $ 345,000
- Out of State Residential – $175,000
- Respite Care Services – $3,072,300
- Epilepsy Services – $726,200
A good summary of the action was sent to me by Senator Steans on Friday afternoon below. After Senator Steans sent this memo out, the House passed the following bills and they are now on the Governor’s desk. The Governor has indicated he will sign both bills but he has the power to line item veto any of the details within the bills.
This morning, a stopgap human services and higher education budget I presented passed without opposition in the Senate. Earlier, the chamber had approved a compromise the House had just sent us to release emergency funding to colleges and universities, including Chicago State University, which had announced it would shut its doors on April 30 due to the lack of state funding.
After nearly a year of passing budget bills that – with the exception of a measure releasing federal funds – did not have bipartisan support, today’s compromises are an extremely encouraging (though long overdue) first step. They will enable Chicago State, other struggling colleges and universities and many social services agencies to keep their doors open while negotiations continue.
But it’s important to realize that while this morning’s actions were the right step forward, they are only the beginning of restoring Illinois to fiscal health and rebuilding our social services infrastructure. An emergency funding measure is not the same as a budget, and without further progress in the near future, the current compromise is woefully inadequate. I am viewing it not as a destination, but as a bridge to a complete, sustainable and responsible budget, and I will hold the Republican leaders and rank-and-file members we worked with to get this done to their commitment to keep the lines of communication open so we can get to full funding.
Both Senate Bill 2059, which now goes to the governor’s desk, and Senate Bill 2047, which still needs to pass in the House, include partial funding ($600 million) for community colleges, public universities and MAP grants that help low-income students afford higher education. Senate Bill 2047 also releases almost $450 million to fund human services – from addiction treatment to meals for senior citizens to homelessness prevention – that have languished without state funding since last July 1. Many social services agencies have been forced to close their doors, lay off staff, cut back on hours and/or turn away clients. Many others continue to provide services even though they are not receiving reimbursements from the state.
The money appropriated in the two measures would come from the Education Assistance Fund and the Commitment to Human Services Fund. By state law, portions of our income tax revenues go into these funds, and it is projected that by the end of this fiscal year (June 30, 2016), $600 million will be in the Education Assistance Fund and $441 million in the Commitment to Human Services Fund. If the governor signs these appropriations into law, the Comptroller will pay out what is owed to colleges, universities and state agencies as the money becomes available in these funds. The legislation that passed today will pay for itself; it relies on existing resources and the existing revenue structure.
As we work on achieving full funding for higher education and social services for the current fiscal year, maintaining critical state operations and crafting a budget for the coming year, the choices will get harder, and we will need to build on the trust generated by today’s compromises and the negotiations that led to these votes. I remain committed to that process. I will continue updating you on further developments, and I encourage you to keep reaching out to my office with your thoughts, questions and difficulties. Feel free to call me at (773) 769-1717 or write to me through my website.
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423