Group highlights its legislative hopes in 'halftime' report
If the General Assembly can stop fumbling and start passing, the Better Government Association (BGA) says there's still a chance for Illinois to come out ahead this year.
The BGA published its "Halftime" report as legislators returned from their two-week break. The spring session will continue until the end of May.
"Against a backdrop of ongoing dysfunction and an increasingly massive budget deficit—which continues to appear insoluble, legislators will continue to work on a wide range of lesser bills impacting different policy areas," the BGA's Jose Sanchez wrote.
The BGA focused on bills that could be passed during the session that it sees as steps forward for the state.
Senate Bill 3, introduced as part of the "grand bargain" budget, would work to eliminate unnecessary governmental units and consolidate others in an effort the BGA described as "smart streamlining." Although BGA strongly supports the measure, it lamented that since it is part of the apparently doomed budget deal, it will likely face a similar fate.
Another measure that looks more promising, the BGA said, is House Bill 496, which would allow townships within a coterminous or substantially coterminous municipality to be discontinued.
The BGA is also supporting Senate Bill 1289, which would both simplify and increase the scope of statements of economic interest. The bill is a version of an earlier bill that did not make it through the House, but the BGA is working to support it this time around.
A number of bills that would increase government transparency are "alive and still kicking," the BGA said. It also said it worried that several others that would reduce transparency still have a shot at passage as well.
The BGA said it is also working to block the revival of the legislative scholarships program, which was used inappropriately, and to promote a voter registration measure that would ensure more accurate voter counts.