The Illinois General Assembly is off to a slow start this session because of last week’s cancellation due to poor weather conditions. Still, we can look forward to a few important activities in the coming weeks:
- The Illinois House has not announced the final committee members yet. We hear it is imminent, but since they have not been named, there will likely not be any committee meetings this week, or very few. The Illinois Senate committees are set, but no committee hearings are scheduled as yet.
- The House deadline has come and gone for making legislative drafting requests to the Reference Bureau (the group that writes the legislation for the members of the General Assembly. It was Friday, February 4. However, it may be extended because of the canceled session last week. Introductions deadline is February 10 for the Senate and February 24 for the House, but that could change as well due to the lost week.
- Governor Quinn will deliver his budget message to the combined session on Wednesday, February 16. Of interest will be how he accounts for the income from the tax increase with the limitations placed upon spending growth contained within the legislation.
- The new legislation to extend the current Illinois Sales Tax incentive on ethanol-blended motor fuel to the higher federal allowable blend level has been drafted and will likely be formally introduced this week. As you know, our legislation from last session (HB 4652) was caught up in the end of session maelstrom, necessitating re-introduction in the 97th General Assembly. We will forward information concerning it, including the new number, once it is introduced. Representative John Bradley, our sponsor from last year, will handle the legislation again.
- A limited number of bills have been introduced. To date, approximately 1150 House bills and 150 Senate bills have been introduced, with the vast majority of them being leadership “shell” bills (shell bills have only technical changes made in drafting for introduction, with the more substantive language to be offered some time later as amendments). Look for a flood of bills over the next 2 to 3 weeks as we near the introduction deadlines in each chamber.
- The Illinois Chamber of Commerce has convened a group of interested parties to interact with Illinois EPA regarding proposed significantly higher fees for air emissions permits. We will be participating in that discussion and will report any significant issues to you for your reaction and input.
Bottom line: The actions of the Illinois General Assembly will perk up this month, as we hear from the Governor on Feb 16 and watch for important legislation to be introduced.