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IML Statehouse Briefing - February 21, 2017

Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his 2017 Budget Address on Wednesday, February 15. Illinois Municipal League (IML) Executive Director Brad Cole was invited to attend an advance budget briefing about the Governor’s proposal prior to the address.

The speech included some positive proposals concerning local revenues. The Governor is not proposing any reduction in the Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) and is recommending full funding for Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) distributions in FY2017.
 
Governor Rauner did restate his previous support for a permanent property tax freeze. While the Governor has consistently expressed his desire for a permanent property tax freeze since assuming office, there does not appear to be much support for it in the General Assembly at this time. We continue to believe that any property tax freeze enactment is more likely to be temporary and considerate of essential municipal operating costs.
 
The speech also discussed school funding, possible revenue increases and the package of budget and reform bills introduced last month in the Illinois Senate. A new Tier 3 pension plan is being proposed for state employees and teachers. Numerous other proposals are similar to those the Governor introduced last year and has been proposing since he assumed office. These reiterated policies include an expansion of various aspects of public safety and correctional services, human services, veterans affairs, public health and transportation infrastructure.
 
A transcript of the Governor’s Budget Address is available through this link.
 
The House returns to Springfield on Wednesday, February 22. The Senate returns on Tuesday, February 28.
 
IML Holds “Moving Cities Forward” Press Conference
IML President Karen Darch (Barrington), First Vice President Mark W. Eckert (Belleville) and Second Vice President Gene Williams (Lynwood) held a Statehouse press conference on Tuesday, February 21 to roll out the League’s “Moving Cities Forward” legislative proposal. Information about the “Moving Cities Forward” agenda is available through this link.
 
House and Senate Committee Action
Several IML tracked bills were approved by substantive committees in both the House and Senate last week:
 
HB 350 (Rep. McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills) would amend the Illinois Pension Code to provide for the forfeiture of benefits for any person who otherwise would receive a survivor benefit who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with the service of the member from whom the benefit results. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. The IML supports the bill.

HB 375 (Rep. Fine, D-Glenview) would amend the Illinois Police Training Act to provide that beginning January 1, 2018, all probationary officers employed by law enforcement agencies located in counties of more than 3 million inhabitants, including probationary part-time officers and university police officers, shall be required to complete Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training as part of initial minimum basic training requirements. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary – Criminal Law Committee.

HB 418 (Rep. Wehrli, R-Naperville) would amend the Downstate Police Article of the Illinois Pension Code to provide that if a person who is receiving a police pension becomes employed as a chief of police, the person must so notify the pension fund paying the pension and any other fund in which the person has service credit, and the pension shall be suspended until the employment as chief terminates. If the person elects to participate in IMRF, the person must also notify IMRF of those police pension funds. The bill provides that if a person who is receiving a police pension enters service as a police officer with a different municipality, the person must so notify the pension fund paying the pension, and the pension shall be suspended until the service terminates, unless the different municipality had a population of less than 6,000 at the time of the return to active service. The bill would apply to persons who first enter service after the effective date of the amendatory act. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. During the committee hearing, the sponsor indicated he would work with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to explore an income threshold under which a pension would not be suspended.

HB 684 (Rep. Yingling, D-Round Lake Beach) would amend the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act to provide that a unit of local government with taxing authority, or any person holding public office with that unit of local government, shall not use public resources or public funds to obstruct, fight, or challenge initiatives to consolidate, merge, or eliminate any unit of local government. The bill further provides that state moneys shall be withheld from the unit of local government until the obstruction, fighting, or challenge is concluded. The bill was approved by the House Government Consolidation and Modernization Committee.

HB 777 (Rep. Phelps, D-Harrisburg) would amend the Illinois Municipal Code to provide that the definition of "financial institution" in the Finance Division of the Code includes any savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union (currently, savings and loan associations and federally chartered commercial bank or savings and loan association) and regional planning commissions or joint regional planning commissions. The bill was approved by the House Cities and Villages Committee.

SB 87 (Sen. Link, D-Gurnee) would amend the Property Tax Code to provide that, for the 2016 taxable year and thereafter, the exemption for veterans with disabilities carries over to the surviving spouse of a veteran who was killed in the line of duty in the current taxable year or any preceding taxable year. The bill provides that, for the 2015 taxable year and thereafter, the exemption for veterans with disabilities carries over to the surviving spouse of a veteran who did not obtain the exemption before death, but who would have qualified for the exemption in the current taxable year if he or she had survived. The bill was approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

SB 860 (Sen. T. Cullerton, D-Villa Park) would amend the Line of Duty Compensation Act to change the definition of "killed in the line of duty" to include losing one's life while on active duty in connection with, among other operations, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, Operation New Dawn and Operation Inherent Resolve. This benefit is funded by the state. The bill was approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
 
IML Tracked Legislation
Digital access to a list of introduced bills that affect or are of interest to municipalities is available on our legislative webpage. IML is presently tracking almost 700 bills out of the more than 6,518 bills, resolutions and constitutional amendments that have been introduced to date.
 
IML tracked legislation is searchable by number or by issue category. Another great way to track bills of interest is by downloading our legislative app. If you do not yet have the app, it is available for iTunes and Android users. If you have questions or information about any of our tracked bills, please contact the IML staff member through the e-mail link available within the digital bill page and app, or e-mail us at IMLLegislation@iml.org.
 
Join Us at the Municipal Attorneys Seminar
Register today for the IML’s 2017 Municipal Attorneys Seminar. The event will be held Friday, March 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. A $175 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and a copy of IML’s Sunshine Laws manual, as well as 6.25 hours of MCLE. Topics covered include Land Use Exactions & Takings; Mandatory Topics of Bargaining; Appellate Practice; Professional Responsibility/Ethics; Sunshine Laws; Employment Law; and Section 1983 and Municipal Liability. Register online at iml.org/seminar.
 
RSVP for Lobby Day April 26, 2017
You are invited to attend IML’s Lobby Day on Wednesday, April 26 in Springfield. The Lobby Day briefing will begin at 9 a.m. at the IML office, followed by an opportunity to visit legislators at the Capitol (be sure to make your appointments in advance). A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Additional information, including online registration for both events, is available online at iml.org/lobbyday.