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Legislative Session Review:  Illinois

By Thomas Di Biasio | December 14, 2018

Illinois Session Review Image 2018

Illinois adjourned its 2018 regular legislative session on May 31. During the 2018 session, the legislature was able to pass its first on-time budget since 2015. Additionally, Illinois became a “red flag” state after Governor Bruce Rauner signed gun control measures into law. Lawmakers also passed measures to address the culture of sexual harassment in Springfield after several scandals came to light.

After the November elections, the outgoing legislature returned to the capital for a veto override session. Some key vetoed bills discussed during this session related to a teacher pay increase, smoking age increase, and prohibition of salary history disclosure requirements for job applicants. Although the Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto on increasing the smoking age to 21, the House failed to pass the override. Additionally, both the teacher pay increase and salary history bills did not have a sufficient number of votes needed to override Rauner’s veto. Finally, the legislature was able to override both the jailhouse informant reform bill and the Voices Act.

Legislative Highlights

  • Rauner approved Illinois’s $38.5 billion budget on June 4, which included an individual income and corporate tax rate increase. The individual income tax rate rose from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, while the corporate rate rose from 5.25 percent to 7 percent.
  • After the legislature’s numerous failed attempts at passing gun control legislation, Rauner signed two bill into law. The first bill (IL HB 2354) authorizes family members or law enforcement officials to petition the court to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed dangerous to themselves or others. The second bill (IL SB 3256) extends a 72-hour waiting period for handguns to all guns purchased in Illinois.
  • Due to sexual harassment allegations made against Representative Lou Lang (D) and two of House Speaker Mike Madigan’s (D) aides, the legislature unanimously approved legislation (IL HB 4243) to amend the General Assembly Compensation Act so that no public funds would be used as payout money related to allegations of sexual harassment by a member.
  • Two pieces of legislation became law in late November after the legislature voted to override Rauner’s veto. The first bill (IL SB 1830) focuses on providing a more transparent process for using inmate testimony against other individuals. The second bill (IL SB 34),  known as the Voices Act, would speed up the immigration paperwork process for undocumented immigrants who are victims of crimes. 

Election Highlights

In November, Democrat J.B. Pritzker defeated incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, giving the Democrats trifecta control in the state. Additionally, Democrats held all of the state executive offices that were up for election and picked up three additional seats in the Senate. Democrats maintained their supermajority in the Senate  and won a supermajority in House by winning 72 of the 118 seats.

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