The Morrison Memo: February 1, 2018

Lawmakers Return to Springfield for Start of 2018 Session
Members of the House and Senate returned to the Capitol this week for the start of the 2018 legislative session. The highlight of the week occurred on Wednesday, January 31, when the Governor presented his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the General Assembly. Governor Rauner struck a positive tone as he spoke about the continued need for bipartisan solutions that will grow the Illinois economy and restore public trust.

Following the 45-minute speech I provided my thoughts about the speech in an interview. Click here to view that video.

Morrison Champions Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter Legislation
Last week I signed on as the Chief Co-Sponsor of important legislation that would significantly reform Illinois’ budget process. The “Taxpayer’s Fiscal Charter” gives broad power to taxpayers, limits lawmakers’ ability to create new and unfunded entitlement programs, stops the flow of unfunded mandates toward schools and local government, and ensures the pension system’s stability.

Specifically, HB 4229 includes:
  • A two-year freeze in discretionary State spending; the freeze would continue after the deadline if at that point the State is unable to pay vendors within 30 days 
  • A prohibition against adding any new programs or expansions of existing programs unless a full pension payment - based on actuarial requirements - is made 
  • A requirement that any new legislation which creates new spending include an identified revenue source or identified cuts to an existing program to pay for the new spending
  • A mandatory 72-hour online posting of the General Assembly’s proposed new fiscal year budget prior to passage
Lawmakers must take serious action to address reckless spending, and the provisions included in HB 4229 represent a major first step in addressing Illinois’ financial problems.

Morrison Signs On as Chief Co-Sponsor of Legislation to Enact Term Limits for Legislative Leaders
This week I joined some of my House Republican colleagues in championing new legislation that would put 10-year term limits in place for legislative leaders. HB 4194 would change state law to allow a member of the General Assembly to serve no more than 10 years as Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, President of the Senate or Senate Minority Leader. If approved and signed into law, the provisions of the bill would take effect with the inauguration of the next General Assembly in 2019. I believe this bill would be a good way to restore some accountability to Springfield and prevent any one individual from accumulating too much power within state government.

Metra Seeks Public Input on Proposed Fare Structure
Metra is seeking input from customers regarding potential changes to fare structure and ticket options at several public forums this February. A public hearing will be held in Arlington Heights at the Village Hall on Thursday, February 8 from 4:00-7:00 PM. The village hall is located at 33 S. Arlington Heights Road. You can also comment on the proposed changes online here. To read more about the proposed changes and the upcoming hearings, click here.

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