President Barack Obama will address the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 10. According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama will be the fourth president to address a joint session of the Illinois legislature.
“Relieving the congestion on this stretch of I-55 must be a priority for the state of Illinois,” said Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. “However, we must also recognize the state must be creative in addressing our transportation challenges. This is an innovative approach that has been successful in other states and should be explored here.”
Gov. Rauner laid out his agenda for 2016 during the “State of the State” address on Jan. 27. During the 30-minute speech, the Governor was clear that despite an ongoing budget impasse, he isn’t standing still. He’s moving forward with a transformation agenda designed to make Illinois’ government more efficient and effective for Illinois residents.
During the week, drastically different approaches emerged for funding MAP grants, Illinois community colleges and universities.
Illinois led the nation for “green” buildings in 2015, according to a report from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Illinois has 161 buildings and nearly 44 million square feet of space that has been certified as LEED, or “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.”
“Our state currently relies on IT systems that were built in 1974. It’s time to enter the modern era,” said Sen. Radogno. “In a world where information is power, we have to secure and modernize our IT systems to protect Illinoisans’ personal data from cyber-attacks, make state government more efficient, and save taxpayers money.”
“There is a serious lack of confidence in the city leaders who are making the decisions. We have thought long and hard on this, and for the sake and protection of the school children and taxpayers, changes needs to be made,” Radogno said.
“Governor Rauner has clearly demonstrated he can successfully negotiate labor contracts by compromising with unions. He has reached agreement with 17 labor unions which have been ratified by more than 80 percent of union members. He has also shown that he is a true advocate for taxpayers at the negotiation table -- something AFSCME may not be accustomed to – but it’s the undisputed reality of our financial crisis.”
Addressing the City Club of Chicago on January 11, Leader Christine Radogno said it's time for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join reform efforts to rescue Illinois. Without saving Illinois, there is no saving Chicago.
Senate Republicans remain committed in 2016 to passing a balanced and constitutional state budget and fundamental reforms to move Illinois forward and put the state back on track for more job creation, business investment, and economic prosperity.
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced Jan. 4 a delay in state income tax refunds. The agency cited concerns about fraud and identity theft.
Although the flood waters are beginning to recede, Illinois continues to be plagued by flooding triggered by heavy rains during the last week of 2015.
A sluggish economy, a not seasonally adjusted Illinois unemployment rate (5.8%) that lags behind the national average (4.8%) – according to the most recent state analysis – and a consistent top ranking for out-migration, are telltale signs Illinois needs reforms to turn around its economic prospects.
On Jan. 4, the final report from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s task force on local government consolidation and unfunded mandates was made public.
On Jan. 1, 2016, 237 new laws go into effect in Illinois, including measures that impact fighting crime, government transparency, business, hunting, health, and family.