Legislators Return Tuesday with Six Weeks Before End of Session

The Illinois Legislature is in full swing for the spring session with most of the action so far focused in the House.

 Their first week back after spring break, members of the Illinois House passed scores of bills, ranging from creating an elected school board for Chicago Public Schools to regulating puppy breeders and more.

 House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said lawmakers are hard at work.

 “On the Democrats side of the aisle, we’ve been focused on passing priority legislation and focusing on a balanced budget,” Harris said.

 State Rep. Amy Elik, R-Fosterburg, said most of the bills passed have yet to address the state’s major issues.

 “Here we are with 45 days until session adjournment and the Democrat-controlled legislature has failed to put forth any meaningful or substantive legislation dealing with fighting corruption, providing tax relief and unfortunately no plan put forth to provide a balanced budget,” Elik said.

 The Senate didn’t pass any legislation in the last week. Both chambers return to Springfield on Tuesday.

 There hasn’t been much public discussion among lawmakers in committees about how to appropriate tax dollars for the governor to spend. The governor proposed a $42 billion plan.

 There’s also the $7.5 billion split over two years that Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is urging lawmakers to appropriate responsibly.

 “This money is spoken for,” Mendoza told WMAY. “We shouldn’t be getting any ideas about new spending. It should only be utilized to pay down our debt, pay down our bill backlog, to stimulate the economy with a one-time grant to affected businesses.”

 State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, agreed with the Democratic comptroller.

 “Transparency, targeted and don’t start any new program that we’re not going to be able to pay for once the federal money is gone,” Batinick said.