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Peter M. Murphy

Legal/Legislative Scene

The General Assembly Meets Adjournment Deadline
What's Next?

by Peter M. Murphy
IAPD General Counsel


The legislative session this year was fast paced and geared towards an early adjournment date at the end of May. True to their word, Senate President Pate Philip and House Speaker Lee Daniels ended the legislative business of the Illinois General Assembly in the early evening hours of May 26, 1995.

This early adjournment date was driven in part by the recently passed constitutional amendment which changed the session deadline from June 30 to May 31. However, it also reflects the torrid schedule followed by all members of the General Assembly. While bill introductions totaling 3,712 kept pace with those of 1993, the passage rate fell dramatically. Of the 1,215 Senate bills and 2,507 House Bills introduced only 217 and 226 respectively were sent to the Governor. This 11 % passage rate is the lowest in more than 30 years.

Only three hours before adjournment the first Conference Committee Report to Senate Bill 368 was approved by both the House and Senate. This Conference Committee Report was one of the very few passed this year. It included the following provisions:

  • Restores the ability of local government to issue general obligation debt (limited tax bonds) based on the 1995 non-referendum debt service extension;

  • Extends to all taxing districts including park districts, forest preserves, conservation districts, school districts and non-home rule municipalities;

  • Unlike the extension for general taxes, the proposal provides for no growth in the debt service base for inflation;

  • Provides authority for a voter referendum to increase or establish a debt service extension base. (The current tax cap law allows districts to ask voters to approve bonds only for a specific project.)

  • New debt can only occur when existing debt has been paid; and

  • Permits the issuance of alternate bonds.

This legislation has an immediate effective date which means it will be effective upon the signature of Governor Jim Edgar.


One of the most frequently asked questions after the Illinois General Assembly adjourns is "How long does it take for the Governor to approve pending legislation?" followed quickly by the question "When does legislation become effective?" The short answer to both questions follows.

Bills having passed the General Assembly must be presented to the Governor within 30 days after passage and this requirement can be judicially enforced. After final passage, a bill is enrolled by its house of origin. This means it is copied in "perfect" form in its final version. The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House then sign the bill, certifying that all procedural requirements have been met. This certification is required in the Constitution. The enrolled bill is then ready to go to the Governor. Typically, bills are enrolled and forwarded to the Governor in a pro forma manner.

After the 30-day period, the Governor has 60 days in which to act by either:

1) vetoing the bill and returning it with his objections to the house in which it originated;

2) signing the bill whereupon it becomes

10 • Illinois Parks & Recreation • July/August 1995

Legal/Legislative Scene

law in accordance with the deadlines mentioned below, or

3) take no action whereupon the bill shall become law within 60 calendar days.

This latter course rarely happens and typically the Governor will act within the 90-day window after the passage of the bill.

If the Governor does not approve a bill, he vetoes it by returning it with his objections to the house where it originated. If the General Assembly is not in session, then the Governor files it with the Secretary of State who then forwards it with the veto message to the General Assembly upon its return.

The Illinois Constitution allows the Governor to make four kinds of vetoes to bills: total veto, amendatory veto, item veto, and reduction veto (the last two apply to appropriation bills only). See the chart below for votes necessary to override.

Votes Necessary to Respond to Vetoes
Type of Veto Action Vote Required Votes Needed
      House Senate
Total Override 3/5 71 36
Amendatory Override 3/5 71 36
  Accept Constitutional majority* 60* 30*
Item Restore 3/5 71 36
Reduction Restore Constitutional majority 60 30
* If the General Assembly after May 31 accepts the Governor's recommendations, the law that results will not take effect until June 1 of the next year unless (1) it contains an earlier effective date and (2) at least a three-fifths majority in each house vote to accept the Governor's changes.


The date when a law takes effect must be distinguished from the date when it is enacted. A law is enacted as soon as the last step required for enactment occurs. This may be the result of 1) the Governor signing it, 2) failure of the Governor to act on it within 60 days after receiving it, 3) override of a veto, or 4) certification by the Governor that the bill conforms to the recommendations in an amendatory veto. Whenever any one of these things happens, a new law has been enacted and the Secretary of State assigns it a public act number.

When a law takes effect, however, depends on several factors. The Constitution provides that when a bill passes in a calendar year before the session deadline (now midnight May 31) with no effective date in its text, it will take effect on a uniform date set by statute (now January 1 of the following year). However, such a bill may set an effective date in its text which can be earlier or later than January 1. Many bills such as Senate Bill 368 and House Bill 413, provide that they are to take effect immediately upon becoming a law.

In the case of a bill passing after May 31 in a calendar year, the Constitution requires that it not take effect until June 1 of the following year unless it contains a specific earlier effective date and is passed by three-fifths of the members elected to each house.

This latter requirement is what spurs on the Illinois General Assembly to complete its business on time.

A number of park district proposals scheduled for passage as part of various Conference Committee Reports did not make the deadline.


House Bill 974 which contained a number of separate bills on the IAPD Legislative Platform was heavily amended in the Illinois Senate. Some amendments included proposals that were not advantageous to forest preserve districts. The following amendments were added.

Senate Amendment No. 1
Allows a forest preserve district in a county with a population less than 100,000 to enter into a long-term lease for a minimum of 15 years with a county fair.

Senate Amendment No. 2
Allows the board of any forest preserve district, by ordinance approved by a two-thirds vote of members elected (now, by a majority), to issue licenses for any activity directly (now, reasonably) connected with the purpose for which the district has been created.

Senate Amendment No. 3
Provides that any forest preserve district may lease or contract out the management and operation of—but shall not itself operate unless currently doing so— gift shops, cafeterias, snack bars, or restaurants.

Senate Amendment No. 4
Deletes amendatory provisions allowing a park district to annex recreational property owned by the park district in certain situations by passage of an ordinance. Provides that land owned by a park district located outside of its boundaries and not contiguous for the purpose of annexation shall be subject to all personal conduct and criminal provisions of the district ordinances. Provides that a police force having jurisdiction may make arrests and issue citations as if the land were within the district.

The proposals originally contained within HB 974 will be addressed during the veto session.

Illinois Parks & Recreation • July/August 1995 • 11

Legal/Legislative Scene


The Early Retirement Incentive for park districts and forest preserves bounced from bill to bill and finally ended up as a Senate Amendment #1 to House Bill 413.

As amended, HB 413 provides authorization for a one-year early retirement program that an employer may adopt as often as once every five years. The proposal excludes cities, villages and incorporated towns and their employees. This exclusion was at the request of the Illinois Municipal League who felt that it may be giving up a management right.

The proposal provides for up to five years of additional service credit and up to five years of age enhancement. It requires an employee contribution and requires the employer to pay the resulting increase in unfunded liability over a specified period. If an employee returns to I.M.R.F. service, the benefits are forfeited. This bill has an immediate effective date and will be subjected to action from the Governor within 90 days of passage. HB 413 passed both houses on May 22,1995.


SB 63 - Amends Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act to provide that a local public entity or public employee acting within the scope of his or her employment is not liable for the provision of information by computer or electronic transmission. Status: Sent to the Governor 5/25/95

SB 107 - Exempts from hazardous waste liability units of state or local government which acquire ownership or control of property through bankruptcy, tax delinquency, or abandonment. Status: Sent to the Governor 5/23/95

SB 240 - Amends the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act to include equine activity within the definition of "hazardous recreational activity" and which a local public entity and its employees are not liable to the participant. Status: Sent to the Governor 5/3/95

SB 857 - States that the owner of a hockey facility shall not be liable for any injury to the person or property of any person as a result of that person being hit by a hockey stick or puck unless 1) the person is situated behind a screen, protective glass, or similar device at a hockey facility and the screen, protective glass, or similar device is defective (in a manner other than in width or height) because of the negligence of the owner or operator of the hockey facility, or 2) the injury is caused by willful and wanton conduct, in connection with the game of hockey, of the owner or operator or any hockey player or coach employed by the owner or operator. Status: Sent to the Governor 5/24/95

SB 948 - Amends the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act to explicitly permit a local entity that has individually self-insured to establish reserves for expected liability or losses for which such entity is authorized to purchase insurance under said Act. Establishes an actuarial standard for the creation of such reserves. More clearly enumerates the costs a public entity may pay in protecting itself against liability. Most significantly, it requires that interest earnings on funds raised pursuant to Section 9-107 of said Act may be used only for the enumerated insurance and liability protection purposes under said Act, or, if surplus, only for the abatement of property taxes levied by the local taxing entity. Effective immediately upon becoming law. Status: Sent to the Governor 5/25/95


This year the Illinois General Assembly approved House Bill 340 which included a change to the act requiring the publication of the Statement of Receipts and Disbursements within six months after the expiration of a taxing body's fiscal year. The significant change made affected the section requiring the listing of all money paid as compensation for personal services and permits a public officer to elect to report the compensation and personal services of all personnel categorically listing every employee by name in one of the following categories:
a) Under $15,000
b) $15,000-24,999
c) $25,000-39,999
d) $40,000 and over

If approved by the Governor this bill will not become effective until January 1, 1996.


On Thursday, June 29, Governor Jim Edgar signed into law SB 300, during a ceremony on the front lawn of the State Capitol, authorizing establishment of Conservation 2000, a six-year, $100 million program to protect and manage the state 's natural resources.

Conservation 2000 is based upon the recommendations of the Conservation Congress and the Governor's Water Resources and Land Use Priorities Task Force. The goal of ecosystem-based management is to establish, protect and manage large sustainable ecosystems (macrosites) and linear corridors (greenways) through a combination of public and private ownership.

See related story on page 41.


November 1-3

November 14-16

October 20-Perfunctory Session


The House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations and Full Appropriations Committee have eliminated all funds for Land and Water Conservation Fund state assistance and urban park restoration for fiscal year 1996.

Subcommittee chairman Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) said he decided to protect the "core mission" of managing national forests, parks, and public lands. Regula proposed that federal agencies share about $50 million for emergency land acquisition and acquisition management.

Under the proposal, the National Park Service would receive $12.8 million; the Bureau of Land Management $8.5 million; Fish and Wildlife $14.1 million; and Forest Service $14.6 million. The House was expected to consider the bill late last month. Senate action will follow.

12 • Illinois Parks & Recreation • July/August 1995

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