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Legislative Action


The 81st General Assembly gets a two-step pay raise

By Gary Adkins

The 80th General Assembly adjourned December 14 after finishing most of its fall veto session business and passing a pay raise for the 81 st General Assembly, the executive and judiciary. The pay increase, however, drew such intense public criticism that law-makers were compelled to roll it back January 6 in a grueling 18-hour special session called by Gov. James R. Thompson. Under H.B. 802, as amended, lawmakers and most other officials will receive $5,000 raises in 1979, followed by $3,000 raises in 1980. Judges were excluded from the phase-in, since the constitution prohibits salary cuts during their terms of office, which started December 1.

Legislators returned to meet January 10, when it was expected they would vote approval of the $5.1 million child abuse bill (S.B. 1884) to hire extra caseworkers in the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Meanwhile, DCFS had been advised by legislative leaders to go ahead with the hiring, since the bill was sure to pass once technical accounting changes were agreed to. However the 80th General Assembly failed to approve the funding for clearly political reasons when it returned for its final day. In an apparent swipe at Gov. James R. Thompson, the House voted 75-76 on a motion to recede from an amendment earmarking funds more narrowly than recommended by the governor. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Eugenia S. Chapman (D., Arlington Heights). "She kind of single-handedly killed it," said James Williams, a press spokesman for the governor. A spokesman for DCFS said 70 to 80 positions in child abuse case work had already been filled and the agency did not immediately know where the money would come from to pay for the new workers.

The Republican party put together an early show of unity in December when party leaders in both houses of the General Assembly were unanimously reelected. George H. Ryan, Sr. (R., Kankakee), was returned to leadership in the House by the 88 members of the Republican party in the House in a December 6 caucus. Sen. David C. Shapiro (R., Amboy) won reelection as Senate minority leader December 12, with all 27 party votes.

The Democrats retained control of both houses on the first day of the 81st session January 10. Sen. Philip J. Rock (D., Chicago) was elected Senate president 32-27 over Sen. Shapiro, while Rep. William A. Redmond (D., Bensenville) won reelection to a third term as House speaker 89-86 over Ryan. Both picks came on the first ballot, an unusual display of unity.

Sen. Rock announced his assistant minority leaders would be Sen. Kenneth Hall(D., East St. Louis), Sen. James H. Donnewald (D., Breese), Sen. Terry Bruce (D., Olney) and Sen. Frank D. Savickas(D., Western Springs); and Sen. Gene Johns (D., Marion) would be party caucus chairman.

Bill Summaries

New bills passed

H.B. 2757, Rep. Gene L. Hoffman (R., Elmhurst). Raises the state's per pupil grant to local school districts from $1,293 to $1,310, at a cost of $30.6 million. Of the $30.6 million, Chicago schools will receive about $10 million, and downstate and suburban schools will get about $20 million. The funds were appropriated by the legislature last spring but officials said the money could not be distributed until the formula was changed because of an unexpected decline in enrollment. The House approved the bill 136-13 December 13, and the Senate passed it the next day 50-0.

SB. 1819, Sen. Robert T. Lane (D., Chicago Heights). Repeals a 2.5 per cent withholding income tax that Illinois businessmen must pay on out-of-state goods they buy. The intent of the law was to collect income tax from non-Illinois residents. But opponents such as the Illinois Agricultural Association and the Illinois Manufacturers Association said the red tape was a burden and the cost could drive Illinois business out of state. The repeal bill passed the Senate 32-14 May 26 and the House 116-48 December 13.

S.B. 1878, Sen. John E. Grotberg (R., St.Charles). Provides $9.4 million in bond funds to rebuild sections of Pontiac prison damaged in the July 22 riot. Included is the construction of two new guard towers, dining room, emergency lighting and a new sound communication system at Pontiac. The bill passed the Senate 56-0 November 29, and was adopted in the House 120-4 December 14.

S.B. 1881, Sen. John A. Graham (R., Barrington). Appropriates $13 million for prison operations, including pay for hiring new guards and increased salaries for all guards, as well as money to finance the prosecution and defense of those inmates responsible for the killing of three guards and the destruction of property during the July riot at Pontiac prison. Passed the Senate 48-0 November 29, and the House 148-0 December 14. (P.A. 80-1477)

S.B. 1888, Sen. Howard W. Carroll (D., Chicago). Appropriates $3.2 million for the State Employees' Retirement System, the State Universities Retirement System, the Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois and the Public School Teachers' Retirement Fund of Chicago. The funding is for automatic rate of annuity increases as provided by law. The Senate passed the bill 56-0 November 29, and the House approved it 153-0 December 13.

S.B. 1889, Sen. Carroll. A companion bill S.B. 1888, it requires the state to add 2 percent to its payout fund in its six pension systems. This is designed to finance the cost of increased annuities provided by law. Passed the Senate 57-0 November 29. Passed the House 120-13 December 14.

Veto overrides

H.B. 32, Rep. Roscoe D. Cunningham (R., Lawrenceville). Requires the state to pay the full salary of circuit and associate judges. Previously $7,500 of circuit judge salaries and $4,500 of associate judge salaries were paid for by county governments. Cook County will still pay $500 per judicial salary there. The House overrode the total veto 112-37 November 29, and the Senate. overrode 49-7 December 13. (P.A. 80-1473)

H.B. 2428, Rep. Anne Wilier (D., Hillside) State employee insurance will no longer pay for abortions, except to save a mother's life. Induced miscarriage or induced premature births would also be eliminated from state insurance coverage The total veto of Gov. James R. Thompson was overridden 122-23 in the House November 27, and 43-8 in the Senate December 13. (P.A. 80-1474) S.B. 1531, Sen. James H. Donnewald (D., Breese). Appropriates $5.83 million for establishment grants, annual per capita and area grants and equalization grants under the Illinois Library System. This library grant money had been cut from the secretary of state's budget by a reduction

Bill Summaries continued on next page

February 1979/Illinois Issues/24


Sen. Shapiro appointed his assistant minority leaders: Sen. Stanley B. Weaver(R., Urbana), Sen. Richard A. Walsh (R., River Forest) and Sen. James "Pate" Philip (R., Elmhurst). Republican party caucus chairman will be Sen. John A. Graham (R., Barrington).

Speaker Redmond again appointed Rep. Michael J. Madigan(D., Chicago) to be majority leader, while Rep. James C.Taylor (D., Chicago), Rep. Thaddeus F. Lechowicz (D., Chicago) and Rep. E. J. "Zeke" Giorgi (D., Rockford) were named assistant majority leaders in the House. Rep. Gerald A. Bradley (D., Bloomington) and Rep. Monroe L. Flinn (D., Cahokia) will be majority whips.

Rep. Ryan's assistant minority whips will be Rep. Arthur A. Telcser (R., Chicago), Rep. Elmer W. Conti (R., Elmwood Park) and Rep. Celeste M. Stiehl (R., Belleville). Rep. William F. Mahar(R., Homewood) was chosen Republican caucus chairman. The choice of Rep. Redmond as J speaker was accomplished with considerable dignity. When Rep. Richard F. Kelly (D., Hazel Crest) learned of the death of his mother, Republican leader Ryan offered to furnish a replacement vote for Redmond from the Republicans the 89th and deciding vote for Democrats. And Ryan repeated the gesture when Rep. John F. Leon (D., Chicago) was also forced to leave the chamber due to the sudden illness of his wife. Thus Republicans supplied two of the needed 89 votes to elect Democrat Redmond as speaker. A possible intraparty fight for leadership of the black caucus never devel-J oped. The fight could have threatened Democrat control of the speakership. In December a battle seemed to be shaping between Rep. Raymond W. Ewell (D., Chicago) and Rep. Taylor. Rep. Ewell had the support of most of the black Democrat regulars, but Rep. Taylor was in a position to throw the House gavel to Republicans, perhaps in exchange for a leadership post. The balance favoring Democrats is precarious 89-88, and Rep. Taylor Pouncey, an independent from Rep. Taylor's 26th District, was supporting Rep. Taylor in the bid for black leadership. Rep. Taylor was given a post as assistant majority leader instead. Both houses of the General Assembly return January 31.

Bill Summaries continued here

veto July 6. The Senate overrode 33-22 November 28, and the House overrode 111-39 December 13. (P.A. 80-1265)

S.B. 1850, Sen. John A. D'Arco(D., Chicago). Allows state employees increased coverage for psychiatric care under the state employees group insurance plan. Virtually unlimited out-patient psychiatric care will be available to state employees, as was the case prior to July 1, 1978, when a limit was set for coverage of one visit per week or $25,000 per year in-patient costs. The total veto was overridden 40-16 in the Senate November 29, and 130-27 in the House December 13. (P.A. 80-1476)

Failed to override

H.B. 1270, Rep. Woods Bowman (D., Chicago). Would have allowed local governments to supplement public aid recipient grants under the general assistance program. Would also have made the Illinois Department of Public Aid responsible for setting quality control and disbursement standards. The Bureau of the Budget estimated the added cost to the state would be about $13 million per year, but sponsors disagreed, calling the figure "grossly overstated." The veto was overridden by the House 118-45 November 29, but fell short 32-23 in the Senate December 14.

H.B. 2506, House Committee on Human Resources. Would have allowed so-called "permit" physicians, mostly foreign-born or foreign-trained, to practice again in state institutions and established a Limited License Review Board to review applications for renewal of licenses every two years. The House overrode the governor's total veto 109-53 November 28, but a Senate vote fell short 25-24 December 14.

H.B. 2707, Rep. Edmund E. Kornowicz (D., Chicago). Would have raised the ceiling on household income so that those over age 65 or permanently disabled could earn up to $15,000 and still qualify for property tax relief. The income ceiling is now $10,000 a year per household. The maximum grant would have increased from $650 minus 5 per cent of household income to a flat $650. The bill would also have allowed those eligible in past years to collect if they filed before December 31, 1978. An override vote was successful in the House 149-14 November 28, but failed in the Senate December 14 by a vote of 34-18 two short of the 36 required. The total veto stands.

S.B. 1601, Sen. Roger A. Sommer(R., Conger-ville). Appropriation for Capital Development Board. An attempt to override the item reduction veto, which cut $21.9 million from state aid to local bond funds, failed. The line item would have continued debt service payment assistance to downstate school districts which bypassed a local referendum when issuing bonds for school construction. School districts such as Peoria and Danville issued bonds through authority of a public building commission. The Senate overrode the item veto 50-1 November29,butthe House fell short by three votes 104-43 December 14. (P.A. 80-1271)

Veto accepted

H.B. 2801, Rep. A. T. (Tom) McMaster (R., Oneida). Prohibits conflict of interest voting by township officials who serve on county boards. An amendatory veto by the governor broadened the definition of conflict to include any contract between the township and county, instead of just votes on federal revenue sharing monies or township funds. The amendatory veto was accepted 146-1 in the House November 27, and was accepted in the Senate 55-0 December 13.

H.B. 3027, Rep. L. Michael Getty (D., Dolton). Grants a $400 state subsidy for each of the juvenile and adult probation officers in the state. The governor's amendatory veto decreased the amount from $500, as was originally called for in the bill. The House accepted the amendatory veto by a 160-1 vote November 27, and the Senate accepted it 54-0 December 13.

Pre-filed bills

A number of bills had been pre-filed in both houses for the 81st General Assembly as of December 2.2. These included:

H.B. 1, Rep. Harold A. Katz (D., Glencoe), to change Memorial Day from May 30 to the day designated by federal law.

H.B. 2, Rep. Joseph B. Ebbesen(R., DeKalb), to license and regulate practicing public accountants.

H.B. 5, Rep. Daniel M. Pierce (D., Highland Park), to ban pull tab cans and require 5 cent refund for all beverage containers sold in the state.

H.B. 6, Rep. Ebbesen, to require fuller funding of state pension systems.

H.B. 10, Rep. Lee A. Daniels (R., Elmhurst), to require zero-based state budgeting and review of governor's budget message.

H.B. 11, Rep. Daniels, to create Real Property Tax Procedures Study Commission to study and recommend changes in procedures.

H.B. 12, Rep. Daniels, to appropriate $50,000 to new tax study commission.

H.B. 13, Rep. Richard F. Kelly, Jr. (D., Hazel Crest), calls for an advisory referendum in November 1980 on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

H.B. 19, Rep. Herbert V. Huskey (R., Oak Lawn), to require unemployed persons to report bi-weekly to an employment office in person.

H.B. 20, Rep. Daniels, to authorize the attorney general to prosecute for offenses against state tax, securities, insurance or financial institution laws.

H.B. 21, Rep. Ralph Dunn (R., DuQuoin), to raise the legal drinking age from 19 to 21 for beer and wine.

H.B. 25, Rep. Huskey, to limit workmen's compensation benefits for disability to 50 percent of the state's average weekly wage and limit maximum benefit for death or permanent total disability to 100 per cent of the state's average weekly wage.

H.B. 28-32, Rep. Michael J. Madigan (D., Chicago), to allow peace officers to use deadly force only for forcible felonies "other than burglary."

S.B. 1, Sen. Robert J. Egan (D., Chicago), to create the crime of "terrorism" and make it a Class X felony.

S.B. 2, Sen. Frank M. Ozinga (R., Evergreen Park), to ban sale of alcohol to persons under 21 and ban possession of beer and wine by those under 21.

S.B. 3, Sen. Robert W. Mitchler (R., Oswego), would return control of Regional Transportation Authority motor fuel tax to General Assembly and governor after October 1, 1979.

S.B. 4, Sen. Mark Q. Rhoads (R., Western Springs), would require that election polls be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (now 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

February 1979/Illinois Issues/25


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