CAA-supported bills advance as General Assembly faces “continuous session”

Advocacy News ,

Both houses of the Illinois General Assembly’s adjourned late in the afternoon on May 31. The legislature is expected, however, to remain in what House Speaker Madigan termed “continuous session” throughout the summer. The House is scheduled to reconvene on June 4; the Senate on June 9th. The majority Democrat lawmakers passed a Fiscal Year 2016 state budget that they admit is $3.3 billion higher in spending than available revenues. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to veto the budget bill, and has said he will negotiate with the Democratic leaders Madigan and Senate President Cullerton on the budget only if they include substantive items in his “Turnaround Agenda” such as Workers Compensation reform, term limits for legislators, a property tax freeze and a new method of redistricting. While the partisan political rhetoric is expected to escalate over the next few weeks (and possibly months), a stalemate in Springfield is most likely to continue until some deal on the budget is reached.

On a more positive note, the session ended with the resolution of almost all of the legislation of concern to CAA members and no imposition of new burdensome restrictions and regulations for landlords. A complete report will be forthcoming in the next week, but a few bills of interest should be noted. Senate Bill 1547 (Hutchinson, DeLuca ) was amended to take out objections from the landlord community and passed both houses. It prohibits cities and counties from enacting or enforcing ordinances or regulations that penalize landlords or tenants who contact police or other emergency services under certain specified circumstances, including domestic violence calls. House Bill 1319 (Lang,Silverstein), which provides that the requirement that a lessor pay accumulated interest within 30 days after the end of each 12 month rental period applies to interest that has accumulated to an amount of $5 or more, passed both houses. House Bill 160 (Thapedi) did not resurface before the House adjourned. The legislation, which the CAA legislative committee members discussed with Rep. Thapedi, would have provided that a landlord may recover rent or reasonable satisfaction for use and occupation when the unit is held and occupied by a tenant who is a defendant in an eviction or possession action, and the tenant continues to maintain possession of the land or property. It also permitted the court to set a firm trial date for the pending eviction possession action no less than 7 days from the date that the violation of the use and occupancy order is entered. In general, CAA members did not believe that this legislation was necessary or would be very effective.

Content provided by CAA contract lobbyist Joan Parker, Joan A Parker Government Affairs