The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to return for veto session Oct 24-26 and Nov 7-9. With a new Chicago mayor, here’s our take on some hot button issues to keep an eye on:
Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an amendatory veto on a bill that would have allowed utility companies, mainly the electric utility Ameren that services most of downstate Illinois, the “right of first refusal” on any transmission line construction. Legislators and labor leaders are considering a rare override of the Governor’s veto, which may be a tough undertaking given the opposition of environmental groups.
The Invest In Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which funds scholarships for low-income families for their kids to attend private schools, was cut out of the budget and is set to expire at the end of this year. Republicans are pushing to make the program permanent, while Democrats have said they’d be willing to revisit the issue, posing as a potentially controversial vote in advance of primary season in March.
Despite significant support in both chambers, Governor JB Pritzker also vetoed a bill that was intended to lift a moratorium to allow for construction of “advanced” small modular nuclear reactors as Illinois moves to reach a 100% clean energy economy 2050. We’ll be watching to see where sponsor Sen. Sue Rezin (R-38th), whose district is home to the Dresden nuclear power plant, and labor leaders land: opt for an override or work on alternative language for a negotiated solution?
Coming in 2024 will be the inaugural election cycle for the City of Chicago’s first Elected School Board, yet the General Assembly is still in the process of drawing and finalizing the district maps. The legislature has been holding hearings on the draft maps across Chicago. Three major issues remain unresolved but could be addressed with a final bill during veto session:
- The main controversy centers around whether voting districts should reflect the racial population of the city or the racial mix of the school district.
- Another factor yet to be addressed is whether the law should include campaign contribution limits.
- There’s also a faction of supporters calling for paid positions so working- and middle-class residents can make a run more likely.
Finally, with the influx of migrants coming to Chicago growing each day, expect to see some sort of legislative measures pop up to address this humanitarian crisis.
Written by Vice President Eleni Demertzis, who is a highly respected public affairs strategist with over a decade of experience at the highest levels of Illinois government and statewide political campaigns.