From the start of Illinois’ legislative session in January to the end of May, state lawmakers passed 615 bills out of both the House and Senate – the majority of which have yet to reach the governor. Nearly 600 of these bills will land on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk this summer, where he may sign them into law or use his veto pen.
Rauner will have the opportunity to review a wide range of proposals. Some would benefit taxpayers and strengthen the state economy, while others would push the state down a tired path toward more debt, higher taxes and depressed jobs growth. Here’s a list of five encouraging bills that deserve Rauner’s signature:
1) Axing golden parachutes (Senate Bill 3604: state Sen. Thomas Cullerton, D-Villa Park)
This measure, known as the “golden parachute bill,” would aim to protect taxpayers against lavish severance payouts for outgoing government officials. The bill would impose a fixed ceiling on government workers’ severance pay, capping payouts at the equivalent of 20 weeks of compensation. The bill would also reestablish severance packages as a privilege, rather than an entitlement: Government employees terminated due to misconduct would be barred from receiving severance packages.
2) Licensing transparency for ex-offenders (Senate Bill 2853: state Sen. Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry)
SB 2835 would assist ex-offenders navigating their way into the labor force. The bill would require the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to include information on its website that explains how specific offenses correspond to the agency’s policies regarding occupational licensure.
3) Teacher licensing reform (Senate Bill 2658: state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo)
SB 2658 would relax educator licensing renewal requirements for military service members and their spouses. Currently, educator license holders must renew their license once every two years. This proposal would change the requirement to just once every three years for educator license holders who serve – or have a spouse serving – in the U.S. Armed Forces. While most licensing authorities require periodic license renewal, this can be especially burdensome for military families, due to the regularity with which they relocate. This bill would ease this burden by increasing the longevity of their educator licenses.
4) Tollway transparency (Senate Bill 2291: state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods)
This proposal would require the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority to make all board meeting agendas publicly available in advance of each meeting. Published agendas would include any subject upon which a “final action” will be taken, as well as pending contracts that amount to more than $100,000. This bill would bring more transparency – and, therefore, accountability – to the highway authority.
5) Protecting small businesses from overregulation (House Bill 5253: state Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills)
This bill would require regulatory agencies to examine the potential economic impact that proposed regulations might have on small businesses. Small businesses are hit hardest by overregulation, given their limited capacity to shoulder compliance costs compared with that of their larger counterparts. HB 5253 would be one small step toward protecting small business owners from unnecessary and burdensome regulations.