(SPRINGFIELD) The Illinois Senate has approved an annual state budget by an unlikely 56 to 2 margin. Last night’s debate on the $38.5 billion fiscal plan was held without heated comments and bickering that has marked budget discussions over the past three years. While most of the spending plan was held at current levels, there are some decreases in areas such as public safety, and overall the new budget is about $1 billion higher than the current budget which expires June 30. The plan moves to the State House although the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn the spring legislative session by later this afternoon.
(SPRINGFIELD) Illinois has become the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The State House voted 72 to 45 yesterday, which comes nearly 38 years to the day that supporters thought the amendment was dead because the Illinois Legislature failed to endorse it at that time. While thirty-eight (38) states needed to ratify the ERA to make it effective, Illinois was one of fifteen (15) states not to ratify it before a 1982 deadline set by the U.S. Congress. Supporters have argued that there’s precedent to show that deadlines on constitutional amendments do not apply. The renewed push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment took center stage again after Nevada voted to ratify the amendment last year.
(SPRINGFIELD) Several legislative bills were approved in Springfield yesterday and earlier in the week, and they are now on their way to the Governor’s desk for his consideration : one would allow courts to temporarily confiscate guns from people who are threatening violence : another bill would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history : another bill would raise the age to buy tobacco products in Illinois to 21 : another bill would expand graduate student unions to include research assistants : and another bill would raise public school teacher salaries to a minimum of $40,000 a year.