Capitol Update - May 2

Legislature reconvenes for final five weeks of scheduled session
The General Assembly reconvened last week for what will be a series of session days concluding at the end of May.  May 31 is the adjournment date mandated by the Constitution.  The Illinois House and Senate have not yet enacted a state budget for FY17, which ends June 30.  Also, no budget has been adopted for FY18, which begins July 1.  Discussions of the state’s revenue picture, spending needs, and budget responsibilities are expected to make up much of the remainder of the spring session.  The General Assembly website continues to provide real-time updates on schedules of the Illinois House and Senate, and the progress of bills and other actions being considered by the Illinois House and its committees.

Governor Rauner meets with Speaker Madigan on budget for first time in months
The Rauner Administration released the following statement regarding the Governor's meeting with Speaker Michael Madigan Thursday:

"For the first time in more than two years, Speaker Madigan today hinted that he may be willing to enact a truly balanced budget with changes that will help create jobs, properly fund our schools and lower property taxes. It's too soon to tell if the Speaker will ultimately agree to follow through, but the governor remains optimistic that all sides can work together to enact a balanced budget with changes that fix our broken system and restore balanced budgets for the long-term through strong economic growth. "

Federal job count shows Illinois’ jobless rate is much higher than many neighboring states
The most recent figures generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), for March 2017, show that Illinois’ seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll unemployment rate is 4.9%. 

While this figure is an improvement over jobless numbers posted by Illinois throughout the 2008-16 economic downturn, the Bureau counted much lower unemployment rates in states that border Illinois.  The Iowa unemployment rate for the same month was 3.1% and the Wisconsin rate was 3.4%.  Quad Cities realtors, who work in offices licensed to practice in both states, told a local reporter that homes are selling much faster in Iowa than in Illinois.

Indiana, often cited as a state that is successfully competing for economic growth with Illinois, posted a March 2017 USBLS unemployment rate of 3.9%.  In 2015, an estimated 34,000 Illinois residents moved to Indiana.  

Illinois Awarded $16 Million Grant to Fight Opioid Crisis
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) was awarded a federal grant for over $16 million to fight Illinois’ opioid crisis. The grant is funded through the 21st Century Cures Act which includes an estimated $1 billion to states over the next two years to combat the nation’s opioid crises. Grants will be administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant program.

The grant supports new treatment and recovery services, including the establishment of an Opioid Crisis Line and expanded medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder. The funding will also support opioid-related enhancements to the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), the launch of a statewide opiate awareness campaign, new pilot programs to provide medications to treat opioid use disorder, and pre-release and post-release services for individuals who are incarcerated in county jails. In addition, this award will support a widespread expansion of the training of first responders to an opioid overdose and the availability of the overdose reversal medication Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan.

Drug overdose deaths in this country nearly tripled from 1999 to 2014. Among the 47,055 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the U.S. in 2014, 28,647 (60.9 percent) involved an opioid. Like many states, Illinois has recently experienced a notable increase in drug overdose deaths that can primarily be attributed to an increase in opioid overdose deaths. Provisional death records data obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) show 2,278 drug-related overdose deaths during 2016. This represents a 44.3 percent increase over the 1,579 drug-related overdose deaths that were reported by IDPH for 2013. Through the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, The Illinois Department of Human Services and many other state agencies are coordinating the state’s efforts to develop a statewide opioid epidemic preparedness and prevention strategy.

No comments :