Show me the money! Illinois General Assembly gives themselves, office holders raises

Springfield capitol

Several major measures – including a wide-ranging bill expanding abortion access and gender-affirming health care in Illinois, along with legislation that would ban the sale and manufacture of many high-powered weapons – advanced out of the state House this week.

They’ll still need approval in the Senate before they can head to Gov. JB Pritzker, who says he supports them. Stories on the two bills’ passage are below.

Lawmakers moved those and other bills before canceling today’s scheduled session. The Senate is scheduled to be back in session at 5 p.m. Sunday after concluding business shortly after noon Friday. 

The House will plan to return on Tuesday after working until about 8:45 p.m. Friday evening, quickly passing a budget implementation bill that provides for raises across the highest levels of state government, as well as for lawmakers in the General Assembly. 

Under the bill, lawmaker salaries would increase to $85,000 annually, up from just over $73,000. Leaders of state agencies would also be in for raises, as would constitutional officers. We’ll have further analysis of the pay raises next week when we’ve had more time to analyze the bill.

The measure passed with only Democratic support, and it also added new leadership positions within any caucus that maintains a supermajority – which Democrats currently do – that are eligible for leadership stipends. 

It also allows for the transfer of $850 million to the state’s “rainy day” fund to buoy its highest-ever balance. 

And it allows for the transfer of $400 million to a “large business attraction fund” backed by Pritzker. House Majority Leader Greg Harris said earlier in the week that the fund would need to be further defined in law before any of the money could be spent. The measure was contained in Senate Bill 1720.

The possible action on those and other bills will add to a busy next week, which includes the inauguration of statewide officers on Monday, and the new lawmakers for the next General Assembly being sworn in on Wednesday.

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