Illinois lawmakers extend session for potential budget votes next week

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Illinois state lawmakers will leave the Capitol complex Friday night without passing a budget. House and Senate Republicans are blaming Democrats for missing their self-imposed deadline.

The House and Senate technically have plenty of time left to pass a spending plan before the May 31 deadline set in state law.

However, Democratic leaders set May 19 as the official adjournment date when schedules went out before the start of the spring session.

House Republicans told reporters Friday night that they’re upset about the lack of time management from the majority party. Although, House GOP members hope the extended time in Springfield will allow lawmakers to have a transparent and bipartisan budget process next week.

“We have to bring it out and into the public,” said Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer (R-Jacksonville). “We have to make sure the public understand where their dollars are being spent, how they’re being spent, and what our priorities are here in the state of Illinois.”

House Republican Budgeteer Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said there have been no bipartisan budget working groups in negotiations. Hammond said House GOP budgeteers talked about their priorities with the governor’s office twice, but House Democrats have consistently blocked them from coming to the table in good faith.

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside) and Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released a joint statement Friday night. The Democratic leaders said a fiscally responsible budget is still their top priority.

“Conversation is ongoing and negotiations are productive,” the leaders stated. “We are committed to passing a good, balanced budget for the people of Illinois.”

The Senate will return for session on Wednesday and Thursday while the House will convene on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“Our budgeteers have been meeting throughout the budget process and the Leader and the budgeteers plan to continue conversations,” said Senate Republican Leader John Curran’s (R-Downers Grove) spokesperson Whitney Barnes.

House Republican Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) also noted that she told House Democrats that her experienced staff could help them with challenging decisions. This is the first budget season with several House Democrats with institutional knowledge on negotiations.

“If you don’t want to tell people you are using our staff or our advisers, whatever. But we need to get this done for the people of Illinois,” McCombie said. “Whether it’s today or whether it’s in a week or two weeks, whenever that case is, if they need help, they need to enlist that help.”

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May 19, 2023 at 07:42PM

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