Legislature Has Issues To Resolve Before End Of Session

May 22, 2015

Gov. Bruce Rauner has toured the state promoting his agenda, which includes term limits for legislators and changes to workers' compensation.
Credit brucerauner.com

Illinois legislators are taking a weekend break, though there are major issues unresolved heading toward their May 31 adjournment.

After long last, a handful of Gov. Bruce Rauner's initiatives were just introduced -- term limits, restrictions on where lawsuits can be filed, minimizing what companies are responsible for when it comes to workers' compensation claims, and a property tax freeze.

"It's time that we get down to business and really start making a difference in how we do business in the state," Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said.

The governor's threatened a long overtime session if his plan doesn't fly.

"And says you've got five days, take it or leave it, or you're here all summer. That process stinks," said Democratic Rep. John Franks of Marengo.

Several measures that encapsulated Rauner's ideas fell to defeat, with Democrats voting no, and Republicans voting "present."

Republicans say it's a charade. But Democratic Rep. Jay Hoffman of Collinsville says Republicans just don't want to have to take tough, controversial votes, like deciding if Illinois should save money by cutting reimbursements for doctors who care for injured workers.

"You wish that you weren't put in this position," Hoffman said. "You wish that you didn't have to vote to deny injured workers compensation, you wish you didn't have to vote against your doctors and your hospitals. You wish that they would be fairly compensated if they provide care, because they support you."

That's a reference to the medical industry's historical support for Republican campaigns.

Shortly after the vote, separate workers' compensation legislation was filed on the governor's behalf. Rauner says it's a "compromise" version.

Rather than making a business liable for a claim if the entire injury was caused by something that happened while a worker was on the job, he's scaled back a plan so half of a workers' injury would have to be proven to be employment-related.

There's a deep divide. The legislative session resumes Monday afternoon.