(The Center Square) – With 566 bills passed by the Illinois General Assembly during the spring session, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will have a pen in hand for the next few weeks.
Lawmakers have 30 days from a bill’s passage to send it to the governor, who then has 60 days to sign it or veto the measure.
There are plenty of controversial bills headed to the governor’s desk that were passed by the Democratic majority, including a measure that dealt with verbiage in state statute like “he or she” and replaced it with “minor.” Sponsors said it was an attempt to address an Auditor General’s report about how the Department of Children and Family Services was failing to address the needs of LGBTQ youth under their care.
In language addressing the situation when mothers give up their children or neglect them, the word “mother” would be replaced with the word “person.” Some Republican women in the Senate said they were insulted by the change.
Another controversial measure would eliminate court fees and fines when a juvenile gets into trouble. The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, was also the driving force behind a measure to eliminate cash bail in Illinois.
“This bill is just for every kid who may struggle financially because of a fine or fee,” Peters said. “We don’t want them to go through with that.”
State Sen. Jill Tracy, R-Quincy, said those who break the law should pay the consequences.
“Why would you let minors with means to not pay the fines and the fees that are associated with what their conduct caused,” Tracy said. “Why would we push it off on the taxpayers?”
Another hotly debated bill dealt with the state providing taxpayer assistance to grocery stores. Supporters said the legislation will eliminate food deserts in Illinois, but state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said on the floor of the House what is really going on is a “logic” desert.
“All this leads to really bad policy and we have the situation that the government is picking winners and losers once again,” Halbrook said. “Ladies and gentlemen, we need to restore truth, logic and common sense to this body.”
There are also numerous education-related bills headed to the governor, including one requiring Illinois school districts to offer full-day kindergarten. Sponsors did not have any cost estimates for school districts, prompting the Illinois Principals Association to oppose the bill.
The governor has already signed some bills into law, including one that mandates paid time off for workers to be used for any reason, making Illinois only the third state in the country to do so.