House Back in Session But No Sign of Budget

State lawmakers return to Springfield this week to vote on a number of measures, but not on the agenda is the No. 1 topic of discussion—the state budget that should have gone into effect last year.

On Monday, the Illinois House is expected to vote on various bills that include regulations on daily fantasy sports betting, making police videos more accessible to the public, banning drone flights that could deliver contraband to prisoners and criminalizing cyberbullying by parents.

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The votes come as the unprecedented stalemate over the budget continues to drag on with no end in sight. Because state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner have not agreed on a spending plan for the current fiscal year, many social service programs have closed their doors.

Some public universities and colleges are also struggling to keep classrooms open without funding from the state. Northeastern Illinois University has implemented unpaid furlough days for some employees, and Chicago State University canceled spring break for students so it could end the school year earlier.

The inaction over a state budget was one of the many issues highlighted in last Friday’s one-day strike by the Chicago Teachers Union. The union is currently negotiating a contract with the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools, which wants state lawmakers to provide more money to the district through an overhaul of how the state pays for public education.

“Chicago Tonight” host Phil Ponce talks with Springfield reporter Amanda Vinicky about Monday’s action in the capitol, reaction from lawmakers to the teachers strike and where budget talks stand. 

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