Illinois Senate Republicans returned to the Capitol April 10, continuing to focus on the need for the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget that doesn’t put any additional tax burden on Illinois residents.
Senators spent hours hearing testimony, debating and advancing more than 200 bills through Senate Committees to meet an April 13 deadline for committee action on substantive bills. The next major deadline is April 27, the third-reading deadline for all substantive Senate bills. The Senate has a scheduled adjournment date of May 31.
Also during the week, farm groups from across the state celebrated Agriculture Legislative Day at the Capitol, and the Illinois Department of Public Health released its Opioid Data Dashboard.
With seven weeks remaining on the spring session calendar, Governor Bruce Rauner met with the four legislative leaders to discuss the need for a balanced budget that does not include any new taxes. He asked each caucus to certify its revenue estimates, support a full-year balanced budget, ensure revenues equal or exceed expenditures (as required by law) and include no tax increases.
Joining the Governor in this call for a balanced budget was Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, who earlier this week noted that while Governor Rauner has put forth a balanced budget proposal, “we are open to working on any budget proposal, as long as it’s balanced and does not put any additional tax burden on our already overtaxed residents.”
On April 11, farm, agricultural commodity organizations and other diverse agriculture interest groups came to the state Capitol to meet with lawmakers as part of Illinois Agriculture Legislative Day (IALD). Participants provide baskets filled with agricultural products and specialty lunches for the legislators. The purpose of these baskets is to remind lawmakers about the multiple facets agriculture has in the lives of their constituents and the impacts their choices make on the world of agriculture.
Opioid Data and Trends Readily Available
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is announcing the launch of its Opioid Data Dashboard, an innovative way to access data on opioid overdoses and deaths. The Opioid Data Dashboard is an interactive website that offers information on how opioids are affecting people in Illinois. The dashboard consists of three categories: “Morbidity and Mortality,” “Trends,” and “Prescription Opioids.”
- “Morbidity and Mortality” data includes the rate of fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses by county, as well as the number of overdoses by ZIP code.
- “Trends” looks at fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses by age group, race, sex, and cause (heroin vs. other opioids).
- “Prescription Opioids” includes data on the rate, by county, of opioids being prescribed, as well as the daily average of opioids being prescribed. It also includes the annual number of total patients being prescribed an opioid and total number of prescriptions issued.
Earlier this year, IDPH released the State of Illinois Comprehensive Opioid Data Report, which includes data from a variety of sources across multiple state agencies. Both the dashboard and report are meant to inform statewide efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and implement the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan.