12th District E-Newsletter Veto Session Update
Monday, November 2, 2009

Dear Neighbor:

The legislature adjourned Veto Session last Friday, October 30th, and I wanted to update you on some of the more important things that were addressed.

Please let me know if you have any questions on these or other legislative issues. And as always, if you need anything at all please don't hesitate to contact me or my staff.

Very Truly Yours,

Sara Feigenholtz
State Representative
12th District

  • Campaign Finance Reform
  • Cook County Veto Override Threshold
  • Speeding Up Payments to Health Care Providers

  • Campaign Finance Reform

    On Friday, after months of meetings, debates and negotiations, a campaign finance reform bill (Senate Bill 1466) was presented to the House. After great deliberation I voted for this measure. I decided that even though the reforms did not go as far as I would have liked, time was running out, the leaders weren't budging on their positions regarding transfers (monies to candidates from special leadership campaign accounts) and that in the end, perfect should not be the enemy of good.

    Although there is still a lot of work to be done, SB1466 brings many needed reforms to Illinois. Beyond capping campaign contributions, the bill allows for random campaign finance auditing, requires stricter and more frequent contribution reporting, creates a task force to study public financing and more.

    To learn more about this legislation, you can visit the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform's website.

    Cook County Veto Override Threshold

    During the first week of veto session, my colleagues and I passed House Bill 4625 (I am a co-sponsor), which would reduce the veto override threshold in Cook County to 3/5 from 4/5.

    As you may know, there has been a lot media attention lately about the 1% Cook County sales tax increase imposed last summer which gave Chicago the highest collective sales tax in the nation (10.25% which includes city, county and state sales taxes).

    In July of this year, Cook County Commissioners voted to partially rollback the sales tax increase, but President Stroger vetoed their efforts and an attempt to override it, requiring a 4/5 supermajority (80% or 14 out of 17 commissioners), fell 1 vote short.

    This 4/5 veto override threshold is unusually high and, in effect, allows for a major concentration of power in the Cook County President's office. As such, on October 6, the County Board approved a resolution asking the Illinois Legislature to change state law and reduce the override requirement from a 4/5 majority (14 of 17) to a 3/5 majority (11 of 17). This change, found in House Bill 4625, would bring Cook County government in line with state government, where 3/5 majorities in the House and Senate are needed to override a gubernatorial veto.

    House Bill 4625 passed the Senate and now awaits the Governor's signature.

    Speeding Up Payments to Health Care Providers

    One of the major issues we are dealing with in Illinois is the speed with which the State is reimbursing medical, human and social services providers in our communities.

    Thursday, the Senate passed House Bill 542 which captures more federal matching dollars and speeds up payments to providers. This legislation is a technical bill that accelerates quarterly hospital payments, and in doing so, takes advantage of Federal Recovery Money by increasing the federal match on our payments from 50% to 62%. This will in turn free up monies for reimbursement to other providers - many of which have been on the brink of bankruptcy.

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