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Criminal law – sexual assault – Bellock
·         New law forbids health care hospitals, providers from billing sexual assault survivors for outpatient services.  HB 3848 was signed into law on Monday, August 24.  It creates a billing protocol and a voucher system for hospital emergency and forensic outpatient services provided to sexual assault survivors.  Under this system, these outpatient services will be billed to the State of Illinois or to the survivor’s insurance system, if any. 

Additional language within HB 3848 forbids a provider of health care services to a sexual assault survivor from carrying out certain enumerated aggressive billing and collection procedures for all other non-outpatient services that may have been provided to a survivor, including inpatient services and follow-up healthcare.  Prohibited collection procedures include references to collection agencies or attorneys.  House Republican Representative Patti Bellock was a co-sponsor of HB 3848, which was approved in the Illinois House by a vote of 111-0-0.    
Budget – FY16
·         Governor signs “federal funds” measure pushed by House Republicans. The measure “holds harmless” essential State spending lines that are not burdens on taxpayers who pay income and sales taxes.  SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will “pass through” monies given to Illinois for programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C.   Governor Rauner signed SB 2042 into law on Thursday, August 20.

Although SB 2042 was a Senate bill, the final language approved by the General Assembly and the Governor was developed in the Illinois House after pressure from House Republicans. Led by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, the GOP caucus pointed out that the overall FY16 budget impasse was holding federally-funded programs “hostage.” Even though the underlying money to pay for these federally-funded programs had been paid by Illinois residents as part of their federal tax payments, Washington was not transferring funds for these programs to Springfield until the State’s government countersigned the transfer by assigning the money to legal appropriations line items. SB 2042, as urged and supported by House Republicans, created these line items and will enable this money to be transferred. 

Before passing through the House, SB 2042 was carefully stripped of State taxpayer-funded items that will increase the State’s budget deficit. House Republicans continued to draw attention to the piecemeal FY16 Illinois budget taking shape, but noted that federal dollars should not be subject to the ongoing budget battle in Springfield. The House vote on SB 2042 was 98-0-0.
State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) discussed the status of the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield with WTTW's Phil Ponce on the "Chicago Tonight" program on Monday. Click the link below to watch the interview.


House Republicans Successfully Push Passage of “Federal Funds” Measure
As the Fiscal Year 16 budget showdown continues, House Republicans took the lead last week in keeping a federal-only pass through bill on track, ensuring approximately $5 billion in federal dollars will flow to state agencies and service providers. SB 2042, as amended in the House on Wednesday, August 12, will appropriate federal funds given to Illinois for specific state programs mandated or strongly encouraged by Washington, D.C. The Governor has signaled his support for a “federal funds” budget bill.

Despite unanimous bipartisan passage in the Senate, the original SB 2042 almost failed in the House due to a late amendment added by House Democrats that attempted to hold these federally-funded programs “hostage” to the overall budget impasse. In the end, the majority party yielded and allowed the original federal funds appropriation bill to be voted on by the full House with a handful of Republican suggested additions related to homeland security. AP political writer John O’Connor wrote a good article that explained the issue very well.
General Assembly Pay Freeze
·         House Republicans unanimously co-sponsor bill to block pay increase for FY16; General Assembly approves measure. The automatic 2% “cost of living” pay increase was scheduled to automatically go into effect for the State fiscal year starting July 1, 2015. Many House Republican members do not think the General Assembly deserves to enjoy a pay hike at a time when many Illinois workers have their pay and benefits frozen or cannot find work at all. HB 576 freezes cost-of-living adjustments and other benefit compensations for General Assembly members and other high-ranking elected and appointed State officials in FY16. The bill received final General Assembly approval on Wednesday, August 5, and was sent to the Governor.
House Republicans unanimously supported and helped pass HB 576, and all 47 Republican members were co-sponsors of the measure in the House. The Governor has expressed support for the concept of freezing the pay of Illinois’ top elected officials, and is expected to sign the bill.   
General Assembly Pay
·         House Republicans vote for bill to deny pay increase for selves in FY16. The measure, HB 576, amends State law to block implementation of the automatic pay increases slated to be paid in FY16 to Illinois elected officials. This action is necessary to prevent an annual automatic pay increase from being paid to members of the General Assembly, statewide elected officials, certain Cabinet-level executive branch agency directors and appointees, and county state’s attorneys. Automatic pay increases of this type have been mandated by the Compensation Review Act since 1984.

The increase for FY16, which is designed to help beneficiaries keep up with the level of inflation, is 2.0%. If HB 576 passes through the Senate and is signed by the Governor, this 2.0% pay hike will be blocked for the year. HB 576 also blocks scheduled increases in the legislator per diem and legislative mileage reimbursements that are meant to compensate legislators for their living expenses when living in, or traveling to and from, Springfield and other places of legislative duty. 

The 101-1-0 House vote on HB 576 was held on Tuesday, July 28. Gov. Rauner has signaled his support for blocking these pay hikes, but action on this bill in the state Senate is not certain.  The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, August 4. 
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 101-1 to reject the automatic 2% legislative pay raise scheduled to go into effect at the end of this month. HB 576 was co-sponsored by Deputy House Minority Leader and State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale). The legislation also prevents increases in mileage, lodging and meal reimbursements for the remainder of the new fiscal year that began on July 1.

“At a time when children and families in need are at risk of being cut off from the services they depend on for an extended period and as homeowners continue to bear an increasingly high property tax burden, our focus must be on ending the budget stalemate and enacting bipartisan reforms that will put Illinois back on a path toward job growth and opportunity,” Rep. Bellock said.  “We should not have had to spend one minute of our time debating whether to accept a pay raise while the families and taxpayers of Illinois are waiting for us to get our job done.”