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.