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BudgetWatch: Some progress on FY 16 human services and higher education budgets

April 25, 2016

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by Dan Frey, Director of Government Relations

Good afternoon everyone, I wanted to update you all on some of the developments that occurred during the week of April 18, in Springfield. It was Third Reading deadline week, meaning all bills that originated in either house needed to be passed out by the end of the day Friday in order to be considered in the opposite house moving forward. That and the continuing budget crisis made for an exciting and hectic week. Let’s dive right in.

Substantive Bills

Two of our priority bills, HB 4554 (mandated Medicaid coverage of PrEP and its corresponding program) and HB 6213 (Medicaid Manage Care Organization quality reforms) passed unanimously out of the House on Friday. Both of those bills now move to the Senate.

Our bill that extends the Quality of Life Lottery fund, SB 2397, passed unanimously out of the Senate. It now moves to the House for a vote.

Other pieces of legislation that AFC has been working on include the Fair Tax Constitutional Amendment, HJRCA 59, and HB 6073, the Vital Records Modernization Act, did not come up for a vote. Both of those pieces of legislation received an extension and will likely be heard in May.

Budget Update

There was no movement this week legislatively on an FY 17 budget nor on a comprehensive solution to FY 16’s budget. There have been behind the scenes meetings this week of rank and file legislators to come to an agreement on a fix for the FY 16 human services and higher education budgets. An amendment was filed Thursday, April 21, that contained human services appropriations from both the General Revenue Fund (GRF) and the Commitment to Human Services Fund. Following a two-hour caucus, however, a different amendment was filed that removed the human services appropriations and only funded the higher education stop/gap appropriation (not from GRF, and at about a 70% cut from their FY 15 appropriation). After an overnight delay on the vote, it passed both the House and the Senate on Friday, April 22, and has been sent to the Governor, who is expected to sign it.

Human services funding was addressed in a bill, SB 2047, that unanimously passed the Senate as well on Friday, April 22. The House cannot hear that bill until they return to session next week. It contains no appropriations from GRF, and has decreased funding levels from their FY 15 appropriations, even from their proposed FY 16 and 17  levels. It is intended to be a stop/gap measure, however, that gets some revenue into the field, and not a solution to the budget crisis. The lines AFC is most concerned with are as follows:

  • HIV Lump Sum: $8,050,000
  • African American HIV/AIDS Response Act (AAARA): $490,000
  •  Supportive Housing: $3,850,000

These amounts are well below levels that will adequately fund these lines, but it is promising that at least some funds seem to be on their way to help the human services sector until a more comprehensive solution can be found. The AAARA, for instance, will actually receive some funding, which has not been the case for years.

Up Next

The House and Senate both reconvene after an off week on Tuesday, May 3. The House is holding an Appropriations – Human Services committee on Wednesday, April 27, to discuss the Department of Human Services budget at the Billandic Building in Chicago.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me at dfrey@aidschicago.org

About the blog

BudgetWatch is a weekly update from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's on-the-ground team in Springfield about the state's longstanding budget impasse. Follow along at aidschicago.org/budgetwatch.

Categorized under BudgetWatch.

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