May 20, 2024 - News

Five bills to watch as lawmakers wind down spring session

Illustration of the Illinois State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

It's the final week of the spring session in Springfield, and the race is on to get bills passed before Friday's deadline.

Why it matters: If lawmakers don't get their bills passed this week, they'll likely have to wait until fall's veto session, where it becomes much harder.

Yes, but: Friday's deadline is self-imposed. The law says new bills can be passed before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

Here are five bills/issues to watch this week:

The budget

Photo illustration of Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker with lines radiating from him.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The main job lawmakers have during the spring session is to pass the state budget.

Even with Democratic majorities in both chambers, Gov. JB Pritzker's budget may not get done by the self-imposed deadline.

Friction point: Raising taxes. Democrats seem hesitant, but it's a big part of the governor's budget.

  • Also, spending for migrant services.

The intrigue: The governor's office sent a memo to lawmakers last week with suggested cuts if they can't balance the budget.

Adjusting the BIPA privacy law

Illustration of an eye icon crossed out with a check mark.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

In 2008, Illinois passed one of the strictest privacy laws in the country. If tech companies want to store biometric data on Illinois customers, they need consent. If they don't get consent, residents — not just the state's attorney offices — can sue.

The result: Class-action lawsuits have netted massive settlements from social media companies like Facebook, Google and others.

Yes, but: After huge pushback from tech companies, the General Assembly passed legislation that would curb litigation and damages.

  • Pritzker hasn't signaled if he would sign it.

Schools/Education

Illustration of a classroom full of desks with half of them in black and white and half in color
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Teachers Union on two separate occasions traveled to Springfield to advocate for more money for schools.

  • It's unclear if their efforts will lead to any legislation this week.
  • They both want the state to pony up $1 billion, but that's not in the current proposed budget.

Yes, but: The House did pass a bill that would prevent CPS from cutting selective enrollment schools' budgets more than others' and put a moratorium on school closings through 2027, something that CTU and the mayor oppose.

Bears Stadium

Rendering of a stadium near a lake
Rendering: Courtesy of the Chicago Bears

The Bears and the governor's office don't seem to see eye to eye over funding plans for a new lakefront stadium.

Yes, but: The Bears have said they need funding sorted out during this session so they can break ground by the end of the year.

The intrigue: The Bears' funding proposal would pay off the state and city's existing debt from the 2003 Soldier Field renovation.

  • The proposal absorbs that debt and would even pay the city back for past payments.

What's next: If Springfield says no deal, the city is still on the hook for those Soldier Field payments, which, thanks to then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, are set to balloon.

  • That loan should be paid off by 2032.

Cyberbullying and AI

Illustration of a rubber stamp next to an inked rectangle with the letters AI inside
Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

A new bipartisan bill wants to amend the Illinois school code to include sexually explicit digital deepfakes as cyberbullying to help Illinois schools crack down on the issue.

  • Another bill wants to protect Illinois musicians from having their voices replicated by AI.
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