By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — The General Assembly passed 599 bills this legislative session, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed 370 of them and vetoed just three as of Monday afternoon.
He approved of more than 150 of those bills Friday as the clock ticks on the 226 remaining measures which passed both houses of the Legislature but have not yet been acted upon by the governor.
Per the state Constitution, the General Assembly must send any bill that clears both houses to the governor within 30 days of its official passage in the second house. Once it is sent to the governor, he has 60 days to sign it, or veto it partially or completely.
Bills not acted upon by the governor become law at the end of the 60 days, per the Constitution.
All pieces of legislation to pass both houses have officially been sent to the governor, as the latest date to do so for the final bills passed would have been 30 days after the General Assembly’s June 2 adjournment. This means the governor has a little more than two weeks left to act on the remaining bills.
In November, the General Assembly is scheduled to return for a “veto session” in which lawmakers decide if they want to overturn, with a three-fifths majority vote in each house, the governor’s veto of any legislation.
Of the three bills Pritzker has vetoed, two of them contained language that was “substantially similar” to others he signed, meaning their passage would have been duplicative and unnecessary. House Bill 3590 pertained to the state income tax of some gambling winnings, which was language included in Senate Bill 690. The other, House Bill 423, temporarily eliminated the basic skills test for teachers, which was permanently eliminated in another measure.
The other measure vetoed by Pritzker passed 57-0 in the Senate and 75-41 in the House. It could be a candidate for an override in the November session. Senate Bill 2026 did not “afford the state enough flexibility” to run certain Medicaid-funded programs, according to Pritzker’s veto message.
It would have prevented Illinois from applying for federal waivers that could reduce or eliminate coverage required under the Affordable Care Act.
Aside from those three vetoes, the governor continues to forge ahead on signatures.
The Friday signings included House Bill 246, which requires public schools to include the contributions of LGBTQ individuals in their history curricula. It also requires textbooks purchased with certain state grant funds to include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
The law adds LGBTQ individuals to other group histories required to be covered in schools, including African-Americans and other ethnic groups, women’s history, the history of the labor movement and disability history.
That measure passed the Senate 37-17 and the House 60-42, which is the minimum majority necessary for passage.
Senate Bill 1952, signed Wednesday, Aug. 7, is aimed at recruiting and retaining qualified teachers in Illinois.
It removes the requirement that teachers must pass a basic skills test to be licensed; permits K-12 student teachers and early childhood student teachers to be paid; and creates a refund program for teachers in underfunded, hard-to-staff school districts to recoup the cost of the teacher performance assessment.
House Bill 900 prevents the Department of Corrections from suing formerly incarcerated people for costs associated with their incarceration.
House Bill 2265 provides that, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, every public elementary school shall include at least one semester of civics education in its sixth-, seventh-, or eighth-grade curriculum.
House Bill 2643 allows a senior citizen to cancel home repair or remodeling contracts entered into with unsolicited visitors within 15 days.
House Bill 2665 allows minors 12 and older to receive health care services related to prevention of sexually transmitted diseases — including a drug called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, which is used to prevent transmission of HIV — without parental consent.
House Bill 3435 requires certain private insurance policies to cover medically-necessary epinephrine injectors, commonly known by their brand name EpiPen, for persons under 18 years of age.
Senate Bill 24 prohibits rail carriers from operating in Illinois unless they have at least two crew members on duty.
Senate Bill 86 added video streaming as a prohibited use of an electronic communication device while driving.
Senate Bill 1473 allows the secretary of state to remove a driver’s license suspension pursuant to the nonpayment of child support if the individual has arranged for the child support payment.
Senate Bill 1601 requires all schools in Illinois, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, to teach the history of the state along with already-required U.S. history.