Capitol Update 5-3-16

Late last month, General Assembly members from both parties worked together to pass emergency funding for higher education and the Governor has signed it into law.  It’s not a permanent solution, but it’s an important step forward.  We’re back in session today, and I am hopeful that we will continue to work to pass a bi-partisan plan to fund important state services.  May is the final month of the regularly scheduled session.

End of month sees payless payday for 118 members of Illinois House

House members from both parties are paid, by law, at the end of every calendar month.  Due to the State’s continued lack of a constitutional balanced budget, however, the Comptroller determined last month that these payments to elected state leaders should be treated the same as other bills the state owes and put into the “queue” to be paid only when money is available.  The last day of April last week became legislators’ first payless payday.  This move also impacts the pay of Comptroller Munger herself, and the other constitutional officers.

I hope this pay delay will help convince those who have been reluctant to compromise to return to the bargaining table so that we can resolve our budget crisis.  Comptroller Munger’s office is currently posting a backlog of official unpaid bills that exceeds $6.8 billion.

Health care fraud task force getting organized

The task force, created last month by executive order, will look into possible fraud, waste, and abuse in state-administered health care programs.  Illinois taxpayers pay $19 billion a year to administer and pass through payments on state-run health care programs.  Most of this money is paid directly by state taxpayers to Illinois.

The task force is charged to review the best practices currently used by the private sector to examine and control soaring health care costs.  Other states’ efforts to reduce Medicaid fraud and other forms of public sector health care abuse are also to be looked at.

The task force has been asked to write a report that will make recommendations for policy changes, and refer specific cases of wrongful reimbursements to authorities to seek recovery on behalf of Illinois taxpayers.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in the IACAA Families of Distinction celebration

Dalitso Sulamoyo, IACAA President, and his wife Sara host
 Rep. Jimenez at their annual Families of Distinction event
at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

I have been blessed to have been invited for several years to participate in the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies’ annual awards program here in Springfield.  On Sunday, I was pleased to once again be able to participate and help recognize 17 families from across the state that have, with help from state and community organizations, overcome tremendous obstacles and fought their way back to self-sufficiency.

Community Action Agencies currently serve more than 9.3 million people across the country, helping
 provide services from head start programs for the youngest members our community to in-home care for our seniors, and they do an amazing job.  But it was the 17 Families of Distinction that we recognized Sunday that are truly inspirational.  Thank you for allowing me to share in the celebration of your success.

Future leaders of all ages at Raising Ms. President

Claire Wright (center) with Reps. Jimenez and Avery Bourne.

The College Republicans, Democrats and I had a great turnout on the UIS campus last week for our viewing of Raising Ms. President, a documentary about encouraging girls and women to participate in leadership roles, including running for elected office.  I’m especially pleased to report that we had current and future female leaders of all ages attend, including our youngest viewer, 9-year old Claire Wright.  She’s definitely a future leader!