(The Center Square) – As the fall veto session begins this week in Springfield, Illinois lawmakers will be in the spotlight as they deal with numerous controversial issues.
Energy legislation, including the state’s nuclear construction moratorium, gun laws, and scholarship tax credits could be addressed during the session.
The Invest in Kids tax credit program is set to expire on New Year’s Eve unless lawmakers take action. The program has faced opposition from teacher’s unions, such as the Illinois Education Association and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Nathan Cunneen, school choice expert and spokesman for the American Federation for Children, said Gov. J.B. Pritzker has flip-flopped on his support for the program.
“I think that it is playing politics with people’s children and the future of these students and I think that is 100% wrong,” Cunneen told The Center Square. “There’s still some time left for the Illinois legislature to do the right thing and to sustain the program, but I’m not holding my breath, unfortunately.”
Lawmakers could also address an amendatory veto by Pritzker that would give electric utilities like Ameren the right of first refusal on transmission line construction. Opponents say the bill would create a monopoly and drive up electric bills.
Another energy-related matter involves a bill that would have lifted the 1987 ban on nuclear construction in Illinois. Last spring, a bill gained bipartisan support to allow the state to take advantage of carbon-free technologies and the construction of small modular reactors (SMRs).
Pritzker vetoed the bill, saying the wording would have allowed the construction of large-scale reactors. Bill sponsor Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, has filed a new version of the legislation that she said would address the governor’s concerns.
There are many calling for the General Assembly to fix Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which has led to hundreds of lawsuits.
“Under the current interpretation of the law, a company is liable for up to $5,000 every time an employee checks into and out of work with a finger-print scanner,” said Phil Melin, executive director of the group Illinois Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. “The Illinois legislature has the power to reinterpret the law to treat a violation as occurring only when the fingerprint is initially collected.”
Lawmakers may also take up a bill that mandates that guns be taken away from an alleged domestic abuser once a domestic violence order of protection has been filed in the case.
The fall veto session begins Tuesday, Oct. 24.