The Latest: Lawmakers approve minimum wage hike

The Latest: Lawmakers approve minimum wage hike

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on legislative action in Springfield as the General Assembly's session closes out (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

State lawmakers have approved a plan to increase Illinois' minimum wage to $15 over five years.

The Senate voted 30-23 Wednesday evening, a day after the House backed it.

The state's minimum wage is $8.25. The proposal would raise it incrementally until 2022. The plan also includes a tax credit for some small businesses.

Democratic Sen. Kimberly Lightford is a sponsor. She says it's the best chance to raise wages and improve living conditions for many Illinois residents.

But opponents worry about the impact on businesses. Republican Sen. Kyle McCarter of Lebanon calls raising the wage an "artificial way" of helping people.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message Wednesday. The Republican has said he'd support a minimum wage increase in conjunction with other regulatory changes.

The bill is SB81.

9:25 p.m.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan to revamp the state's 20-year-old school funding formula.

State senators endorsed the measure 35-22 late Wednesday after the House OK'd it. The proposal would direct new funds to districts based on student population needs and available local resources. No district would receive less money than they currently do under the plan.

Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill is sponsoring the proposal. He says it would end the inequity of Illinois' current model. The state has the nation's largest spending gap between poor and wealthy districts.

The proposal is based on a framework produced by a bipartisan commission convened by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year. But Republicans and Rauner's education secretary decry Manar's plan as a thinly veiled "bailout" for Chicago Public Schools.

Education advocates and school associations widely support the proposal.

The bill is SB1.

8:50 p.m.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a plan to initiate the sale of the 16-story James R. Thompson Center in Chicago over objections from Republicans.

The Democrat-majority Senate gave final approval Wednesday to advance the sale of building that houses about 2,200 state employees. The House approved the plan a day earlier.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has pushed to sell the building, saying it's not cost effective with roughly $326 million in deferred maintenance. But he opposes the Democrat-backed plan over questions about city zoning and a retail tenant lease.

Republicans have introduced their own plan for the sale.

Senate President John Cullerton dismissed the concerns ahead of the floor vote, saying Democrats are following through on Republicans' call to sell.

The bill is SB886.

8:35 p.m.

A Democratic candidate for governor says Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan must negotiate a budget deal face-to-face or "they both need to go."

Evanston Sen. Daniel Biss is among several hopefuls for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He spoke to reporters after the House finished its spring session without agreeing to an annual spending plan for the third straight year.

Biss says the battle is between the first-term governor and long-tenured speaker. The two must meet alone until they agree or be replaced.

Biss says it seems as if Rauner and Madigan are "not even trying."

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown says House work on the budget has been collaborative. He says many members have worked on reaching an agreement and Biss' suggestion makes no sense.

A Rauner spokeswoman did not immediately respond.

8:10 p.m.

The Illinois House has propelled forward a plan to overhaul the state's decades-old public school funding formula.

Lawmakers OK'd the proposal 60-52 Wednesday in the session's final hours. It now heads back to the Senate. The measure would direct more funds to the neediest districts to help them implement practices that bolster student success.

All districts would continue to receive what they got this year. Only new money would be funneled through the model.

Illinois has the nation's widest spending gap between low and high-income districts.

Homewood Democratic Rep. Will Davis is sponsoring the plan. He says implementing the formula will help close that gap.

Republicans took part in crafting the framework but peeled off over concerns that Chicago Public Schools receive more than they should under the amended proposal.

The bill is SB1 .

7:00 p.m.

The Illinois House has advanced a tax credit program aimed at trying to keep businesses in the state.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski (zuh-LESS'-kee) says his proposal will give small and medium-sized businesses a fair chance at competing with larger corporations. The Riverside Democrat says the plan would cut taxes and fees affecting smaller businesses, extend tax credits for employers that create jobs and crack down on businesses that send jobs overseas, among other things.

Lawmakers voted 63-50 Wednesday, the final day of the spring legislative session. It awaits consideration by the Senate.

Zalewski says the plan is an overhaul and extension of a corporate tax incentive program which has been criticized as expensive and too favorable to large businesses.

Republicans and business groups oppose the measure saying the plan also adds new taxes which hurt businesses.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's spokeswoman says the bill was under review.

The bill is HB160.

6:50 p.m.

The Illinois House has approved a plan to make consolidating local governments easier.

House lawmakers voted 75-34 for the proposal Wednesday. Democrats in that chamber have advertised the measure as one of the "structural" changes requested by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. It is aimed at easing the process of merging or dissolving townships or for cities to absorb townships occupying the same geographical area.

The measure would also allow county boards to create townships that are larger than the current limit of 126 square miles.

Numerous Republicans rose in support of the measure. But they also urged its Democratic sponsor Rep. Sam Yingling of Grayslake to bring forth an additional plan that would allow voters to initiate the process.

Plainfield Republican Rep. Mark Batinick characterized the plan as "giving a starving man a cracker."

The bill is SB3 .

5:25 p.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says lawmakers' inability to create a budget plan he'll accept for the third straight year is a "dereliction of duty."

Democratic Illinois House leaders announced Wednesday they would not take a vote on the budget the Senate sent because they don't trust the Republican governor's actions. Rauner continues to demand cost-cutting restrictions to workers' compensation and a property tax freeze for homeowners. Democrats approved versions of both which Rauner says aren't sufficient.

Illinois has been without an annual spending plan since Rauner took office in 2015.

The deadline for a budget for the upcoming fiscal year is 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Budget approval after that requires three-fifths majority votes in each chamber.

House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago says Democrats in his chamber will work with the GOP during June to approve a balanced budget.

4:15 p.m.

The Illinois House has signed off on a workers' compensation measure that Democrats say addresses reforms requested by Gov. Bruce Rauner as part of a budget deal.

The measure headed to the Republican governor's desk after the House approved it 64-51 on Wednesday. But Rauner has already indicated that it doesn't go far enough.

The proposal requires insurance companies to get state approval for the rates they charge.

House Speaker Michael Madigan issued a statement Wednesday saying the move shows Democrats are willing to take up elements of Rauner's agenda.

The Democrat says the House won't vote on a state budget on the last scheduled day of the spring legislative session. He says lawmakers will continue working with Republicans in June.

The bill is HB2525.

4:10 p.m.

Illinois House Democrats say they will not vote on a state budget on the last scheduled day of the spring legislative session.

Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters Wednesday that his party would continue working with Republicans during June to fashion a balanced budget. The fiscal year begins July 1. Budget approval after Wednesday takes a three-fifths supermajority vote.

In a statement, Madigan denounced Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's "reckless strategy of holding the budget hostage to create leverage for his corporate agenda." Rauner has insisted for two years that he would approve a balanced budget in return for business-friendly "structural" changes and a property tax freeze.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris is Madigan's budget negotiator. He says there is reluctance to act on a Senate-approved $37 billion proposal because Senate Republicans didn't provide any votes for passage.

3:10 p.m.

The Illinois Senate has agreed with House changes to a measure that protects immigrants from indiscriminate federal attention.

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton's "TRUST Act" now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner. It prevents federal authorities from stopping, questioning or detaining immigrants unless they have a valid federal warrant. It also would have prevented local police from cooperating with federal agents unless a federal criminal warrant was presented and barred federal authorities from entering "safe zones" such as schools or publicly funded clinics.

But the House altered the measure to allow local police to converse with federal agents. And it removed a deadline for local police to compile paperwork validating that an immigrant helped with a criminal investigation. Cullerton put that in a separate bill approved Tuesday.

The bills are SB31 and SB32 .

1:15 p.m.

The Illinois House is indicating that there won't be a budget agreement before the end of the day when lawmakers face a critical deadline.

The House adopted a resolution saying after they adjourn on Wednesday, members would meet in "continuous session."

Democratic House Speaker Madigan used the tactic two years ago when the budget impasse began to call members to the Capitol over the summer to continue negotiations.

The House and Senate have until 12:01 a.m. Thursday to adopt an annual spending plan or face the prospect of needing supermajority votes to approve one.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled Legislature remain at odds over new revenues and other pro-business reforms.

12:50 p.m.

Illinois senators have overwhelmingly approved a plan to make it harder for authorities to confiscate property from innocent owners.

The Senate endorsed the measure 56-0 Wednesday. It'll head to the House.

The plan would place the burden of proof on law enforcement when seizing a person's property in connection with a suspected crime. Current law allows authorities to confiscate property without even charging an owner for participating in illegal activity. The practice has been sharply criticized.

Oak Park Democratic Sen. Don Harmon is sponsoring the proposal. It would make authorities prove an owner consented to his or her property being used for illegal activity instead of requiring owners to show they weren't connected.

Harmon says it would also create an expedited process for such cases so that innocent owners can regain their property more quickly.

The bill is HB303 .

12:15 a.m.

The Illinois General Assembly returns for the final day of its spring session not much closer to a budget agreement than when it started in January.

The House and Senate have until 12:01 a.m. Thursday to adopt an annual spending plan or face the prospect of needing supermajority votes to activate one.

A House committee positioned late Tuesday a Senate-approved budget for a floor vote Wednesday. That $37 billion proposal relies on a tax increase of more than $5 billion.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has turned thumbs down on that plan because lawmakers have not given him the "structural" reforms he desires in return.

They include workers' compensation cost-restrictions and a local property tax freeze. The Senate OK'd versions of each but they don't meet Rauner's expectations.

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