Gov. Bruce Rauner announced a series of veto and bill signings last Friday. Here’s a rundown of each action taken.

Vetoes

Widely supported in the House, HB2977 would have required elementary schools to include cursive handwriting instruction in curriculum. In his veto message, Gov. Bruce Rauner called the bill an unfunded mandate and wrote that, “If the General Assembly believes that cursive writing instruction should be required in elementary schools because it will improve student outcomes, it should be included in the Illinois State Learning Standards and funded accordingly.”

HB3449, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act, received attention from several groups when Rauner announced his Friday veto of the bill. The measure started as a consumer-data protection effort, but lost most of its teeth after five floor amendments. Rauner’s message called on stronger FTC enforcement of current federal laws and said the “bill would result in job loss across the state without materially improving privacy protections for Illinoisans.”

Repeating his admonition against unfunded mandates, Rauner also vetoed HB3745 which would require schools to give designated space to ads for free after-school events of student interest.

The Department of Health and Family Services will undergo one less audit with the veto of SB321. The agency is already on schedule for its normal audit, which Rauner advised could be used to further audit the department’s Medicaid Managed Care routines, as requested by the bill. In his message, Rauner added that “requiring a separate audit is expensive, time consuming, and unnecessary.”

SB419 would have allowed downstate firefighters to buy into a pension system’s Tier 1 benefits, and provided for a retroactive cost-of-living adjustment payment as well as retroactive service credits. Rauner’s veto cites the mounting pension problems in downstate systems and adds: “These service credits are instituted without a full and accurate accounting of their cost.”

New Laws

Health

The Home Medical Equipment Service Act will no longer sunset in 2018. Per HB3450, the law has been extended to 2028. A regulation for audiology and speech pathologists, which would have sunset this year, has now been modified and revived under SB771. New requirements are established for specialists who received their credentials outside of the U.S.

Safety-Net Hospitals are now exempt from certain insurance requirements when they do business with the state under SB1833

The Department of Labor will create a new system to manage employee misclassifications under SB1978. The system aims to provide public verification of home health employees’ licensure, but will also track investigations into licensed professions across several industries, specifically home health and nursing.

Children’s community-based health care centers must now provide a home-like environment and are limited to no more than 16 children in care at a time, per HB763.

Those who seek state assistance because they are too poor to bury their loved ones, will now be offered the option of instead donating the decedent’s body to the state so it can be used for medical research, per HB3488.

Courts

Under HB622, when a party files an appeal against a decision by the Labor Relations Board, their appeal no longer triggers an automatic stay of the board’s enforcement. Meanwhile, HB690 raises the standard of conduct for employment agencies handling temporary and day laborers, including wage requirements and regularly reporting their statistics to the Department of Labor.

Caseworkers with the Department of Children and Family Services are tasked with more responsibilities under HB2589, which requires caseworkers to attend additional hearings for youths in state custody. The mandate provides no source of funding for additional hires.

The Law Enforcement Sexual Assault Investigation Act, HB270, now requires certain investigators to undergo specific sexual assault training and provides that investigators may not be employed by the same law enforcement agency which employs the subject of their investigation.

A new sliding scale of alimony and maintenance rates have been created under HB2537, which also loosens regulations on a divorcée returning to her maiden name.

The Women’s Division of the Department of Corrections was codified under HB3904, sponsored by Rep. Juliana Stratton (D-Chicago). In his signing statement, Rauner advises that his signature comes with the legislature’s assurance that a trailer bill will follow, removing Senate confirmation requirement for the director of the division. “As the Director is confirmed with the advice and consent of Senate, he or she has been entrusted with leading the Department and should therefore be able to choose a candidate he or she deems fit to oversee the Women’s Division of the Department.”

Environment

Bobcat hunting allowances are increased from last year under HB3399, although limits remain in place in northern regions where bobcat populations have not yet fully recovered to their former levels.

A portion of Delavan Township Park District in Tazwell County is now, under HB2572, allowed to be transferred to the Department of Military Affairs via the Adjutant General.  

Education

SB1290 raises the debt limit for three school districts in the city of LaSalle, and provides a mechanism for an intergovernmental agreement which would allow partial revenues from a tax increment financing district to be used toward the service of the school district’s debt.

Instead of five, schools now have 10 business days to provide parents’ with a copy of their child’s school records, under SB1483. A community college district can now incorporate the district’s number into the name of its board of trustees if it so chooses, per SB1671.

Labor

Changes to federal transportation expenses are enacted under HB2953. Any purchases or projects requiring $40,000 or more of Federal Transportation Authority spending are now subject to public notice and bidding laws.

10 professional licensing and regulatory acts are repealed under SB1821, which enacts a 2020 sunset date. The law also provides some new exceptions for real estate regulations concerning timeshare properties.

People receiving revenue and proceeds from oil or gas products may now have to report more of their income under HB1542. Exceptions exist for trust estates and for those products emerging from coal fields.