House Republican Week in Review

Week in Review: Sheehan, state finances, human trafficking legislation & more

Third Reading deadline for House bills. 

At the end of last week, the Illinois House of Representatives came to its “Third Reading deadline,” which represents the final date that a House bill can be debated on the House floor and passed over to the Senate. Failure of a bill to advance by the Third Reading deadline does not, however, necessarily mean that an issue is dead. Many bills have come over from the Senate to the House, and some of these bills represent issues and language similar to bills held up in the House. Other pieces of House bill language could be drafted as amendments to Senate bills.

As of Friday’s Third Reading deadline, a total of 324 House bills had been passed. Of that total, 291 were Democrat-sponsored bills and 33 were Republican-sponsored bills (10.2%). The supermajority Democrats continued to put a brick on good Republican bills, such as Leader McCombie’s HB 4855, which would require the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to accept electronic (credit card) payments from licensed professionals throughout the state. This bipartisan legislation is a response to repeated licensure delays and the failure of IDFPR to meet deadlines to procure and implement a new licensing system.

Instead of giving consideration to Republican bills that address important concerns, Democrats wasted time on frivolous legislation such as HB 4446, a kangaroo ban, and HB 5433, a “lawns to legumes” grant program. House Minority Leader Tony McCombie debated a bill in the Illinois House that would ban kangaroos and exotic cats. McCombie brought to light the lack of seriousness in this initiative, considering the serious challenges facing the State of Illinois and its taxpayers.

Some of the most important issues to be dealt with by the General Assembly this year have not yet come up for debate at all; they are expected to move in large omnibus bills that will pop out at the end of session in May. Adjournment has been set for Friday, May 24.


CGFA publishes its three-year budget forecast.  As part of its overall duties, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the budget-forecasting arm of the Illinois General Assembly, has been asked to generate a three-year budget forecast for Illinois. With the assistance of private partners with expertise in economic trend analysis, CGFA recently published its three-year budget forecast to cover fiscal years 2025, 2026, and 2027 (FY25-FY27).

The CGFA three-year budget forecast and scenarios largely extrapolate, going forward, various economic activity and revenue trends already familiar to Illinois lawmakers. Broken down into individual line items, the CGFA forecasters see several revenue lines operating with much more health and strength than others. From the completed FY23 until FY27, Illinois personal income tax revenues are seen as likely to increase by more than $4.2 billion, from $27.9 billion in FY23 to a projected $32.1 billion in FY27. This reflects continued pay increases for Illinois workers, minimal growth in Illinois employment, and some additional positive change reflecting the continued transfer of business income from “corporate income” to pass-through personal income. 

CGFA shared three budget projection scenarios for the FY25-FY27 three-year period. Unfortunately, all of these scenarios show significant and growing State deficit spending, beginning in FY25, using the Governor’s proposed spending levels and programs. Arguably, the most realistic scenario offered by CGFA is Scenario #3. This Scenario #3 bases spending at the now-established 20-year average State spending growth rate of 4%. This projection sees the State’s general funds deficit growing to $6.581 billion in FY27. Below is a summary of the scenarios CGFA provided:

Scenario 1: Keep Accounts Payable at FY 2023 Level (in millions) – .2% Growth

  • FY25 Deficit – ($455)
  • FY26 Deficit – ($1,600)
  • FY27 Deficit – ($484)

Scenario 2: Maintain Accounts Payable at $3 Billion (in millions), 30 Day Payment Cycle -1.8% Growth

  • FY25 Deficit – ($455)
  • FY26 Deficit – ($1,893)
  • FY27 Deficit – ($3,000)

Scenario 3: Payment Cycle Continues to Grow – 20-Year Average Growth in Spending (in millions) – 4.0% Growth

  • FY25 Deficit – ($455)
  • FY26 Deficit – ($3,064)
  • FY27 Deficit – ($6,581)

CGFA closes their projections with a cautionary statement, warning that “looking into FY2025 and beyond, economic and tax revenue forecasts remain murky as the economy is expected to continue to slow. The State needs to continue to show fiscal discipline and demonstrate that the results of the past few years are not an anomaly.”


Rep. La Ha’s First Bill Passes the House, Expanding Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking. State Representative Nicole La Ha’s first bill successfully passed the Illinois House of Representative last week. House Bill 5467 removes the statute of limitations for victims of human trafficking who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.

“Today, we take a significant step forward in our ongoing fight against human trafficking,” said Rep. Nicole La Ha. “Through the passage of HB 5467, we’re affirming a fundamental principle: justice should not have an expiration date. What we achieved today sends a message of support and empowerment to survivors of human trafficking. HB 5467 is a way to show them that their voices matter and that they have the right to seek justice whenever they are ready. I want every survivor of human trafficking to know that justice is always within reach.”

Under the previous law, victims of these heinous crimes faced a restrictive time frame within which prosecutions could be commenced. However, with the passage of HB 5467, this limitation is abolished for victims who were under 18 years of age at the time of the offense.

In addition to Rep. La Ha’s advocacy, HB 5467 garnered widespread support from lawmakers, advocacy groups, and community organizations dedicated to combating human trafficking. Their collective efforts have paved the way for a more just and equitable future for all Illinoisans. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.

“With this issue, we’re not only changing laws but changing lives. I will continue to advocate for legislation that safeguards the rights and dignity of every individual as we strive for a society free from exploitation and injustice,” Rep. La Ha said.

Keicher Bill Supporting Underage Trafficking Victims Unanimously Passes the House. Legislation carried by State Representative Jeff Keicher to help child victims of human trafficking heal and move on with their lives following their trauma passed unanimously through the Illinois House of Representatives last week.

When the legislation, House Bill 5465, passed through committee recently, Keicher said, “Victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, especially children, represent our most vulnerable, and we need to do everything we can to help them through their recovery process. That’s why I’m proud to be carrying House Bill 5465. The legislation builds on a law we passed last year by creating an easier process for child victims of trafficking to have their juvenile records expunged or sealed as a result of any criminal acts they were forced to take part in while being abused.”

Improving support for victims of abuse has been something personal for Keicher since joining the General Assembly, as a family member who was abused as a child tragically died due to a lack of resources to help victims recover.

“One of the first steps in helping someone heal after immense trauma like sexual abuse is ensuring their past doesn’t follow them around, and I believe HB 5465 is an important component of helping victims heal,” said Keicher. “I’m thankful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House agreed, and I hope to see the bill receive the same unanimous support when our colleagues in the State Senate take it up.”

Keicher has also consistently stressed how important it is to raise awareness about this issue by requesting that members of the media and public utilize the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888, to report any suspected trafficking taking place in our communities. 

Rep. Elik’s Bill Protecting Student Victims from Abuse Passes House. House Bill 4241, sponsored by State Representative Amy Elik, passed the House unanimously last week. This bill amends the Sex Offenses Article of the Criminal Code and ensures that school employees who commit acts of sexual conduct or sexual penetration with a student, regardless of the student’s age, are held responsible.

The legislation protects students who are between 18 and 23 years of age against acts of sexual conduct or sexual abuse by an educator or school staff member. Abuse by an educator or authority figure involving sexual conduct is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense or if there is more than one victim. For acts of sexual penetration, Class 3 and 4 felony charges are applicable. In addition, consent of the victim is not a defense to abuse committed by an educator or authority figure.

“The General Assembly has made great strides in recent years to protect students from sexual abuse in schools,” stated Rep. Elik. “However, we have unfinished work related to the protection of students ages 18 and over. Whether it’s an 18-year-old senior in high school, or a student with disabilities who stays in high school a little bit longer, we have a duty to make sure these students are not the victims of sexual exploitation.”

“This bill is very narrowly tailored, and we worked diligently in committee on the language through two amendments,” Rep. Elik added. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who worked with me to get this important legislation passed.”

HB 4241 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.


Insurance Reform Measure Passes House; House Republicans Ensure No Enhancements for Undocumented Immigrants. During last week’s legislative session, the House passed the Healthcare Protection Act (HPA), a complex bill to reform insurance. The measure removes prior authorization for crisis mental healthcare and bans step therapy, which is when an insurance company requires a patient to try and fail alternative medications before covering medications recommended by their doctor. House Republicans were integral in negotiating the measure, and the resulting roll call was bipartisan. 

Deputy Leader Ryan Spain took the lead questioning the bill, HB 5395, and confirming in his line of questioning that it would not include any enhancements for undocumented immigrants. The bill will now move to the Senate, where it will proceed through the Insurance Committee for further review.


Illinois’ unemployment rate was unchanged in March. The March unemployment rate was 4.8%, which was unchanged from the revised rate posted in February 2024. The Prairie State created an estimated 12,700 new jobs in March; however, Illinois continued to have higher joblessness than the nation as a whole. In March, the national U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8%, 100 basis points lower than Illinois.

Illinois net job growth for March 2024 continued to be concentrated in public-sector-related and leisure-oriented services. Positive job-creation numbers by sector included 3,300 net new jobs in government, 2,900 net new jobs in leisure and hospitality, and 2,200 net new jobs in private education and health services. By contrast, the key sectors of construction and manufacturing created only 800 net new jobs each.


Rep. Brandun Schweitzer’s first bill protects the health care benefits of retired teachers. Under current law, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) can “switch out” various components of the health benefits provided to persons enrolled in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). This meant that some Illinois retired teachers had made significant choices, including the type of retirement health care they should choose and where they could live to keep access to their health care providers, and then key items of their retirement health care benefits changed after these decisions had been made.

Representative Schweizer’s HB 4972 was filed to prevent a problem between State insurance and Carle Clinic in the sponsor’s district. System members went to the hospital and were unaware that they were no longer covered in network. The bill provides that at least 60 days prior to the effective date of any changes to the coverage or benefit recipient cost share for TRS benefit recipients, the Department of Central Management Services shall post those changes on its website. The representative believes the transparency afforded by this bill is necessary for members.

“This bill helps to minimize future worry when changes are made to TRS recipients’ benefits,” said Rep. Schweizer. “I thank my colleagues for seeing the need for this bill and allowing it to advance in the House.” 

The bill passed unanimously on a vote of 106-0 and will now head to the Senate for their consideration.