SPRINGFIELD — With the State of Illinois facing a $1.6 billion hole in its current budget that needs to be filled, state legislators seem to be addressing a multitude of issues that have nothing to do with the budget crisis.
Already the state can’t pay for subsidized day care that enables low-income parents to have their children cared for while they work or go to school. By the end of this month, the state won’t be able to pay guards at some prisons or court reporters.
Senate Democrats put out a bill last week allowing Rauner to take $580 million from special funds to shore up the budget.
However, the bill didn’t authorize Rauner to spend the money on anything. It will take a separate bill to do that, and there wasn’t one in sight last week.
There are, however, bills proposing healthier snacks be offered in rest area vending machines, naming a barbecue capitol of Illinois and naming an official state pie have been filed in Springfield.
Rep. Terri Bryant has filed a resolution calling for Murphysboro to be named Illinois’ barbecue capitol. While Rep. Keith Sommer has filed a bill calling for pumpkin to be designated the state pie.
And now Rep. Donald Moffitt has filed a joint resolution urging the Illinois Department of Transportation to offer at least two healthy snacks containing less than 220 calories for every 10 snacks in vending machines that contain non-perishable pre-packaged food in State rest stops and welcome centers, of which a minimum of one should be made in Illinois if feasible.
While the chief sponsors of those three measures are Republicans, the apparent budget avoidance isn’t a partisan issue, as Democrats have signed on in support of at least two.