Legislative Update from St. Rep. Mike Tryon

An email from Mike Tryon about the next-to-the-last week in Springfield:

Key legislation was debated and voted on last week in the General Assembly. Here is an update of some of the more noteworthy items:

Bill to Curb use of Special Prosecutors Heads to Governor

After receiving unanimous support in the Illinois House in March, legislation that would put strict guidelines in place for judges who wish to appoint special prosecutors to investigate elected officials gained unanimous Senate support last week.

I was a sponsor of this bill.

House Bill 4797 was filed in response to the excessive bills associated with an investigation of McHenry County States Attorney Lou Bianchi, who was eventually acquitted on all charges.

To date, the taxpayers of McHenry County have had to pay more than $525,000 in special prosecutor costs.

According to the bill, before a judge can appoint a special prosecutor, he/she must first exhaust all efforts to find a state’s attorney from

  • another county or
  • the Illinois Attorney General to do the work.

If it is determined that a special prosecutor must be hired, the bill includes language that gives county boards a voice in discussions regarding costs and the right to see itemized bills.

House Approves Massive Medicaid Reforms

Historic Medicaid reforms – a key component to fixing the State’s budget crisis, were also approved last week.

While difficult, I supported the reforms.

Without meaningful Medicaid reforms, Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills would grow to approximately $21 billion by 2017, a level of spending that is simply unsustainable.

The General Assembly’s action to cut nearly $1.6 billion from the State’s $11 billion Medicaid program will go far in helping get Illinois back on solid fiscal ground.

All Kids, the Democrats version of Govenror Jim Edgar's Kids Care which allowed coverage of illegal aliens.

With passage of Senate Bill 2840, an estimated 300,000 individuals are expected to be removed from Illinois’ Medicaid rolls because they

  • do not meet income eligibility guidelines,
  • are not Illinois residents,
  • have died, or
  • have aged-out of the All Kids program.

This eligibility verification alone will save taxpayers $350 million.

The bill also provides for a moderate rate reduction for hospitals of 3.5% and exempts Critical Access and Safety Net Hospitals from the reduction.

In addition, Senate Bill 2840 will do the following:

  1. Roll back the Blagojevich expansion of Family Care by reducing the eligibility limit for parents to $30,000 for a family of four
  2. Impose a $10 co-pay for emergency room visits
  3. Require a $3.60 co-pay on all services and a $2 co-pay for generic medications
  4. Limit prescription coverage to four prescriptions per month without doctor certification of need or specialty drug/condition exception
  5. Eliminate funding for adult chiropractic services

Shortly after the House approval of SB 2840, the Senate also approved the bill. It awaits final action by the Governor.  [For who voted how, see here.  Democrat Jack Franks did not support the bill.]

Cigarette Tax Approved

A $1 a pack of cigarettes tax hike was passed by the Illinois House Friday.

Last week the House also voted to increase the cigarette tax in Illinois. Under current law, the State charges a tax on cigarettes that is equivalent to 98 cents per pack of 20.

Senate Bill 2194 would raise the cigarette tax to $1.98 per pack.

The additional revenue raised by this tax, an estimated $350 million per year, would garner a federal match, bringing in a total of $700 million for the State’s financially stretched Medicaid program.

SB 2194 also contains language intended to create a financial incentive for Illinois hospitals and hospital-affiliated health care facilities to provide charity health care to low-income and underserved Illinois residents.

SB 2194 was approved by the House by a vote of 60-52-0 and awaits action in the Senate.

I voted against this bill because I can not and will not support any additional taxes on the people of Illinois.

The key to getting Illinois’ finances in order involves making difficult decisions; not simply creating more revenue sources.

A video poker machine in Crystal Lake.

Gambling Expansion Approved

With many providers waiting months to be paid by the State, and painful cuts being imposed on Medicaid, many other State programs, and on the State’s own workforce, the House passed legislation this week for a new round of licenses to conduct gambling within a variety of Illinois venues.

Senate Bill 1849, as amended, would direct the State to award five additional licenses to operate riverboat casinos at specified locations throughout Illinois.

The bill would also authorize a Chicago casino and the operation of slot machines at Illinois racetracks.

SB 1849 would raise estimated gaming tax revenue of $200 million a year, with additional one-time revenues through the awarding of the additional gaming licenses.

The bill would also provide funding for many agricultural programs and the State Fairgrounds.

The House passed SB 1849 on Wednesday by a vote of 69-47-2; the bill is currently awaiting a concurrence vote in the Senate.

Governor Pat Quinn has indicated that he does not support the proposal.

I voted against the bill, and while I am not opposed to a MODEST expansion of gambling, I feel strongly that revenues from any expansion need to be earmarked, at least in part, toward a pension stabilization fund.

General Assembly Works Through the Weekend

The General Assembly worked through the weekend and is also in session today. As your Representative, I am committed to staying in Springfield as long as it takes to make the required decisions that will lead us to a balanced budget for fiscal year 2013. I will continue to update you as other important pieces of legislation move through the process.

Remember our Military Today on Memorial Day

Lastly, as you gather with friends and family to celebrate this Memorial Day, please keep in your heart the brave men and women who have served in uniform and given their lives in service to our country. All of these heroes are deserving of our utmost respect today, and every day.


Michael W. Tryon
State Representative, District 64


Legislative Update from St. Rep. Mike Tryon — 3 Comments

  1. “This eligibility verification alone will save taxpayers $350 million.” So does this mean the Medicaid program had no checks and balances built into it? I hate to be negative but I bet that’s the case.


    I see the last time taxes were raised on cigarettes it solved the budget problem so that must be the reason they have raised them again. Ok, you caught me, that last sentence was a lie.


    “SB 1849 would raise estimated gaming tax revenue of $200 million a year, with additional one-time revenues through the awarding of the additional gaming licenses. The bill would also provide funding for many agricultural programs and the State Fairgrounds.” So bring in $200 million a year and in the same bill make sure there is a way to spend it. Guess it’s another wash.


    “I am committed to staying in Springfield as long as it takes to make the required decisions”. Better plan on a long stay so order up some bedding.


    I hope everyone that was capable and able attended a parade or gathering to remember the men and women of this nation for the sacrifices they have made and also to jump up out of your lawn chair, holler, clap and salute our military as they paraded past. Many gave up they’re tomorrows so we could have our today.

  2. I was shocked when I heard that Medicaid in Illinois pays for more than 50% of babies delivered in this state.

    That just breeds people living on the system.

    Fix the root cause of the problem and the system will be fine.

    My wife and I waited a while until we could afford a child, but I guess the Illinois way is to not get married and just have the state pay for everything!?!

  3. All I asked him to do was to get fluoride out of the water in McHenry County. It would have saved us a bundle not to have to pay for the toxin they are purposefully poisoning us with. He couldn’t be bothered. Guy is less than worthless. he is dangerous!

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