2012 Illinois Spring Legislative Session Draws to a Close

The Illinois General Assembly has adjourned the 2012 Spring Legislative Session on May 31. Unless lawmakers are called back in for special session, they are not scheduled to return to Springfield until late November, after the fall election.

State lawmakers were faced with many issues this year, most notably closing a $2.7 billion Medicaid deficit, making major changes to a public employee retirement system that has $85-billion in unfunded liabilities, and passing a budget for the 2013 fiscal year that begins on July 1. When the gavel fell to adjourn session on May 31, the legislature dealt with Medicaid and agreed upon a state budget, but took a pass on pension reform. Legislative leaders did leave the door open to a special session this summer to deal with the underfunded system.

The Illinois Trucking Association has been actively working in Springfield and in Washington, DC this Spring to promote the best interests of the trucking industry. ITA testified multiple times on trucking legislation at the State Capitol and worked with lawmakers to promote the best interests of the industry. Members of the Illinois Trucking Association also journeyed to Washington, DC in April to call on our federal legislators.

Also if interest, Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is currently being used in states like Oklahoma, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania to produce oil and natural gas. The hydraulic fracturing wells produce 2,000 truckload movements per well as sand and water are trucked in while oil and natural gas are trucked out.

Following the success of fracking in other states, companies have begun to look to Illinois as another location for oil and gas exploration. Transport Topics even highlighted the potential of Illinois fracking in this week's issue.

But legislation surfaced in the final days of session that would implement new taxes on fracking. Then on Thursday morning, the final day of session, legislation was introduced to place a 2-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, House Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 3280, sponsored by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign). The legislation would essentially kill any opportunity for Illinois to benefit from an industry that is booming in other states.

The Illinois Trucking Association worked closely with a coalition of groups opposed to the efforts to tax or to altogether stop hydraulic fracturing. HA 3 to SB 3280 was debated in the House Environmental Health Committee on Thursday afternoon and it was voted out of committee by a vote of 11-6. However a procedural error may have nullified the committee vote and the legislation was not called for a vote in the full House.

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