Senate moves on Grand Bargain

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND)- The Illinois Senate took a vote on nine bills out of the Grand Bargain package Wednesday evening. 

However, the package of bills that were once linked together, now stand alone. Democrats say the move to remove the binding language in the measures was to help move the process along. In the past months when the package was brought to the floor, Republicans said they could not vote for bills they supported due to the language that tied them together. However, on Wednesday, Republicans were still not ready to vote on many of the measures called for a vote on the floor. 

"There were still some outstanding issues that we do not have agreement on but are very close. We continue to be very close that does not change because I'm frustrated, we are all frustrated, that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle decided to call these bills. What their reasons were I'm not quite sure, but they know as well as we do that we are very close." said Senator Karen McConnaughay, R- Saint Charles. 

However, Democrats say they are simply running out of time to call these bills, with only two weeks left until the end of session, movement needs to be done now. 

"We were sent here to do a job. This bill is part of that process, part of the job. We need to take it as serious as the first day we started here when we said we were going to have government work for all of us. Let's make this deal, coupled with the other ones, all of our responsibilities, and let's get yes votes on all of them, and move them onto the next phase." said Senator Donnie Trotter, D-Chicago. 

In total, seven of the bills passed with two failing. The seven that passed included: local government consolidation, procurement reform, gaming expansion, pension reform, education reform, a supplemental budget for 2017 and a budget for 2018, and finally a bill allowing for borrowing $7 billion to pay off old bills. 

Of the bills that passed, Senator Andy Manar's education reform bill drew a heated debate, with Democrats saying the bill included all of Governor Rauner's commission on education

"All of the recommendations that you sat there and you gave input on are in this bill. Enough is Enough. You can say no on every darn thing else, but please educate the children of the state. Stop it. They are poor, it's poverty, they need help." said Senator Kimberly Lightford, D-Chicago.

A property tax freeze bill that would have created a two year property tax freeze failed to receive the 3/5 vote required by constitution and failed after only receiving 32 votes. 

After passing a $36.5 billion budget, the Senate voted against a bill that would allow them to implement it. After many said the bill had too many cuts.

The Senate did not take up a revenue bill, or the worker's compensation reform bill. Senate President John Cullerton says a vote could be seen as early as Thursday.

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