IL Statehouse Briefs: House Back in Session…Bonds Sold to Pay Debt…Insurance Benefit Bill Approved

Illinois House back for action Thursday

(AP) — The Illinois Senate has wrapped up work for the week but the House will be back to work Thursday during the Legislature’s fall session.

The session — which continues Nov. 7-9 — is traditionally reserved for consideration of gubernatorial vetoes. The House took up and reversed several Wednesday.

But lawmakers can initiate new legislation. A committee approved on Tuesday a measure that would outlaw modifications that would make a gun fire faster. That includes “bump stocks” of the type used by the shooter who killed 58 Oct. 1 in Las Vegas before killing himself.

That measure is ready for a House floor vote. So is a resolution calling for a state audit of a $94 million contract for an electronic insurance platform critics say sidestepped normal procedures.

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Illinois sells $4.5 billion in bonds with low interest rate

(AP) — The state of Illinois has sold $4.5 billion in general obligation bonds to pay down a portion of Illinois’ roughly $15 billion backlog of unpaid bills.

Officials say the proceeds for Wednesday’s bond sale and those from the last week’s $1.5 billion general obligation bond sale will be used to help cut Illinois’ backlog approximately in half by June 2018.

Illinois capital markets director Kelly Hutchinson says the state locked in an interest rate of 3.5 percent on bond issues.

The rate is considered remarkable given Illinois experts expected the state’s poor credit to drive interest as high as 6.5 percent. It’s far lower than taxpayers have to fork over in late-payment fees.

According to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office, the state will return to the capital markets later this year with a $750 million general obligation bond issue for 2018 capital projects.

 House OKs unclaimed insurance-benefits bill

(AP) — The House has approved a measure aimed at making it easier to claim life insurance benefits when a policyholder dies.

The House voted 71-40 Wednesday to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto.

The proposal requires life insurance companies to compare electronic records of its policies in force since 2000 with the Social Security Administration’s list of deaths to determine whether a policy should be paid.

It’s an initiative of Democratic state Treasurer Michael Frerichs (FRAYR’-iks) and sponsored by Chicago Democratic Rep. Robert Martwick. Auditors hired by the treasurer found that life insurance companies held more than $550 million between 2011 and 2015 that should have been paid to a decedent’s family members.

The legislation moves to the Senate for override consideration.

The bill is HB302 .