Weaver provides clarity to help pass private school scholarship measure
Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) helped shepherd a bill through the Senate on Monday that would mandate the transfer of proceeds from the Illinois State Lottery Fund to Illinois’ Common School Fund for the purpose of awarding scholarships to private schools.
House Bill 213 amends the Illinois Lottery Law to require the entire net proceeds from the state lottery -- excluding costs for “various lottery scratch-off games" -- to be given to the fund. It also clarifies how lottery proceeds sent to the fund are to be regarded in fiscal year 2018 and beyond.
“Currently 24 percent of lottery ticket revenue is deposited into the Common School Fund," Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Chicago) upon presenting the bill. "In FY15, this represented $679 million of the total $2.85 billion in lottery sales. The State Board of Ed spent nearly $7.5 billion in general funds in FY17.”
Although he didn't sponsor the measure, Weaver assisted Lightford by proposing a floor amendment to the bill’s language.
“I want to thank Sen. Weaver for providing the floor amendment that did the clarifying, clean-up language," Lightford said. "Now with his support, the language reads that ‘beginning with Fiscal Year 2018 and every year thereafter, any moneys transferred from the State Lottery Fund to the Common School Fund shall be supplemental to, and not in lieu of, any other money due to be transferred to the Common School Fund by law or appropriation.'"
Weaver in turned thanked Lightford for her work on HB213.
“We wanted to clarify how this bill actually works with regard to the fact that all existing dollars that are in education continue to stay there," he said. "The existing lottery dollars stay there and going forward is not supplanting any future money.”
The bill passed the Senate unanimously and was sent back to the House to accept the floor amendment. The House passed the measure a day later.