Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law legislation proposed by the Will County Treasurer’s Office earlier this year. HB-2101, now Public Act 97-0129, gives counties greater latitude on how they invest money. Specifically, it allows counties to purchase CDs and deposit funds with Illinois credit unions. Until now, such investments were not allowed under state law.

The legislation was a joint effort between the Will County Treasurer, Illinois Treasurer’s Association and the Illinois Credit Union League. State Representative Emily McAsey (D-Romeoville) introduced the bill in the Illinois House. Senator A. J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) sponsored the bill in the Illinois Senate.

“As counties search for safe and secure ways to invest public funds, this bill gives county treasurers more arrows in their quiver,” said Will County Treasurer Steve Weber, “The bill also lets us promote local direct investment in our county as credit unions have an historic mission to server their communities with personal loans and business lending.”

“We also worked with the Lake County Treasurer’s office to clean up investment authority for counties,” Weber added, “This new law brings us in line with authority already given to municipal treasurers.”

Background on HB-2101

At any given time, the Will County Treasurer’s office has cash deposits of approximately $250 million. Like other Illinois counties, Will County deposits funds at financial institutions authorized by state law.

When re-writing the county investment policy earlier this year, Weber and his staff discovered that counties could not deposit funds with credit unions, only banks or savings and loans. This restriction is in conflict with other areas of state law, specifically the Public Funds Investment Act.

Mr. Weber brought this conflict to the attention of the Illinois Credit Union League and Illinois Treasurer’s Association, who wrote the framework for HB-2101 introduced by Representative McAsey on February 24, 2010.