Alliance Legislative Report 101-16

By Alison Maley posted 9 days ago

  
ALLIANCE LEGISLATIVE REPORT (101-16) - SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION LEGISLATION TO BE HEARD

With the end of session on the horizon, many important pieces of legislation are being discussed in Springfield. One of the bills that could impact schools and their communities the most, HB 3053 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, May 15. HB 3053 addresses forced school district consolidation. Specifically, the bill requires identification, before May 1, 2020, of no less than 25 percent of school districts in Illinois that will be required to hold a referendum to consolidate in the next general election. 

An appointed board will place referendum questions on the ballot to decide school boundaries and local tax levies. 

To voice your opposition to this measure, please file a witness slip here in opposition to HB 3053 scheduled to be discussed in the Senate State Government Accountability and Pensions Committee. 

Below are the names and contact numbers for the committee members. Please contact their office and encourage them to vote NO on HB 3053 in committee on Wednesday, May 15.

  • Senator Omar Aquino, Chairperson 217-782-5652
  • Senator Iris Martinez, Vice-Chairperson 217-782-8191
  • Senator Donald DeWitte, Republican Spokesperson, 217-782-1977
  • Senator Melinda Bush, 217-782-7353
  • Senator John Curran, 217-782-9407
  • Senator Laura Ellman, 217-782-8192
  • Senator Dale Fowler, 217-782-5509
  • Senator Ann Gillespie, 217-782-4471
  • Senator Steven Landek, 217-782-0054
  • Senator Sue Rezin, 217-782-3840
  • Senator Heather Steans, 217-782-8492
 
REVENUE PROPOSALS START TO TAKE SHAPE

When Governor JB Pritzker delivered his Budget Address in February, he laid out a number of proposals to generate revenue that would cover his spending requests. With only three weeks left before the scheduled session adjournment date, lawmakers are now turning their attention to the budget and legislation is starting to take shape.

Last week, the Senate approved SJRCA 1 which contains the proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax. A corresponding bill package was also approved last week in the Senate to implement the revenue streams. This week, sponsors announced that the finishing touches were put on the recreational marijuana legislation and an amendment was filed on SB 7. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) also announced this week that he will be introducing an amendment to add an additional a $1 per pack tax on cigarettes. Each of these proposals are key provisions of the Governor’s budget plans.

Sponsors and supporters of a new capital projects bill held a press conference earlier this week to announce that their legislation is taking shape. No details are available, but there reportedly will be a school construction component. Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) stated his plan to propose an increase in the State gasoline tax and increases in car license and registration fees to bring in an estimated $2.4 billion for capital construction in the State. Across the rotunda, the House Revenue Committee Thursday approved a bill to raise $2.44 billion in revenues for capital construction projects. HB 391 (Madigan, D-Chicago) would increase the taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel, and electric vehicles, as well as increase fees for car and truck registrations and titles, and drivers’ license fees.

The Governor also announced that, due to an unexpected increase in tax receipts in April, he will not be pursuing a plan to delay paying a portion of the State’s pension liability payments. This concept had been met with some trepidation from legislators from both political parties. House Speaker Michael Madigan had instructed his appropriations committee chairmen to explore spending cuts in State agency budgets because of the concern of not having sufficient revenues to cover the proposed spending plan.

There is a long way to go in the budget discussions, but this issue is now front and center in the Capitol.


SCHEDULE

Today (Friday) is the deadline for bills to be considered in a committee. Leadership, however, does have the option to “extend the deadline” of certain bills to keep them alive legislatively. Both the Senate and House of Representatives cancelled its scheduled session days for today and Monday.


OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK

The following bills were approved by Senate committees and will be considered on the Senate floor:

HB 247 (Carroll, D-Northbrook) requires school districts contracting with a third party for drivers education to ensure that the private instructor has a teaching license and that the district administrator evaluate and observe the instructor.

HB 921 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) provides that if an educational support personnel (ESP) employee is dismissed as a result of a Reduction In Force (RIF) and the employee accepts re-employment with the same district, the employee maintains any rights accrued during the previous service with the school district.

HB 1561 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) requires all school boards to develop threat assessment protocols and to create threat assessment teams. Additionally, it allows counties to impose a tax to be used exclusively for school facility purposes, school resources officers, or mental health professionals. 

HB 2087 (Carroll) creates a distance learning option for drivers’ education, disallows a student from taking the entire driver education course through a distance learning program, and requires district administration approval of a program on a case-by-case basis including the student’s driver education teacher and parent.

HB 2265 (Lilly, D-Oak Park) requires every public elementary school to include in its 6th, 7th, or 8th grade curriculum at least one semester of civics education.

HB 2982 (Swanson, R-Woodhull) provides that if a criminal history records check or check of other offender databases is performed by a regional superintendent for an applicant seeking employment as a substitute teacher with a school district, the regional superintendent may disclose to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) whether the applicant has been issued a certificate based on those checks.

HB 3086 (Lilly) requires school boards to either connect at-risk students with anger management classes offered in the community or conduct their own anger management classes for at-risk students.

HB 3550 (Williams, D-Chicago) requires a sex education course provided in grades 6-12 to include an age-appropriate discussion on the meaning of consent to sexual activity.

HB 3687 (Harper, D-Chicago) provides that upon commencement of a prosecution for a sex offense against a person known to be an employee of a school, the State's Attorney shall immediately provide the superintendent of schools or school administrator that employs the employee with a copy of the complaint, information, or indictment.

The following bills were approved by House committees and will be considered on the House floor:

SB 10 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) increases the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year over a five year period.

SB 209 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) provides that under no circumstances may a petition for withdrawal from a joint special education agreement be presented to other member districts less than 12 months from the date of the proposed withdrawal.

SB 449 (Lightford, D-Maywood) requires that a student who is a victim of gender-based violence be permitted to transfer schools immediately (either within the district or to another school district) if the student’s continued attendance at the original school poses a risk to the student’s mental or physical well-being or safety.

SB 455 (Castro, D-Elgin) provides that a school district, public school, charter school, or nonpublic school must allow a school nurse or school administrator to administer a medical cannabis infused product to a student.

SB 456 (Martinez, D-Chicago) requires a criminal background check of every school employee every five years and requires ISBE to conduct random audits of teachers to determine if they are fulfilling continuing education requirements. It also requires ISBE to suspend or revoke a teacher’s license for committing or attempting to commit certain felonies.

SB 1035 (Weaver, R-Peoria) establishes notification timelines for the termination of a redevelopment project under tax increment financing (TIF) to guarantee that taxing districts are able to include the territory as new property and the recovered tax increment value.

SB 1226 (Holmes, D-Aurora) abolishes the State Charter School Commission and transfers all responsibilities to ISBE.

SB 1371 (Rose, R-Mahomet) allows a school district to install a security locking device on a door of a school building to prevent unwanted entry through the door if certain requirements are met.

SB 1601 (Sims, D-Chicago), with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois.

SB 1658 (Munoz, D-Chicago) provides that, subject to appropriation or private donations, ISBE shall award grants to school districts to support school safety and security. The grant funds may be used for school security improvements, including professional development, safety-related upgrades to school buildings, equipment, including metal detectors and x-ray machines, and facilities, including school-based health centers.

SB 1731 (Koehler, D-Peoria) provides that the in-service training on mental health must utilize evidence-based training that educates the participants on recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use disorders.

SB 1746 (Belt , D-East St. Louis) provides that moneys in the working cash fund may be used by a school board for any and all school purposes and may be transferred in whole or in part to the general funds or both of the school district and disbursed in anticipation of State funding received by the school district.

SB 1798 (Rose) requires each school district to create, maintain, and implement an age-appropriate policy on sexual harassment that must be posted on the school district's website.

SB 2124 (Rose) provides that a student must be expelled for a period of not less than one year if he or she brings to school a pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun, irrespective of the type or size of projectile that can be fired or the gun's muzzle velocity.
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