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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-09

Distributed via Email: March 25, 2011

LEGISLATURE RETURNS TO CAPITOL

After a brief respite, lawmakers return to the Capitol next week to begin deliberation on the bills that have been approved by committees and sent to the chamber floors. Bills that have not been approved by a committee are, generally, considered “dead”. Of course, issues can spring back to life via parliamentary maneuvers or by amendment. Legislators have three weeks to move their bills out of the house of origin (House bills out of the House and Senate bills out of the Senate).

COMMITTEES SCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEEK

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 29, 4 p.m., Room 409, State Capitol

Subject matter: Spring 2011 Mandate Waiver Requests

HOUSE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 30, 8 a.m., Room 114, State Capitol

Subject matter: Spring 2011 Mandate Waiver Requests

HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS – ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Thursday, March 31, 8 a.m., Room 118, State Capitol

Subject matter: District Consolidation and Regional Offices of Education

ISSUES TO WATCH FOR IN THE COMING WEEKS

Education Reform

Discussions on an “education reform” package have been ongoing continuously since January. The Alliance has been at the table with legislators and other education stakeholders in trying to craft a viable piece of legislation that can make positive changes at the local school district level. Issues being discussed include: restrictions on educator certificates due to poor classroom performance, changes in the process of how new and vacant teaching positions are filled, changes in how teacher tenure is attained, changes in procedures regarding reduction in force and teacher recall, and overall collective bargaining revisions.

Pension Reform

Discussions on further pension reform continue in the Capitol. Though the bills that were introduced that would have made changes to the pension benefits of current members of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) have not advanced, the issue is not off the table for many legislators. Other issues, such as extending exemptions from the 6% salary cap and allowing retired TRS members to continue to work for 120 days without pension penalties, are still in the mix as well.

School District Consolidation

The hottest of the hot topics, school consolidation talk continues in the offices and hallways of the Capitol. Governor Quinn still brings up the issue regularly. The individual bills that would force school consolidation have, for the most part, been stalled for the time being. There is still much interest in establishing a commission or task force to look into consolidation, and some are still pushing for the commission to have binding authority to force consolidations of specific school districts without local input. As noted earlier in this report, a legislative committee will be discussing school district consolidation next week.

Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

The state budget picture does not look any brighter for Fiscal Year 2012 than it did in FY 2011. The state still owes school district about $1 billion and no mandated categorical grant program payments have been made in this fiscal year. The governor has proposed increasing the state foundation level by $148 per pupil, but wants to cut the transportation reimbursement by another $95 million. The Senate Republicans, in their budget cutting plan, would trim over $700 million from K-12 public education. Appropriations committees in the House and Senate will be discussing the FY 2012 budget in the coming weeks.

SOME ADVERSE LEGISLATION STALLED

Though there are some pieces of negative legislation still alive and moving through the legislative process, several of the adverse bills were stalled in committee. The Alliance opposed many bills that have now been referred back to the Rules Committee and, therefore will no longer be considered, including:

HB 291 (Flowers) requires an electrocardiogram (EKG) as part of the health examination for all student athletes.

HB 292 (Flowers) requires school districts to provide instruction in grades K-12 in relation to the laws regarding the operation of all-terrain vehicles and off-highway motorcycles.  

HB 1239 (Ford) prohibits school districts from making available food containing industrially produced trans fat or use food containing industrially produced trans fat in the preparation of a food item served to students from any source.  

HB 1248 (Mell), for all school districts, requires all high school students to complete at least 15 hours of community service each school year in order to be promoted to the next higher grade level and to receive a high school diploma.

HB 1406 (Mitchell) requires students in grade 6 to successfully complete at least one semester of a civics education course.

HB 1568 (Mayfield) provides that mandate waivers may not be requested from laws and rules pertaining to physical education.

HB 1570 (Mayfield) requires each school board to establish an alternative basic education track focused in mathematics and reading for students performing one grade level or more below their current grade level according to current learning standards and the school district.

HB 1601 (Ford) provides that moneys from the Lottery shall be distributed to school districts based on the district's percentage of lottery sales.

HB 1705 (Gabel) makes significant changes regarding special education due process hearings. It requires the ISBE to monitor compliance with the decision of a hearing officer, and allows for enforcement action to be taken against the district.   

HB 1886 (Rita) consolidates all school districts into county school districts.

HB 3490 (Fortner) adds one more year of math and one more year of science to the high school graduation requirements.

HB 3491 (Cavaletto) requires every school board member to receive at least 4 hours of professional development and training per year.

SB 29 (Lauzen) applies the “Tier II” pension benefits structure (that apply to TRS members who become part of the pension system on or after January 1, 2011) to current TRS members as of July 1, 2011.   

SB 70 (Silverstein) requires all school buses to be equipped with seat safety belts for each passenger.

SB 105 (Lauzen) requires current participants in the State-funded pension and retirement systems (including TRS) to make a one-time, irrevocable election of one of the following: (i) remain in the traditional benefit package of the retirement system but pay a significantly higher contribution rate, (ii) become part of the “Tier II” benefits structure that apply to TRS members who become part of the pension system on or after January 1, 2011, or (iii) opt into a self-managed plan.   

SB 128 (Sandoval) requires an employer to provide all employees (even part-time with no minimum number of hours worked) up to 7 sick days with pay during each 12-month period.

SB 1550 (Haine) expands the Prevailing Wage to aggregate haulers.

SB 1559 (Koehler) requires school boards to only purchase or lease driver education vehicles that have been assembled in the U.S.A. (Vehicle Identification Numbers that begin with the number one, the number four, or the number five).

This legislative report is written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.

Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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