Alliance Legislative Report 97-44
Distributed via Email: March 23, 2012
The Illinois General Assembly met this week and moved closer to the half-
way point of the spring legislative session. Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on Monday and work every day next week; Friday is the deadline to move House bills out of the House and Senate bills out of the Senate. As the bills swap houses, the legislature will take a break the first two weeks of April and return on April 17.
As individual pieces of legislation advance through the process, budget discussions are moving at a much slower pace. Budget leaders are talking with rank and file legislators about the difficult choices that will have to be made this year as significant budget cuts will be necessary. Nothing in writing is yet available regarding the Fiscal Year 2013 budget from legislators. Likewise, there has been little new information on other issues, such as pension reform.
RECOMMENDATIONS COMING ON ROE ISSUE
The commission established to streamline the Regional Offices of Education (ROE) met this week and seemed to reach a conclusion on a couple of issues. Though a final report of the Commission’s recommendation has yet to be voted on, on Thursday Commission members apparently reached consensus on how many regions there should be, and from which funds the salaries of the regional superintendents should come.
The commission plans to recommend that there be a maximum of 35 regions around the State, with a minimum population of 61,000 per region. Currently there are 45 regional offices. Commissioners also plan to recommend that the regional superintendents of schools not be paid out of receipts from the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT). Until last year, regional superintendent salaries were paid out of State General Revenue Funds. When Governor Quinn cut funding for those salaries out of the state’s fiscal year 2012 budget, the legislature later approved legislation allowing for the salaries to be paid out of CPPRT receipts for one year.
The commission will meet again next week.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK
SB 3408 (Silverstein, D-Chicago) prohibits school districts from making available or serving food with any amount of industrially produced trans fat. This prohibition includes food made available to students on any school grounds during the school day or the extended school day and includes “fundraising activities on school premises”. The bill was defeated on the Senate floor.
SB 3410 (Silverstein) codifies in statute what the IHSA protocol already requires regarding the school board policy on concussions and head injuries of student athletes. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
SB 3487 (Crotty, D-Oak Forest) provides that a multi-function school activity bus (MFSAB) may be used to transport high school students for any curriculum-related activity except for transportation from home to school or from school to home. It must be operated by a holder of a school bus driver permit and is subject to certain provisions concerning contractual student transfer arrangements, contracts requiring school bus driver permits, liability insurance, and safety testing. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives. An identical bill, HB 3844 (Harris), was approved by the House and sent to the Senate.
HB 3826 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) expands the definition of “service animal” and adds to the types of disabilities that would allow a student to use a service animal in schools. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 4029 (Chapa La Via) extends the exemption from the competitive bidding process for those that provide services for transporting children with disabilities to all other student transport entities. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate.
HB 4043 (Bradley, D-Marion) provides that for the consolidation of Christopher Unit School District 99 and Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District 188, the consolidation moves forward after one or both of the school districts have been awarded school construction grants. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 4940 (Sacia, R-Pecatonica) , regarding the school facility occupation tax (county 1% sales tax), provides that if a county board imposed the voter approved tax at a rate below the rate set forth in the question, the tax shall be imposed at the rate set forth in the question. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 5114 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) , as amended, r equires all students enrolled in grades 6-8 in the public schools to watch a training video on CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator – only if the videos are provided at no cost to the school district. The bill is pending on the House floor.
HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) , as amended, defines what a school district “policy on bullying” must include. The bill is pending on the House floor.
HB 5689 (Lilly, C-Chicago) creates the Eradicate Domestic Violence Task Force to develop a statewide effective and feasible prevention course for high school students designed to prevent interpersonal, adolescent violence. The bill states that the Task Force shall propose that the curricula content “should be mandatory versus voluntary”. The bill was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 5203 (Fortner, R-West Chicago) provides that two or more election nominating petitions filed within the last hour of the filing deadline shall be deemed filed simultaneously. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.
HB 5602 (Sente, D-Lincolnshire) , as amended, makes changes to the law regarding reciprocal reporting of information between a school district and the local police department. It states that, for students that have been arrested, the information provided to the school district must be kept separate from the student’s official school district record. For students that are under an active investigation, the information provided from the police department to the school district must be transmitted orally only. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate.
HB 5791 (Senger, R-Naperville) requires the actuary of each of the five state-funded pension systems (including TRS) to conduct an investigation of the system at least once every three (rather than five) years. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate.
2012 PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS
Voters approved four of six tax questions (67%), and ten of 15 bond propositions (67%), based on an Illinois State Board of Elections list of referendums appearing on the ballot. Voters passed one of three (33%) countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes: specifically, 62 percent of voters in Saline County approved a 1% boost in their county sales tax. Voters in Morgan County and Washington County, meanwhile, rejected such sales tax proposals earmarked for schools.
School districts were successful with tax increase referenda for educational purposes in: Earlville CUSD 9, St. Libory Consolidated SD 30, Valmeyer CUSD 3, and West Northfield SD 31. Bond issues were approved by voters in Blue Ridge CUSD 18, Clinton CUSD 15, Fox Lake Grade SD 114, Gower SD 141, Opdyke-Belle Rive CCSD 5, Quincy SD 172, Taft SD 90, Valmeyer CUSD 3, and Woodlawn CCSD 205.
Voters rejected both of the school district consolidation propositions on the March ballot.
In the legislature , there continues to be significant turnover. The 2012 election cycle requires every Illinois Senator and Representative to run for election in a newly drawn district based upon population shifts determined by the 2010 census. Early results of the primary election indicate that at least 21 of 59 senators and 45 of 118 representatives will be new when sworn in next January. There could still be more change depending on the results of the November general election where additional incumbents may be defeated.
In the primary election, 23 incumbent Senate members ran unopposed and currently face no challengers for the November general election. Nine Senate incumbents (and 2 House incumbents seeking election in the Senate) had no opposition in the primary election but face opposition in the general election. The power of incumbency is still alive and well in Illinois.
Here are some highlights of the Primary Election’s legislative races:
Senate District 5 : Incumbent Sen. Annazette Collins was defeated by Patricia VanPelt-Watkins
Senate District 15 : Napoleon Harris won and will vie to replace retiring Sen. James Meeks
Senate District 23 : Incumbent Sen. Carole Pankau defeated Rep. Randy Ramey
Senate District 24 : Incumbent Sen. Kirk Dillard defeated Rep. Chris Nybo
Senate District 35 : Incumbent Sen. Dave Syverson defeated incumbent Sen. Christine Johnson
Senate District 36 : Retired Rep. Mike Boland lost to incumbent Sen. Mike Jacobs
Senate District 38 : Christine Benson (Streator S.D. 44 superintendent) beat two Democrat challengers Senate District 46: Incumbent Sen. Dave Koehler defeated two Democratic challengers
Senate District 53 : Incumbent Rep. Jason Barickman defeated incumbent Sen. Shane Cultra
Senate District 59 : Incumbent Sen. Gary Forby defeated Fred
46 incumbent House members ran unopposed in the primary election and currently face no challengers for the November general election. 27 House incumbents had no opposition in the primary but face challengers in the November election.
House District 39 : Incumbent Rep. Toni Berrios trails challenger Will Guzzardi by 111 votes
House District 96 : In an open seat, Democrat Sue Scherer has a 70 vote edge over Winston Taylor
House District 52 : Newly appointed Rep. Kent Gaffney lost to David McSweeney
House District 81 : Incumbent Sen. Ron Sandack beat Debbie Boyle
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 Statewide School Management Alliance.
Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov
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