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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-65

Distributed via Email: December 5, 2012

LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS UNTIL JANUARY

The Illinois General Assembly finished its Veto Session business Wednesday and will return to the Capitol in January for a “lame duck” session. Lawmakers are scheduled to be in session January 2-9, up until the new 98 th General Assembly is sworn into office at noon on January 9, 2013. On the 9 th at noon, the 97 th General Assembly comes to a close and all legislation is dead. Any pending issues would then have to be re-introduced as new legislation.

It was a fairly quiet two-day week in the Capitol, with the controversial issues (drivers’ licenses for undocumented citizens, legalized marijuana for medical use, legalized gay marriage, expanding gaming, required posting of tax returns for private corporations, collective bargaining implications for unionized State employees, and of course, pensions) being delayed until next year.

The legislative session schedule for next year can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website (www.ilga.gov) by clicking on “schedules” under either the House or Senate.

NEW PENSION PROPOSAL EMERGES

Twenty State Representatives Wednesday co-sponsored a bill that would reform the State’s pension systems. HB 6258 ( Nekritz, D-Northbrook) is initiated by “rank and file” legislators in the House, not necessarily with the backing of leadership in either the House or Senate or Governor’s office. No pension stakeholders were included in the drafting of the legislation, though sponsors pledged to engage others in the discussions between now and January. The House supporters of the bill stated that they are tired of waiting for the leadership to present an agreed bill and feel that the issue needs to be pushed forward for a vote in the January “lame duck” session.

The Alliance is beginning to analyze the legislation and will provide a comprehensive summary of the bill soon. But, generally, the bill is expected to include the following provisions:

  • Shift of pension costs from State to local school districts at 1/2 percent of TRS payroll per year until all “normal costs” of the pension system are the responsibility of the school districts
  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is 3% compounding for first $25,000 of a pension -- no COLA for any pension above that amount (including for current annuitants)
  • COLA is applied at age 67 or 5 years after retirement
  • Increase the age of retirement: no change for those over 45 years old; add one year for ages 40-45; add 3 years ages 35-39; add 5 years for those under 35 years old
  • Annual pension amount capped at Social Security limit (about $112,000); or if currently working, at the pension amount calculated at current salary
  • No "election" of benefits and no loss of health insurance
  • All future employees will be put into a "cash balance" plan – will eliminate defined benefit plan
  • Tier II employees may opt to enter “cash balance” plan
  • Mechanism to require the State to make its pension payments
  • New pension ramp that will have pension systems fully funded in 30 years
  • Employee pension contribution rate increased by 2% over 2 years
  • No revenue stream for school districts to pay for cost shift and no mandate relief

Bill text can be found here.

OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

HB 506 (Currie, D-Chicago) would have allowed the chief county assessment officer to put a tax lien on any property where erroneous homestead exemptions have been granted and required an application instead of affidavit to determine eligibility for the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze including a certification and penalties. The bill was defeated in the Senate.

HB 1299 ( Verschoore, D-Milan) a mends the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law   to provide that the question of establishing a maximum aggregate extension may be combined with the question of forming or establishing a new taxing district. The bill was approved by the Senate and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

HB 6193 (Mitchell, J., R-Rock Falls) , in the Comprehensive Health Education Act, requires that age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education be included in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 (instead of sexual assault awareness taught in secondary schools). The bill also allows programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention to be included in teacher in-service programs. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HJR 102 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) is the mandate waiver resolution for the fall. The resolution addresses two school districts (Marshall CUSD C-2, Bureau Valley CUSD 340) who submitted waiver requests regarding non-resident tuition for children of full-time employees. The resolution approves allowing the districts to claim the average daily attendance of such students on its State aid claim but disapproves the districts charging the students tuition. The resolution was approved by the Senate so those requests cited above will be altered and all other mandate waiver requests submitted this fall are deemed approved.

SB 547 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) makes changes to the school transition plans for Chicago Public Schools. The bill was signed into law by the Governor and is now Public Act 97-1133, effective November 30, 2012.

SB 641 ( Steans, D-Chicago) has an amendment filed that would define what a “bullying policy” is for local school districts. The provisions are the same as were included in the amended version HB 5290 from the spring session. The amendment was approved by the Senate Executive Committee and the amended bill is pending on the Senate floor.

SB 3297 (Garrett), D-Lake Forest) , as amended, would increase the debt limit for Hall High School District 502 under specific circumstances. The bill, as amended, was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for concurrence in the House amendment.

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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