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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 98-06

Distributed via Email: March 1, 2013

The Illinois General Assembly this week continued to wade through bills in committees and take time to discuss big-ticket items on the floor of the House of Representatives. The House met its deadline for the introduction of bills in that chamber, reaching a grand total of 3,416 bills. With the legislation already introduced in the Senate, nearly 6,000 bills have been introduced in the brand new 98 th Illinois General Assembly.

The House of Representatives dedicated two afternoons for discussion of front-burner issues. On Tuesday, members discussed provisions of a concealed carry of firearms proposal, and voted on several amendments. Though with this type of piecemeal approach – amendments were drafted without knowing fully what the underlying bill provisions were – not much was accomplished and few believe that the two sides were brought any closer together during the exercise. It looks like HB 997 (Phelps, D-Harrisburg) will be the vehicle to carry the concealed carry language.

Likewise, on Thursday afternoon the House took up the issue of pension reform, again allowing members to file and discuss specific amendments to a pension reform proposal which wasn’t fully developed. House Speaker Michael Madigan was the sponsor of most of the amendments, none of which came even close to passing. The provisions included increasing the retirement age to 67 years old, eliminating or reducing cost of living adjustments (COLA), and increasing the pension contribution rate for employees by an additional 5% of salary. It was no surprise that each of these controversial provisions failed on an individual vote; any pension reform legislation will eventually be a carefully drafted document as part of a larger pension/budget package.

A new pension reform bill was introduced this week, too. HB 3411(Cross, R-Oswego) contains many of the provisions of the Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) proposal from earlier this year (HB 98) that would gradually increase the retirement age, cap pensionable salaries, reduce the amount and postpone the implementation of COLAs, and increase the employee’s pension contribution rate. HB 3411 also contains a modified plan for the shifting of costs from the State to local school districts and creates a new “Tier III” pension plan for employees who begin work in a participating pension system after January 1, 2014. The bill would create a hybrid of the traditional “defined benefit” pension plan with a “401 (k)” type of pension plan.

But again, nothing was resolved this week and the debate will continue throughout the Spring legislative session. The Alliance will continue to be involved in the pension discussions and report any new developments.

OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

HB 64 (Ford, D-Chicago) originally prohibited a school from requesting or requiring a student to provide a password in order to gain access to the student's account or profile on a social networking website. As amended, the bill removes the prohibition but will require school districts to publish in their disciplinary rules, policies, or handbooks the “expectations” for students regarding social networking websites, including the circumstances in which the district might request or require the student to provide a password or other account information. The bill is pending on the House floor.

HB 161 ( Osmond, R-Antioch) p rovides that pupils enrolled in New Tech High at Zion-Benton East in Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 are required to engage in P.E. courses three days a week (instead of daily) during the school day, within the school's modified block schedule, providing that the school's pupils document with their P.E. teacher an additional 120 minutes of physical activity per week outside of the classroom. The bill, supported by the Alliance, was called for a preliminary vote on the House floor but fell short of the required number of votes for passage. The bill may be called again for a House floor vote.

HB 192 (Jackson, Sr., D-East St. Louis) provides that, in addition to all other authority to issue bonds, Smithton Community Consolidated School District 130 may issue bonds with an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $15,000,000 if certain conditions are met. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 194 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) allows the city councils of Rockford, Aurora, and East St. Louis to each create a promise zone which p rovides private funds sufficient to provide each eligible student who resides within the promise zone and who graduates from a public high school located within that promise zone with the tuition necessary to obtain an associate degree or its equivalent at the local community college. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 1205 ( Sente, D-Lincolnshire) requires school boards to adopt a policy limiting tackling in football practice to once a week. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was debated in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee but no vote was taken.

HB 1443 ( Moylan, D-Des Plaines)  states that if employees of a school district or institution of higher education whose duties including reporting crime fails to report acts of hazing, the employee himself/herself can be charged with the crime of hazing. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committeeand was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 70 (Koehler, D-Peoria) p rovides that the location restrictions for licensed gaming establishments (including truck stops, fraternal organizations, and veterans establishments) do not apply if a school or place of worship moves to or is established within the restricted area after the establishment obtains its original license. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

SB 84 ( Luechtefeld, R- Okawville) makes changes in how a school district deposits and accounts for teacher certification registration costs and back fees. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

SB 1248 (Murphy, R-Palatine) establishes the School Choice Program that allows a custodian of a qualifying Chicago Public Schools pupil to receive a School Choice Voucher to pay for qualified education expenses at a Chicago nonpublic elementary school. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was defeated in the Senate Education Committee.

SB 1307 ( Lightford, D-Chicago) lowers the compulsory school attendance age from 7 years to 5 years. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 1309 (Murphy) allows the Cook County Board to, by resolution, grant the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption to taxpayers who have received the exemption previously without reapplying for the exemption each year.  

SB 1415 (Dillard, R-Elmhurst) e stablishes the Board of Legislative Repealers to determine instances in which State laws and regulations are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous, in conflict, or unconstitutional; to create a system for receiving public comments; and to recommend changes in the law that it deems necessary to modify or eliminate antiquated and inequitable rules of law. The bill was approved by the Senate Executive Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

ALLIANCE INITIATIVES SUBMITTED

The Alliance has initiated a package of legislation based on the position statements and legislative committee recommendations of the individual Alliance organizations. The following bills have been introduced on behalf of the Alliance:

SB 1466 (McCarter) exempts school districts from the scope of the Prevailing Wage Law.

SB 1875 ( Manar) adds flexibility and accountability regarding bidding for architects and engineers.

SB 2213 (Sullivan) permits school districts to contract out for Drivers’ Education services.

SB 2257 (Harmon) addresses limiting rates under PTELL.

SB 2321 ( Bertino-Tarrant) allows for P.E. waivers for members of a high school show choir.

SB 2337 (McGuire, D-Joliet) moves certain tax levies outside of the scope of PTELL.

HB 3 (Chapa LaVia) extends the expiration date for authority to perform interfund transfers.

HB 1586 (Chapa LaVia) makes changes to selection of providers for school board member training.

HB 1860 ( Davidsmeyer) addresses the school board’s ability to move to at-large elections.

HB 2418 (Chapa LaVia) makes adjustments to school board election filing deadlines.

HB 2660 ( Davis, W.) adjusts the school funding formula for school districts with Charter Schools.  

HB 3232 (Gordon-Booth) provides an accommodation for local bidders on school district projects.

BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 5, 1:00 p.m., Room 400, State Capitol

SB 1577 (Rose, R-Champaign) provides that if a student athlete has not met practice requirements for a high school sport due to the student's involvement in military training, then a waiver to participate in play in the regular season for that sport may be granted by the school board.

SB 1622 (Noland, D-Elgin) creates the Office of the Education Ombudsman within the Office of the Governor for the purposes of providing information to parents, students, and others regarding their rights and responsibilities with respect to public schools.

SB 1702 ( Lightford) sets up a special set of rights, support services, and due processes for students who are parents, expectant parents, or the victims of domestic or sexual violence. Special privileges must be given to such students regarding school placement, student transfers, home instruction, expulsions and suspensions.

SB 1703 ( Haine, D-Alton) adds October 7 ( Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Remembrance Day) as a commemorative holiday.

SB 1711 ( Hastings, D-Matteson) creates the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act that contains new requirements on student athletes, coaches, and game officials, including mandatory training for coaches, and requires school districts to establish penalties for violations of the new requirements it provides that the Act applies to public schools, school districts, and recognized nonpublic schools.

SB 1845 ( Mulroe, D-Chicago) allows for School Social Work to include services for establishing and delivering anti-bullying programs.

SB 1877 ( Manar, D-Bunker Hill) makes numerous changes regarding school district reorganization, dissolution, and consolidation.

SB 1880 ( Manar) provides for tax equivalent grants to a school district in which the State Capitol is located, subject to appropriation.

HOUSE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 6, 8:00 a.m., Room 413, Stratton Office Building

HB 2213 (Ford) sets up a special set of rights, support services, and due processes for students who are parents, expectant parents, or the victims of domestic or sexual violence. Special privileges must be given to such students regarding school placement, student transfers, expulsions and suspensions, home instruction, and additional support services.

HB 2242 ( Cabello, R-Loves Park) repeals all sections of the School Code that require physical education and training.

HB 2245 (Chapa LaVia) provides that upon employment and at least once every 5 years thereafter, school personnel, including substitute teachers, who work directly with students must complete mandated reporter training provided by an individual or agency with expertise in recognizing and reporting child abuse.

HB 2267 (Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria) makes numerous changes regarding school district reorganization, dissolution, and consolidation.

HB 2322 (Chapa LaVia) appropriates $12,500,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for the textbook block grant program.

HB 2405 (Welch, D-Westchester) provides that each school board must establish a kindergarten with full-day attendance (instead of allowing a school board to establish a kindergarten with half-day attendance or with full-day attendance).

HB 2420 (Chapa LaVia) allows licensed marriage and family therapists as a school support personnel endorsement area.

HB 2428 (Conroy, D-Villa Park) requires the ISBE to establish a Task Force on Civic Education.

SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 6, 6:00 p.m., Room 212, State Capitol

SB 1466 (McCarter, R-Lebanon) exempts school districts from the scope of the Prevailing Wage Act.

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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