General Assembly Makes Quick Work of First Week of Veto SessionThis week kicked off the Illinois fall veto session (October 19-21 and Oct 26-28). Without any additional vetoes from Governor JB Pritzker to act upon, the schedule for the traditional fall veto session was already light for the Illinois General Assembly. Still, the degree to which little action was taken was impressive. With both chambers officially in session for less than 24 hours, few bills were acted upon. The House did not pass any bills over to the Senate, while the Senate passed a mere eight bills over to the House. After a hectic spring 2021 session, a light week is a breath of fresh air. However, two pieces of legislation will impact school districts if they are approved by the House next week.
HB 1975 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) addresses grooming and sexual abuse in schools by providing several resources and training for parents, students, and teachers regarding sexual misconduct in schools, including developing a code of conduct and updated sex education class curriculum. The bill also adds grooming to criminal sexual assault offenses in the Criminal Code. The bill was amended in the Senate and sent to the House for further action.
HB 3173 (Mason, D-Gurnee) is a trailer bill to PA 102-0466, the pregnant, parenting, and victim of violence student supports law. Affected parties, including IASB, have been negotiating language to clean up the new act since it became law in August. Senate Amendment #2 was adopted, and the bill has been passed on to the House for action.
More Fireworks Expected for Final Week of Veto SessionWhile the House still has to approve HB 1975 and HB 3173 before they become law, these are not expected to be the only major issues addressed in the final week of the fall veto session. Other important topics include the decennial Congressional district maps that the General Assembly must approve; the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act; the Interfund Transfer Sunset Extension; emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave.
Two additional bills affecting school districts were filed today that will likely be taken up next week. Senate Amendment #2 to HB 2778 (Belt, D-E. St. Louis) would require that school support personnel be paid when school districts utilize e-learning days; provides that teachers retain any sick leave days used as a result of the pandemic; and, school teachers receive paid administrative leave when there’s a declared disaster.
Senate Amendment #1 to HB 594 (Lightford, D-Hillside) will extend the sunset date for school districts to utilize interfund transfers to June 30, 2024. This important tool for school district budgeting was inadvertently overlooked in the regular Spring session.
We are also expecting to see action on the Healthcare Right of Conscience Act (HCRCA) which prohibits "all forms of discrimination, disqualification, coercion, disability or imposition of liability upon such persons or entities by reason of their refusing to act contrary to their conscience or conscientious convictions in providing, paying for, or refusing to obtain, receive, accept, deliver, pay for, or arrange for the payment of health care services and medical care.” Governor JB Pritzker has proposed the following language to narrow the law and close a loophole that is being utilized to opt-out of COVID-19 vaccinations and regular testing requirements:
“It shall not be a violation of this Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, any institution or employer to implement requirements for masking or testing or to implement a requirement for a vaccination that is approved or authorized, including for emergency use, by the FDA to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations.”
As always, bills can be amended at a moment’s notice, and impactful issues can happen in a flash. We will keep you up to date with further legislative reports and alerts.