Frantic Veto Session Draws to a CloseLate October felt more like late May as legislators worked into the night to pass many important bills that will impact local school boards, the State of Illinois, and potentially the Congress of the United States of America. The latest IASB legislative report predicted a busy week, but the number of major bills and legislative action required to get those issues over the finish line exceeded expectations.
Major COVID-19 legislation was on the docket as the Health Care Right of Conscience Act was amended to prevent the law from providing cover for those not wishing to comply with COVID-19 requirements. However, to get this controversial bill through the House and the Senate, an immediate effective date was removed and the changes, if signed by the governor, will not take place until June 1. Additionally, school employees would be given an unlimited amount of paid “administrative leave” for a personal illness or the illness of a child due to COVID-19.
Without any gubernatorial vetoes to address, one the most pressing tasks for the Illinois General Assembly during Veto Session was passing a new Congressional District map for Illinois. Since Illinois lost population numbers, the state is losing one congressional district under the new map. For several hours on Thursday, October 28, it looked like a deal on a new congressional map would have to be put off until January. Due to much negotiation and the pressure to produce a map or risk a map being drawn by an outside entity, the House and Senate passed a new map at the 11th hour, on partisan lines.
The following bills have passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and now await the approval of Governor JB Pritzker:
Bills Awaiting Governor's Approval
HB 594 (Lightford, D-Hillside) extends the sunset date for school districts to utilize interfund transfers to June 30, 2024.
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 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 because of COVID-19.
SB 1139 (Turner, D., D-Springfield) extends several TIF districts across the State of Illinois.
SB 1169 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) limits the Health Care Right of Conscience Act to not apply to compliance with COVID-19 requirements.