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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-31

Distributed via Email: October 27, 2011

LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS FOR THE WEEK

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned today and will continue the Veto Session November 8-10. Lawmakers began to tackle the big issues on the table: pension reform, gaming, utility legislation, funding for regional superintendents of schools, and property taxation. It will take the three days in the second week of the Veto Session, however, to complete action on most of these weighty matters.

Conspicuously missing from this list is budget action. Legislators did not address any of the governor’s budget reductions this week. There was no motion to override the governor’s reduction of transportation reimbursement for school districts, for instance.

NOT ENOUGH VOTES FOR BILL TO PAY ROES

Though House committees earlier this week approved legislation to use revenues from the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT) to pay the salaries of the Regional Superintendents of Schools, the first bill called on the House floor failed to receive enough votes for passage. HB 3828 (Mautino, D-Spring Valley) contains the substantive language to require that the salaries for regional superintendents and assistant regional assistants be paid out of CPPRT funds. After a lengthy floor debate, the bill failed to receive the 3/5 vote necessary for approval. It was placed in a posture so that another vote can be taken on the legislation. The accompanying appropriations bill, HB 3847 (Mautino), was not called for a vote on the House floor.

This seemingly places in limbo for another couple of weeks the issue of salaries for the top Regional Office of Education (ROE) employees. Up until this year, the salaries were paid out of the State’s General Revenue Funds. This practice was upended when Governor Quinn used a line item veto to “zero out” the salaries in the state budget.

NO VOTE TAKEN ON PTELL LEGISLATION

As was highlighted in the last Alliance Legislative Report, the House Revenue and Finance Committee approved a bill Monday that would limit taxing districts to zero revenue growth if property values are declining overall. HB 3793 (Franks, D-Woodstock), though, was not called for a vote on the House floor Thursday before adjournment.

The legislation is still viable and will undoubtedly be on the agenda when lawmakers return to the Capitol in two weeks. It is vital that school administrators and school board members contact their State Representative and convey how this legislation would affect local school districts.

PENSION LEGISLATION APPROVED

The House of Representatives Thursday approved two bills that make changes to the State’s pension systems to address incidents reported in recent newspaper articles. The bills were sent to the Senate for further consideration. HB 3813 (Cross, R-Oswego) addresses employees who take leaves of absence or otherwise leave an entity that participates in a state pension system and begins work for another employer who also participates in that state pension system. For example, a school district employee who leaves the district and begins work for a statewide teachers’ union or school board organization. In those cases, any pension credit earned must be based on the participant's salary immediately before the leave of absence or departure from the employer and must contribute an amount equal to the actuarially determined normal cost of the pension calculation. The bill passed the House on a vote of 111-3-1.

HB 3815 (May, D-Highland Park) is similar as it also addresses employees’ leaves of absence during which a participant is employed by a labor organization. This bill was approved 113-2.

It was also reported that the broader “pension reform” bill, SB 512 (Cullerton, D-Chicago), will be called for a vote when legislators return to session. The bill would require current TRS employees to select, by July 1, 2012, which retirement program they wish to participate in: the “traditional” plan which offers the TRS retirement benefits that were in place before Jan. 1, 2011; the “revised” plan which offers the “Tier II” TRS retirement benefits that are available to participants that entered the system on January 1, 2011 or after; or the “self-managed” defined contribution plan (similar to a “401(k)” plan).

OTHER BILL ACTION FROM THE WEEK

HB 384 (Mautino) provides that if a person is entitled to a warrant or payment from the state treasury and if a unit of local government, school district, or public institution of higher education holds a then due and payable account or claim against that person, then the State Comptroller may deduct, on behalf of that entity, the owed amount from the warrant or payment. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 606 (Mautino) allows Leepertown CCSD 175 to attach its territory to a non-contiguous school district. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

SB 1795 (Lightford, D-Maywood) moves the oversight functions of private business and vocational schools from the ISBE to the Board of Higher Education. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HJR 44 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) addresses school district requests for mandate waivers. It disapproves the Stockton CUSD #206 driver’s education fee request; limits the Ridgewood HSD #234 request for an increase in the driver’s education fee to $300 (instead of the $500 requested); and approves the Keeneyville ESD #20 request regarding content evaluations for one year (instead of five years as requested). The resolution was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

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 Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.

Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov


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