Both chambers wrapped up their work for the week and the House canceled their weekend session. There was no significant action on the FY16 budget. Both chambers will reconvene Memorial Day and are scheduled to work each day through May 31.
Lifting the Cap on Charter Schools
House Bill 814 (Andrade) mirrors Governor Rauner’s proposal to eliminate the statutory cap on the number of charter schools in Illinois. Currently, Illinois law limits the number of charter schools to 120, with a maximum of 75 in Chicago and 45 in the remainder of the state. There are currently 67 charter schools open in Illinois: 52 in Chicago and 14 in the remainder of the state. IEA is opposed to this bill which passed out of House Executive Committee and was not called for a vote on the floor by adjournment on Friday. For the rationale of IEA’s position, view the HB 814 fact sheet.
House members voted on HJRCA 26 (Madigan), a proposal to amend the state constitution to allow a 3 percent tax surcharge on incomes of more than $1 million. The estimated $1 billion in revenue generated from the tax would be dedicated to education. Voters overwhelmingly supported the idea through a non-binding ballot question last fall. IEA supported this resolution that failed to pass the House by three votes. The sponsor placed the amendment on postponed consideration which means it could be called again for another vote.
Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda
The governor’s office filed three bills and two constitutional amendments regarding his Turnaround Agenda. These legislative initiatives are all sponsored by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. The three bills still need to go through the full committee process and floor debate in both chambers. The two constitutional amendments must receive three-fifths majority in both the House and the Senate and then be ratified by the voters in the 2016 General Election.
- HB 4222 (Durkin) – Amends the code of civil procedure
- HB 4223 (Durkin) – Reforms workers compensation
- HB 4224 ( Durkin) – Limits collective bargaining issues by allowing school boards or voters in a school district to approve these limits. The restrictions to what could be collectively bargained include but are not limited to wages, health insurance, working conditions, staffing levels, layoffs, and subcontracting.The legislation also freezes property taxes.
- HJRCA 39 ( Durkin) – Imposes term limits
- HJRCA 40 (Durkin) – Proposes changes to the redistricting process for legislative maps