This is the first in a series of updates the IEA Government Relations Department will provide while the Legislature is in session. We hope this update is helpful in providing information about issues moving through the Illinois General Assembly and Congress that impact you.

100th Illinois General Assembly
Members of the 100th General Assembly were sworn in to office on Jan. 11. After the November election, Democrats continue to maintain majorities in both chambers, albeit with slightly smaller numbers. During the first few weeks of the new General Assembly, the majority of the focus was on the governor’s State of the State address and recent collaboration between the two Senate leaders on a proposed plan to end the budget impasse, which is being referred to as the Senate’s Grand Bargain.

Senate Grand Bargain
The Senate’s Grand Bargain is a package of bills from Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno that propose a variety of revenue enhancements, cost cutting measures and reforms contained in thirteen pieces of legislation. Each bill contains a caveat that the bill does not become law unless all the other twelve bills also become law. The Senate Executive Committee heard testimony but took no action on several of the bills this week. There have already been several amendments filed to each of these bills and we anticipate seeing more changes as discussions continue.

IEA President Cinda Klickna testified before the Senate Executive Committee about the negative impact that a property tax freeze would have on school districts. The We Are One coalition, which IEA is a part of, testified against the pension reform proposal and the proposals regarding the elimination of drivers education, physical education and contracting with third parties for non-instructional services for school districts.

Below is a summary of the package of bills. 

SB 1  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) is a placeholder bill for school funding reform but does not currently contain any substantive language.

SB 2  (Lightford, D-Maywood) would increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9 per hour beginning on Jul. 1, 2017, and 50 cents each year thereafter until it reaches $11.

SB 3  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) would allow counties to dissolve local governments by referendum, similar to the consolidation that exists in DuPage, Lake and McHenry counties.

SB 4  (Trotter, D-Chicago) authorizes the state to issue $7 billion in restructuring bonds to pay the backlog of bills owed to vendors and local governments.

SB 5  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) requires the state to contribute $215 million to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund in FY17, $220 million in FY18 and pay the amount of normal cost for pensions to the fund going forward beginning in FY19.

SB 6  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) is a supplemental appropriation to fund higher education, human services, group health insurance and state operations for the remainder of this fiscal year.

SB 7  (Link, D-Vernon Hills) creates six new casino/riverboat licenses, allows existing racetracks to obtain gaming positions and increases the number of gaming positions at existing riverboats.

SB 8  (Harmon, D-Oak Park) would reform the procurement process.

SB 9  (Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields) is a revenue bill designed to generate funds from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, increasing the state income tax to just less than 5 percent, raising the corporate income tax from 5.25 to 7 percent, addressing corporate loopholes and increasing or reinstating certain tax credits.

SB 10  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) amends the Illinois Municipal Code to allow a home rule municipality to enter into agreements regarding revenue from the state.

SB 11  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) is a pension cutting proposal that offer an employee three items in exchange for eliminating the compounded 3 percent annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in his or her pension: 1) a payment equal to 10 percent of the employee’s previous pension contributions; 2) a 10 percent reduction in the employee’s future pension contributions; and, 3) a promise that all future salary increases will be pensionable. If the employee chooses not to give up the COLA, any future salary increases would be excluded from his or her pension calculation. The bill also closes the General Assembly pension to future members, establishes an optional defined contribution plan and makes changes recommended by the governor in his last budget proposal. Additionally, the proposal does shift the pension costs of salary increases in excess of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to the local school districts. The inflation rate (CPI) for 2016 was 2.1 percent.

SB 12  (Radogno, R-Lemont) reforms the workers’ compensation law.

SB 13  (Radogno, R-Lemont) establishes a two-year property tax freeze. It also provides mandate relief for school districts, including greater flexibility in scheduling physical education, using commercial driving schools for driver education and contracting with third parties for non-instructional services.

Governor’s State of the State Address
Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his State of the State address on Wed., Jan. 25. He highlighted an increase in education funding over the last two years that included $700 million more for schools and an additional $100 million for early childhood education. He called on the Legislature to create a new school funding formula that would adequately fund all schools across the state.

In response to the governor’s speech, Speaker Michael Madigan stated he would, “begin a thorough vetting process of proposals that will enable us to create jobs while also lifting up and helping the middle class and struggling families around our state.”

Senate President Cullerton pledged to continue working on a bipartisan package of bills to end the budget impasse.

Click here to read a statement from IEA President Cinda Klickna on Governor Rauner’s State of the State address.

IEA Legislative Priorities
In addition to monitoring the FY18 State Budget, school funding reform and any potential changes to the pension systems, the IEA will be working on the following issues:

  1. Local control of charter schools
  2. Transportation fees
  3. Homeless students
  4. Minimum salary for teachers
  5. Substitute teacher shortage
  6. Trauma-informed policies
  7. Higher Education issues
  8. Statewide minimum wage

We will inform you when these issues are in legislative form and will continue to update you on all bills that impact public education.

Important Dates

Feb. 10 – Introduction of bills
Feb. 15 – Governor’s Budget address
Mar. 17 – Bills out of Senate Committee
Mar. 31 – Bills out of House Committee
Apr. 28 – 3rd Reading deadline (both chambers)
May 12 – Deadline for House bills to get out of Senate Committee
May 19 – Deadline for Senate bills to get out of House Committee
May 26 – Final 3rd Reading deadline (both chambers)
May 31 – Adjournment

A schedule for each chamber can be found on the General Assembly website.

Legislative Committees

IEA Government Relations staff track education, revenue, pension and labor bills through a variety of committees in the General Assembly. A list of the House and Senate committees and members can be found on the General Assembly website.

What’s Next
The Senate and House return Tues., Feb. 7. We anticipate legislative hearings to begin in earnest and we will keep you informed.