Only the lower chamber of the Illinois General Assembly was working at the Statehouse this week. Members of the House of Representatives concentrated primarily on committee work related to legislative initiatives.

Committee action
Several bills IEA has been tracking were heard:

HB 440 (Ives, R-Wheaton) would remove the requirement that physical education be offered in Illinois public schools. IEA opposed this legislation which, after vigorous committee debate, failed on a vote of 4-15.

HB 459 (Ives, R-Wheaton) would limit the ability of school districts to refinance debt, would prohibit the issuance of capital appreciation bonds and would limit the ability of districts to issue debt beyond the amount indicated in statute. IEA and numerous other education organizations opposed this bill (which had subject matter testimony only in committee) because it severely limits the ability of school districts to operate and address their financial needs.

HB 670 (Morrison, R-Palatine) would alter driver’s education requirements, including allowing school districts to contract for driver’s education with commercial driver training schools without having to go through the waiver process; allowing school districts to use simulators for up to five of the six clock hours required for practice driving; and, allowing districts to adopt policies permitting proficiency exams after students complete three hours of practice driving under direct instruction.  IEA opposed the bill, along with along with the Illinois High School and College Driver’s Education Association and the Illinois Secretary of State. The bill failed in committee on a vote of 4-15.

Tell your senator to oppose Senate “grand bargain”
On Tues., Feb. 28, the Senate is planning to vote on a budget scheme that includes the governor’s anti-worker proposals to unconstitutionally cut pensions, restrict treatment and compensation for injured workers and privatize public services. IEA members will receive a call from President Cinda Klickna asking they contact their state senators to oppose these measures.

School funding
House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) announced a new, bipartisan school funding task force to continue the conversation from the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission and to address issues unanswered by the commission’s report of Feb 1.

The task force will be comprised solely of members of the House of Representatives. Speaker Madigan has named 12 House Democrats to the task force, but no information is yet available from the House Republicans on who will be appointed from that caucus. The 12 House Democrats are: Reps. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora), Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood), William Davis (D-East Hazel Crest), Marcus Evans (D-Chicago), Laura Fine (D-Glenview), Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville), Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), Emily McAsey (D-Romeoville), Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), Elgie Sims (D-Chicago) and Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago).

Important dates
Mar. 17 – Bills out of committee (Senate)
Mar. 31 – Bills out of committee (House)
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.
Senate calendar
House calendar

Next week:
The Senate will next be in session Tues., Feb.28. To be connected to the latest information, “like” IEA on Facebook, follow IEANEA on Twitter and bookmark the IEA website.