Bill Updates

The week of April 24 was a busy one, with the House third reading deadline on Friday. Bills that passed the House moved to the Senate. The legislature is scheduled to be in session through the end of May.

Charter Bill

HB768 (Welch, D-Hillside) removes provisions allowing the State Charter School Commission to reverse a school board’s decision to deny, revoke, or not renew a charter; It also provides that, if a charter school applicant submits a proposal to a school board outside of the process adopted by that school board for receiving charter school proposals on an annual basis, the applicant shall have no right to submit its proposal to the Commission. IEA supports the legislation, which passed the House.

Substitute Teacher Shortage

HB3298 (Scherer, D-Decatur) would allow districts to waive fees for any new or renewing substitute teacher after the teacher has worked up to 10 school days. This legislation, which is intended to help school districts attract potential substitute teachers, passed the House with IEA support.

Funding/Revenue Bills

Under HB156 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg), anyone receiving an assessment freeze for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income would be barred from receiving the senior citizens assessment freeze homestead exemption or the long-time occupant homestead exemption for the same tax year. It also provides that a person receiving a statewide long-time occupant homestead exemption may not receive the long-time occupant homestead exemption in the same tax year. IEA opposes the legislation, which passed the House.

HB459 (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 the 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 address their financial needs. IEA opposed the legislation and it failed in the House

Higher Education Bill

Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, HB3447 (Welch, D-Hillside) requires each public university to reimburse its full-time resident undergraduate students a portion of the tuition charged. The reimbursement would be in the form of a grant applied directly to a student’s financial aid account. It provides that, to determine the per-pupil grant amount, the university shall calculate any difference between the current fiscal year’s aggregate appropriations for the university and fiscal year 2015 aggregate appropriations for the university, and divide that amount by the number of students enrolled in the previous academic year. IEA supports this legislation, which failed to pass and was placed on “postponed consideration.”

Education Policy Bills

SB0863 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) requires Illinois State Board of Education appointments made after the effective date of the Amendatory Act must represent the educator community. IEA supports the legislation, which passed the full Senate 37-21.

HB261 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) would allow school districts to provide housing assistance to families with students covered by the Education for Homeless Children Act if the assistance does not exceed the district’s costs for providing student transportation services. IEA supports the legislation, which passed the House.

HB3907 (Moylan, D-Des Plaines) amends the School Safety Drill Act, removing the requirement that law enforcement drills be conducted when students are present and provides for participation in drills by staff in the building. IEA supports the legislation, and it passed the House.

HB3644 (Stratton, D-Chicago) creates the Trauma, Resiliency, and Recovery Task Force as an independent Task Force under the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The bill was called on for a vote but did not pass and was put on postponed consideration. IEA supports this legislation.

HR304 (Riley, D-Olympia Fields) Representative Riley introduced this IEA initiative. It encourages all officers and employees of the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Illinois Department of Corrections, to become informed regarding well-documented detrimental short-term and long-term impacts to children and adults from serious traumatic childhood experiences. It also encourages them to implement evidence-based interventions and practices proven to be successful in developing resiliency in children and adults currently suffering from trauma-related disorders to help them recover from their trauma and function at their full capacity and potential in school, the workplace, and community, family, and interpersonal relationships. This bill is currently referred to the House Rules Committee. IEA supports this resolution.

Important Dates

  • 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.

Next Week:

Only the Senate will be in Springfield this week, starting Tuesday, May 2. The House will return on Tuesday May 9. To be connected to the latest information, “like” IEA on Facebook, follow IEANEA on Twitter and bookmark the IEA website.