This week, the Illinois General Assembly concluded their two-week veto session.  It was one of the most active veto sessions in recent years, mostly because the Governor vetoed so many bills. According to the ILGA website, there were 39 total vetoes by Governor Rauner this year. To date, 15 have been overridden and 22 still stand. Prior to this year, the governor had been overridden just once.

One of the more significant pieces of legislation that the General Assembly narrowly failed to override was SB 1905. The bill would have limited the ability of local entities to impose changes to collective bargaining agreements as they relate to private sector labor unions. Despite only receiving 70 of the 71 votes needed in the House, the Illinois Attorney General has already opined that the state constitution does not give local authorities the power to alter such contracts.

The Illinois General Assembly will return in early January. At that time, the passage of any new legislation will only require a simple majority vote. Additionally, much of the focus will shift to the 2018 primary election in March.

Substitute Teacher Shortage

HB 3298 (Scherer, D-Decatur) allows individuals who get a Substitute Teaching License for the first time, or at the point of renewal for individuals who currently hold a Substitute Teaching License, to apply for a refund of the application or registration fee if that person taught a minimum of 10 full school days within one year of issuance or renewal, whichever is applicable. The governor vetoed this legislation, which IEA supported, earlier this year. The veto was overridden by the General Assembly on Nov. 8 and the bill is now law.

Revenue

SB 444 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill, Murphy, D-Des Plaines) passed the Illinois General Assembly on Nov. 9 and addresses issues arising from the new evidence-based funding formula established by Public Act (PA) 100-0465.  Currently, school districts are receiving base minimum funding (based on the amount the district received in the previous fiscal year), but the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is still collecting data and finalizing the calculations to distribute new money appropriated by the General Assembly through the new evidence-based funding model.  SB 444 addresses two issues ISBE says need to be resolved in order to make the final calculations and distribute the Tier funding. The two changes concern Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) adjustments and the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) EAV and how they are used in determining a district’s local wealth.

ISBE initiates these changes because they are necessary to finalize the calculations to distribute the Tier funds for the evidence-based model.  It is important to note that both the PTELL and EAV adjustment language in SB 444 were assumed in the financial analysis model ISBE ran prior to PA 100-0465 becoming law.

This bill passed both chambers and will now be sent to the governor for action.

SB 851 (Mussman-D, Schaumburg), as amended, would freeze the property tax extensions for taxing districts with a majority of their EAV in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, and Will counties for two years. SB 851 would not allow a district’s tax extension to be any more in levy years 2017 and 2018 than it was in levy year 2016 without voter approval. The IEA opposes this bill, as amended, because it will reduce local revenue that is used to fund our local public schools.

The proposal passed the House 75-32 and now is in the Senate. The Senate could act on this bill when they come back in session in 2018. See how your state representative voted here.

If you plan on meeting or contacting your state Senator over the next couple months, please talk to them about this bill and the impact it will have on public schools. A fact sheet for SB 851 can be found on the IEA website.

Resolutions

HJR 83 (Feigenholtz, D-Chicago) urges those in government to commit to working to change the culture that breeds sexual harassment. IEA supported this resolution. It passed both chambers unanimously.

HJR 86 (Thapedi, D-Chicago) The joint resolution urges those in state government to commit to working to change the culture of racism within state government. IEA supported this resolution. It passed both chambers unanimously.

Federal

Congress is currently working on H.R.1, a rewrite of the U.S. tax code. NEA expects the bill to be on the House floor as early as next week and is urging members to contact their U.S. Representatives to vote against this plan.

At the state level, the IEA is supporting SR 1067, a resolution opposing the exemptions in the federal tax proposal. In addition, the Illinois House of Representatives has introduced HJR 85 and HR 672 which oppose any and all efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to eliminate the state and local tax deductions. IEA supports both of the resolutions.

Calendar for upcoming session

Illinois House of Representatives Calendar for 2018

Illinois Senate Calendar for 2018

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