One week and counting! That is how much time is left before the scheduled adjournment of the spring legislative session of the 101st Illinois General Assembly. Most of the discussions are focused solely on the passage of a budget and a possible capital bill. Our primary focus is on the repeal of the 3% salary cap. With the 3% repeal language being stricken from SB 1952, it is now incumbent for us to make sure it is included as part of the budget negotiations. We are having internal conversations with the budget negotiators, but we need you to continue your outreach to your state senator and state representative to ask them to repeal the 3% salary cap before they adjourn.

With so little time left, there are still some major decisions that need to be made around revenue. Several weeks ago, we highlighted some of the likely revenue options for consideration by the General Assembly. But with time running short, the options appear to be diminishing quickly. As we often remind you, nothing in the GA is ever dead until the gavel falls. Here are the revenue options that appear to be rising to the top:

  1. Cigarette tax: The Senate proposed a plan to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack. That increase is about three times the 32-cents cigarette tax that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proposed in his budget plan. The increased cigarette tax would raise an additional $159 million in revenue for the state and save money on health costs.
  2. Managed care organization assessment is a tax on insurance providers. Under Medicaid managed care, the state pays the organizations for Medicaid patients and they provide coverage. In essence, MCOs are the middleman managing the Medicaid money. The tax will not only bring in more money, but also free up state dollars currently spent on Medicaid to be used elsewhere. The proposal is expected to generate approximately $390 million in revenue to cover a portion of the state’s Medicaid costs.
  3. Retailer’s Occupational Tax (ROT) is focused on taxing “remote” retailors. Under the proposal, marketplace facilitators would collect and remit ROT on behalf of third-party sellers, regardless of where their product comes from. Remote retailers selling directly to customers represent more than 40% of all online commerce. A conservative estimate is that the proposal would generate $260 million annually for Illinois.

We are encouraging the General Assembly to pass the revenue necessary to meet the budget proposal submitted by the Governor. That means increased funding for K-12 under the Evidence-Based Funding model and a 5% increase in funding for higher education.

Bills that passed out of the Senate chamber

HB247 provides that for a pupil of legal school age and in kindergarten or any of grades one through 12, a day of attendance shall be counted only for sessions of not less than five clock hours of school work per day. The IEA supports this bill and it passed the Senate with a vote of 41-14. This bill moves back to the House for concurrence.

HB254 the State Board of Education must make available on its website information about actively employed teachers within each school district, pupil-teacher ratios for each school district, class instructors by grade level and subject in each school district, and class size in each school. Requires each school district to report the information required for the state board’s report no later than November 16, 2021, and also make that information available on its website. The IEA supports this bill and it passed the Senate with a vote of 42-12-1. This bill moves back to the House for concurrence.

HB423 will make the provisions removing the requirement of passage of a test of basic skills applicable until June 30, 2025. Provides that, on or before July 1, 2025, the State Board of Education must reevaluate the method it uses to score a content area knowledge test and may adopt rules to make any changes to those methods. IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 55-0. Passed both Houses. 

HB921 provides that if an education support personnel employee is removed or dismissed as a result of a decision of the school board to decrease the number of education support personnel employed by the board or to discontinue some particular type of education support service and he or she accepts the tender of a vacancy within one calendar year from the beginning of the following school term, then that employee shall maintain any rights accrued during his or her previous service with the school district. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 56-0. Passed both Houses.

HB1472 amends the Downstate Teacher Article of the Illinois Pension Code. In the provision defining “eligible employment” for the purpose of allowing a teacher to return to teaching in subject shortage areas without impairing his or her retirement status or retirement annuity, changes the ending date of the employment from no later than June 30, 2019 to no later than June 30, 2021. IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 57-0. Passed both Houses. 

HB1554 provides that on or before Jan. 1, 2020, the task force shall prepare and submit a report to the General Assembly and the report shall, at a minimum: (1) recommend how the state can keep employers and jobs in Illinois; (2) identify and describe best practices to prevent outsourcing of Illinois jobs; and (3) identify employment sectors most affected by outsourcing. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 55-0. Passed both Houses.

HB1561 the threat assessment team shall include specified personnel and other members. Provides that a threat assessment protocol adopted by the school board shall be a public document and be posted on the school district’s website. IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 58-0. This bill moves back to the House for concurrence.

HB2087 provides that a school district’s decision to allow a student to take a portion of a driver education course through a distance learning program must be approved by the school’s administration, including the student’s driver education teacher and the student’s parent or guardian. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 52-0. Passed both Houses.

HB2152 provides that the monitoring measures of local partnership programs must include the ratio of clinical, non-student staff to student population and the number of linkage agreements and contracts in place based on student population. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 58-0. Passed both Houses.

HB2177 provides that, upon request, the school board of a school district that maintains grades 10 through 12 may posthumously award a diploma to any service member who was killed in action while performing active military duty in the armed forces of the United States if he or she: (1) resided in an area currently within the district; (2) left high school before graduating to serve in the armed forces of the United States; and (3) did not receive a high school diploma. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate with a vote of 55-0. Passed both Houses.

HB2884 amends the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Article of the Illinois Pension Code. Provides that if an employee was in the service of more than one employer described in provisions concerning certain educational employers, then the sick leave days from all such employers, except for employers from which the employee terminated service before the effective date of the amendatory act, shall be credited. The IEA supports this bill and it is passed the Senate with a vote of 56-0. This bill moves back to the House for concurrence.

Bills that passed out of the House chamber

SB28 provides that pupil participation in any of the following activities shall be counted toward the calculation of clock hours of school work per day: instruction in a college course in which a student is dually enrolled for both high school credit and college credit. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the House on a vote of 114-0. Passed both Houses.

SB1460 provides that if adequate funds are available, incentives under the program must include a one-time incentive of $3,000 payable to National Board certified teachers teaching in Tier 1 rural or remote school districts, an annual incentive of $3,200 for National Board certified teacher rural or remote candidate cohort facilitators, and an annual incentive of $2,500 for National Board certified teacher rural or remote liaisons. The IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the House with a vote of 110-1-2. Passed both Houses.

SB1731 provides that if licensed school personnel or an administrator obtains mental health first aid training outside of an in-service training program, he or she may present a certificate of successful completion of the training to the school district to satisfy the training requirements. IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the House with a vote of 115-0. Passed both Houses.

SB1919 the Illinois Community College Board shall establish and administer a 21st Century Employment grant program. The board must give priority to plans that demonstrate a formal articulation agreement between a public high school and a community college district. IEA supports this bill. This bill passed the House with a vote of 116-0. Passed both Houses.

Important dates

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

Next week:

  • Both the Senate and House are in session next week.
  • The Senate and House are scheduled to remain in session through May 31.