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Contact your lawmakers
Now more than ever, it’s important that your elected officials hear from you. Office visits and phone calls are the most powerful way to contact them. Here’s how to find information and make your voice heard.


The Illinois AFL-CIO Legislative Directory app contains updated information on your state and federal elected officials. Search for “Illinois AFL-CIO” in the GooglePlay or Apple store to purchase today.

The directly includes:
•    Address, phone, e-mail, website, and social media info
•    Guidelines for effective lobbying
•    Maps
•    Committee assignments
•    Seating charts
•    Legislative and state agencies

Use the directory to choose an elected official, then email or call lawmakers at the click of a button from within the app!


You can also look up your legislators through the Illinois State Board of Elections.

  1. Be prepared
    Know what points you want to stress. When possible, explain how this affects you or your members.

  2. Be brief
    Your time and the legislator's time are valuable. Stick to the point. Don't discuss more than two issues per meeting; on is best.

  3. Identify
    Always identify yourself as a union member and constituent.

  4. Be polite
    Thank the legislator for past assistance. Be confident and straightforward without being rude.

  5. Get an answer
    Listen to the legislator's answers. Don't interrupt what is said. Ask the legislator his/her position and get a specific answer.

  6. Call back
    When a legislator is undecided, get back to him or her with more information and ask again for a specific position.

  7. Be honest
    Never lie, betray a confidence, threaten or misrepresent facts, or criticize other legislators or opposing groups.

  8. Visit
    Face-to-face visits at the district office or the Capitol are best. When possible, bring four or five union or community members to emphasize the importance of the issue.

  9. Letters
    Short ONE-PAGE letters written in your own words are also effective. They should cover only one issue. Explain your position, urge the legislator to take a specific action, and ask for his/her position on the issue.

  10. Phone calls
    Make notes on points you wish to stress and ask for specific action. Be polite to staff answering the phones.

  11. E-mail
    When speed is necessary, use an e-mail to get your message across. To ensure the message reaches its destination, you should follow with a call or letter via the mail.

  12. Postcards
    These are an effective tool to offset opposition postcard campaigns.

  13. Attend meetings
    Union members need to be present at legislators' district meetings to raise labor's concerns.


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• The League of Women Voters

Legislative Update – Week of November 26

by Amy Excell | Nov 29, 2018
The General Assembly concluded veto session action this week. Learn about the status of important measures that impact IFT members.
The Illinois General Assembly ended its fall veto session on Thursday. Action was focused on overriding vetoes issued by outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner. Several bills of interest to the IFT were considered, though some weren’t acted on in both chambers. 

The legislative landscape is expected to change dramatically in January when Democrats will hold a supermajority in each chamber and IFT-endorsed Governor-elect JB Pritzker will be sworn in. 
Here are highlights of this week's action:

Minimum teacher salary bill not called for an override
Gov. Rauner previously vetoed this legislation to increase the minimum teacher salary, but a motion to override the veto was not considered this week. 

SB 2892 (Manar) would phase-in updated minimum mandated salaries for teachers each year for the next four school years, reaching a $40,000 minimum in 2022-23. After that, increases would be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and subject to review by the General Assembly. 

The measure will be reintroduced in the next legislative session, when we are hopeful it will pass. JB Pritzker has pledged, “I will sign this bill if I’m elected governor.” The IFT was a vocal advocate for SB 2892 and will continue to advocate for it.
Charter commission bill veto override fails
HB 5175 (Hoffman) would create a charter school application process where only locally-elected school boards and parents could decide if a charter school is good for their community. The bill allows a charter applicant to appeal to the courts under judicial review if it is believed the application review process was not performed as outlined in statute. 

The bill passed both the House and Senate in the Spring, then Gov. Rauner vetoed it in August. The House overrode the Governor’s veto, but the override motion failed in the Senate.
3 percent pay increase repeal left unaddressed – for now
Lawmakers did not consider the repeal of the 3 percent state liability limitation on end-of-career pay increases during this veto session. The IFT will re-introduce the measure in 2019.
IL State Board of Education now to include educators 
The House and Senate overrode Rauner’s veto of HB 4284, a bill that requires at least three members of ISBE be representatives of the education community. Currently, the governor appoints members of the 8-member board with the consent of the Illinois Senate. IFT strongly supported this bill.

Override of Rauner’s class size goals veto loses by 1 
A motion to override the governor’s veto of HB 5481, a bill that would help the state gather better data related to class sizes, fell just one vote short of passage in the House. The bill would require ISBE to report pupil-teacher ratio data and set class size goals to be achieved by 2020-21. The IFT supports this measure.
Leaders continue to review financial waivers
A 2017 law streamlined the school district waiver request process by requiring ISBE to send waiver requests to a panel of the four legislative leaders (rather than the entire General Assembly) for approval. HB 1262 would require requests to waive state mandates regarding maximum tax levy rates, interfund transfers, payments from taxes levied for operations and maintenance, or transportation be considered by the full General Assembly rather than the legislative panel. IFT took a neutral position on this legislation. 
Charter accountability bills introduced
HB 5995 (Martwick) and HB 5997 (Welch) were introduced during this veto session to bring light to the ongoing need for charter school accountability. Though neither bill saw action, both bills are expected to be reintroduced in the spring session. 
Watch Under the Dome for legislative updates when the new legislative session begins in January.


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