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Budget discussions continue as May 31 deadline approaches

by Beth Camplain | May 12, 2018
Highlights of last week's action include: budget proposals, breastfeeding protections, school discipline policies, and more.
Legislative update 5.12.18

As the May 31 budget deadline approaches, committees wind down and the House and the Senate focus on passing bills to send to the governor.

Here are highlights of last week’s action:


Senate committee questions the governor’s budget proposals
The Senate appropriations committees met to talk about the governor’s budget proposals. School superintendents testified against the governor’s proposal to shift pension costs on to local school districts, noting their districts cannot afford the additional cost. The governor has also proposed to drastically cut health insurance benefits for public and university employees. Senator Manar criticized the governor’s office for not introducing any legislation with the details of the governor’s plans. He was particularly concerned that the cost shift proposal would undo any progress made by school funding reform legislation passed last year.

Next week another joint committee is scheduled to discuss the governor’s proposed cost savings for higher education.


Fiscal year 2019 budget
Legislative leaders met to discuss a path forward on budget and revenue for the coming fiscal year as well as for FY18 supplemental appropriations. In addition to these discussions, rank-and-file legislators and budgeters continue to meet in legislative working groups. The IFT continues to advocate for: at least an additional $400M in EBM funding, teacher induction and mentoring funding, funds to support national board-certified teachers, district intervention funding, additional funding for higher education, maintaining state agency funding at previous fiscal year levels, maintaining state employee health care benefits, and funding pensions.  


Breastfeeding protections for working moms advances
HB 1595 (Stuart), introduced by IFT, requires employers to provide nursing moms the time needed to express milk and ensures that they are not forced to take time off to do so. The language of the bill continues to be negotiated but was approved this week by the Senate Labor Committee 16-0-0.


Accountability bill moves closer to final passage
HB 5588 (Crespo) changes references in state laws from the old version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, No Child Left Behind, to the new version, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Additionally, it makes changes necessary to implement accountability changes included in the state plan created as a requirement of ESSA. The bill was approved by the House, amended in the Senate to include changes suggested by the IFT, and is currently on the 2nd reading in the Senate.


School discipline “trailer”
Citing concerns with the implementation of SB 100, Senator Lightford has introduced SB 2347, a trailer bill that would mandate training on SB 100 and school discipline policies as well as require school board discipline policies to be based on restorative justice and trauma informed practices. The bill is pending approval in the Senate.

The Illinois State Board of Education meets next week Wednesday May 16th. The Board agenda can be found here.


A look ahead
Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be in session next week. Watch Under the Dome for updates.

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