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Legislative update for the week of February 25

by Beth Camplain | Mar 04, 2019
Highlights from the legislative update include: new ISBE board appointed, the latest bill action, and a look at what is in store for this week.

Starting March 4, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly will be in session until the legislative spring break in mid-April. The scheduled deadline to pass bills out of committees is March 22, and the deadline to pass bills out of the first chamber is April 12.

New State Board of Education appointed, new state superintendent hired

Governor Pritzker appointed eight new members and reappointed one member to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) this week. Members were sworn in on Tuesday. One of their first actions was to select a new superintendent, Dr. Carmen Ayala. Dr. Ayala began her service as State Superintendent of Education on March 1.

Bill action last week

HB 190 (Ford, D-Chicago) requires schools to connect at-risk students in need of academic support to either community-based or in-school academic support. Each school must inform parents of an at-risk student about those community supports. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing & Charter School Committee.

HB 1559 (Hernandez, D-Cicero) defines "media literacy" and provides that, beginning with the 2019-20 school year, every public high school may include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on media literacy. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee.

HB 2100 (Welch, D-Westchester) provides that on July 1, 2020, the State Charter School Commission will be abolished and all of its responsibilities will transfer to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The bill also provides for transfer of charter school authorization to local school boards. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing & Charter Committee.

HB 2177 (Unes, R-Pekin) provides that a school board may posthumously award a diploma to any service member who was killed in action while performing active military duty in the armed forces. The bill passed the House Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee.

HB 253 (Guzzardi, D- Chicago) changes the law to ensure that graduate research assistants are recognized as employees, just as teaching assistants are. The bill passed the House Labor Committee.

All of these bills have been sent to the House floor for further consideration.

A look ahead

  • On March 5, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hear testimony from ISBE regarding their FY20 budget request.

  • The House Labor and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on HB 2113 (Skillicorn, R-Crystal Lake) on March 6. The bill would authorize independent bargaining for non-members. IFT opposes this legislation.

  • The Senate Labor Committee will hold a hearing on SB 1474 (Villivalam, D- Chicago) on March 6. This bill would preempt localities from enacting right-to-work ordinances. IFT supports this legislation.

  • Work continues on HB 350 (Willis, D-Northlake), which would repeal the 3% salary limitation on the state pension liability for members of the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the State Universities Retirement System (SURS). The bill was positioned for House passage this week. Call your Representative TODAY to urge his or her support for this important legislation.

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