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Springfield Session Week in Review - March 21, 2014

With the primary election behind them, lawmakers returned to a busy week at the Capitol. Here are some of the major developments we have been following.
Minimum Wage Bill Advances:
SB 68 (sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford), a bill to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10.65 per hour over a three-year period, passed the Senate Executive Committee by a 10-5 vote on Thursday. The IFT supported this change in committee.
Taxing Millionaires to Bolster Education Funding:
HJRCA 51 (sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan) was filed on Thursday. This constitutional amendment proposes that an income tax surcharge shall be imposed on individuals making more than $1 million for the taxable year as well as directing that revenue collected to school districts on a per pupil basis. Read the IFT’s statement in response to this new proposal here.
Maintaining Higher Education Tuition Waivers:
HB 5385 (sponsored by Rep. Luis Arroyo) seeks to eliminate the 50 percent tuition waiver earned by university employees for their children to attend a public university in Illinois. This bill was not called in the House Higher Education Committee as planned, and IFT lobbyists are making good gains to stop this bill from being called at all.
Charter Authorizing Efforts Changing:
HB 3754 (sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia), a bill that moves the charter school commission back under the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), passed out of the House by a 78-33-1 vote on Thursday. Under this bill, charter-authorizing responsibility would go back to ISBE.
Testing Review Committee:
HB 5330 (sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia) is an IFT initiative to create a testing review committee that would complete a thorough review of all student assessments that are administered in Illinois. The committee would analyze the costs of developing, preparing students, administering, and grading these tests. This bill passed with unanimous support of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and now goes to the House floor for approval.
Session resumes on Tuesday, March 25. The Governor's budget address is scheduled for Wednesday, March 26.



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