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Springfield Session Week in Review - March 28, 2014

3/28/2014
Session promptly resumed after Governor Pat Quinn delivered the State Budget Address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chambers Wednesday. Here are some of the highlights from “committee deadline week” - the last days for committee action on chamber-of-orgin bills from both chambers.

IFT Initiatives
Data Privacy Bill Passes Senate Education Committee
SB 3092 (sponsored by Sen. William Delgado), a bill that limits personally identifiable information by the State Board or public school. This bill cleared its first hurdle this week, passing the Senate Education committee 13-0-1.

K-2 Assessments Assigned to Committee
SB 3460 (sponsored by Sen. Bill Cunningham) prohibits the State Board of Education and school districts from administering assessments to K-2 students for any reason other than diagnostic purposes. The bill was assigned to Senate education committee this week where it will stay until Sen. Cunningham holds his subject matter hearing on testing April 25.
 
Testing Review Committee
HB 5330 (sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa-Lavia) creates a testing review committee that will 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. The committee makeup includes teachers, parents, school board members, an early childhood educator and other stakeholders.
 
Senate Education Sub-Committee on Charter Schools
The IFT supported three measures that passes the Senate Sub-Committee on Charter schools this week:
 
Charter Commission Back Under ISBE
SB 2627 (sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford) would move the Charter school commission back under the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), passed by a 2-1 vote.
 
Charter School Approval Via Referendum
SB 2779 (sponsored by Sen. Linda Holmes) that provides that if the State Charter School Commission reverses a local school board's decision to deny, revoke, or not renew a charter, the reversal may not be implemented unless the question is submitted to voters via referendum, passed by a 2-1 vote.
 
Charter School Accountability
SB 3303 (sponsored by Sen. Jacqueline Collins) takes the power to run a lottery away from the charter schools and puts it in the hands of the school's "authorizer" and includes provisions revamping how charter schools manage their funding. It also requires ISBE to conduct a study to determine the impact of charter schools and whether different categories of students are being equitably and fully served. The bill passed by a 2-1 vote.
 
Senate Education Committee

Teaching Organized Labor in Schools
SB 2682 (sponsored by Sen. Michael Hastings) clarifies the mandate on what is taught in regards to organized labor in school, passed by a 9-5 vote. The IFT supported this change in committee.


Charter Bills in House
Charter School Transparency and Reform
HB 6005 (Sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and Rep. Monique Davis) is a CTU initiative that makes various changes to the charter law including how the entry lottery to Charter Schools works, a requirement of public funds to follow a student who transfers from a Charter School back to a school in the same or a different public school district, and a requirement that public funds follow a student who transfers from a Charter School back to a school in the same or a different public school district, passed House Education Committee by a 8-3 vote and now awaits a vote by the full House.
 
Charter Application Process Changes
HB 4237 (sponsored by Rep. Linda Chapa La Via) is an IEA initiative that removes the ability of any state entity to overturn the decision of a local school board to deny a charter school application, passed House Education Committee by a vote of 11-1 and awaits a vote by the full House.
 
House Personnel and Pensions Committee
IMRF 13th Check
HB 3898 (sponsored by Rep. Deborah Conroy) eliminates the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) 13th check, passed Personnel and Pensions Committee by a 10-0 vote. IFT opposed the legislation and will continue to work against the bill on the House floor.
 
Felony Convictions/Suspended Annuity
HB 5816 (sponsored by Rep. Darlene Senger) adds felony convictions to the list of offenses by which an annuity can be suspended, passed Personnel and Pensions committee by a 8-1 vote. IFT continues to monitor the legislation.

Session resumes on Tuesday, April 1 (April Fool's Day).
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