NEWS arrow

Legislative update 3.6.15


Unions ask Circuit Court to halt Governor’s illegal action

On Thursday, the Illinois AFL-CIO and 26 unions (including the Illinois Federation of Teachers) that represent more than 40,000 Illinois state employees filed suit in circuit court to invalidate Gov. Bruce Rauner’s unlawful executive order that violates state law and multiple collective bargaining agreements by blocking state agencies from complying with the fair share provisions of those agreements.
In February, Rauner issued the illegal order and filed a related suit in federal court, suing two IFT local affiliates (the Illinois Federation of Public Employees - Local 4408 and the Illinois School for the Deaf Federation of Teachers - Local 919) and many other unions. This week’s action by the IFT and our union partners makes it clear that we will not tolerate the Governor's illegal actions or back down in our fight to protect the integrity of our constitution and our members’ rights.
Keep watching for updates.

The legislature reconvened in Springfield this week with a heavy committee schedule. There were several items of note that saw action, including parent opt-out for assessments, local control for charter schools, and a possible solution to filling the FY15 budget shortfall. Here are highlights of this week’s action:

State assessment opt-out option moves forward
HB 306 (Guzzardi) would provide that a student is not required to take a particular State assessment if the student's parent or guardian requests, in writing, that the student be excused. The bill cleared the House Elementary and Secondary Education Licensing Committee by a vote of 3-2-0, and now awaits a vote by the full House. IFT position = SUPPORT.

Committee votes to increase local control of Charter Schools
HB 397 (Welch) would amend the current statute to disallow the State Charter School Commission from reversing a school board's decision to deny, revoke, or not renew a charter. HB 397 was voted out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Charter School Policy Committee by a vote of 7-5. IFT position = SUPPORT.

Tuition waivers under attack again
HB 403 (Franks) would eliminate the 50% tuition waiver for children of university faculty and staff. Rep. Franks held a subject matter hearing on the bill on Wednesday to discuss potential amendments. IFT position = OPPOSE.
Save tuition waivers! ACT NOW.

Right-to-work [for less] is introduced
HB 4139 (Philips), a so-called right-to-work proposal, would provide that a person cannot be required to join or contribute to a labor organization as a condition of employment. The bill would provide employees the right to choose whether or not to become or remain a member of a labor organization, or to pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges to a labor organization. IFT position = OPPOSE.

Education funding discussions continue
SB 1 (Manar), The School Funding Reform Act of 2015, is a reintroduced version of last year’s Senate Bill 16, a proposal to replace Illinois’ outdated General State Aid (GSA) formula with a new, need-based system. Sen. Manar has presented subject matter testimony on SB 1 in the House Appropriations Committee, but is awaiting further data from Illinois State Board of Education before proceeding. IFT position = UNDER REVIEW.

Also on the topic of school funding, this week Speaker Madigan initiated the creation of a bipartisan Task Force on School Funding focused on studying the way in which the state distributes funding to Illinois’ public schools. The task force will be made up of Democratic and Republican members of the Illinois House, and will discuss how changes in the school aid formula could impact schools statewide. The group will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, March 11.

Rauner’s budget leaves $1.5 billion hole
SB 274 (Kotowski), Senate Amendment #1, addresses the funding insufficiency in the FY15 state budget. The Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee adopted this amendment by a vote of 9-0-5.

The FY15 budget was approved and enacted into law last year without sufficient revenue to fund operations through the end of the fiscal year. This resulted in a budget hole estimated at $1.5 billion. Over the past few weeks, certain state programs, including the Childcare Program, have begun to run short of money. The amendment to SB 274 is intended to provide the Governor with the authority to sweep a multitude of state funds and shift that money to keep key state programs and services afloat. In total, the sweep authority involves $579 million in revenue.

Of particular interest to IFT members are the following fund sweeps included in SA 1:
• Teachers Certification Revolving Fund - $1,998,661
• Illinois School Asbestos Abatement Fund - $83,036
• School Infrastructure Fund - $46,572,795.09

IDHA lobby day will promote oral hygiene for neediest Illinoisans
SB 1464 (Trotter) is an Illinois Dental Hygienists Association (IDHA)/Illinois Public Health Association initiative that would improve access to critical oral health care for Illinois' neediest populations. SB 1464 would provide underserved rural and urban populations in schools and senior homes statewide with access to adequate oral hygiene services. IFT position = SUPPORT

Join us for IDHA Lobby Day!
Wednesday, April 15
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Rms. 403 and 404
Illinois State Capitol

The House and Senate are scheduled to return on Tuesday, March 10.
Check the IFT Watch List to view additional legislative proposals the IFT is tracking.



    Copyright © 2019 Illinois Federation of Teachers