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Legislative update 5.20.16

With only nine days left until the end of scheduled session, the legislature has yet to pass a state budget for either FY 2016 or 17.
Here are the highlights of this week’s action:

Anti-Rauner rally a huge success
Labor showed up in force this week at a the “Rauner Is Wrong” rally on Wednesday. More than 10,000 Illinoisans descended on Springfield to protest the Governor’s cuts to human services and his union- weakening agenda. Protesters gathered at the Old State Capitol, then walked to the Governor’s mansion before marching to the State Capitol for the rally. Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Mike Madigan spoke to the massive crowd, while a host of other members from both sides of the aisle greeted rally-goes and supporters.

This overwhelming display of activism garnered the attention of political leaders and the press, both locallly and nationally. Even Rachel Maddow from MSNBC took notice.
Governor vetoes state employee arbitration bill
Governor Rauner (again) vetoed legislation that would allow state employee unions to seek binding arbitration as an alternative if they can’t reach agreement on a contract with the Governor. HB 580, (Rep. Chris Welch, D-Westchester), will now go back to the House for a vote to override Rauner’s veto. A three-fifths majority (71 votes) is needed to override. The IFT and our members in the Illinois Federation of Public Employees (IFPE), Local 4408, strongly support this bill.

City College elected board bill advances

IFT supports HB 4312 (Rep. Martwick, D-Chicago), legislation that establishes an elected City Colleges of Chicago board of trustees. It provides for a board that would be directly responsible to the citizens of Chicago and give a forum for the role that these colleges have in the education of students. The legislation passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 112-2.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

More MAP funding heads to Rauner’s desk

HB 4167 (Rep. Madigan, D-Chicago) provides for additional Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding for fiscal year 2016. This measure would fully fund the program by bringing total FY 16 funding to more than $400 million. The measure passed both chambers and is headed to the Governor.       

Change in when five-year olds may enroll in Kindergarten

HB 2736 (Rep. Arroyo, D-Chicago) will allow children who turn five on or before December 1, 2016 to enter Kindergarten at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Currently, only those children who turn five on or before September 1 of each school year are allowed to enroll. This change could lead to larger and relatively younger Kindergarten classes. The measure passed the House Elementary and Secondary Curriculum and Policies Committee and now heads to the House for a vote.

“Breakfast After the Bell” program overcomes hurdles

SB 2393 (Rep. Pritchard, R-Sycamore) requires schools and districts throughout the state to establish a “Breakfast After the Bell” program. Qualifying schools (those with 70 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch) must provide breakfast, but they may choose to serve students before or after the instructional day has begun. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is required to establish and share guidelines for acceptable breakfast programs and collect data about participation. ISBE is also expected to collaborate with nonprofit groups, philanthropies, and districts to communicate and identify best practices in equity, the opportunity gap, hunger and food security issues, and improving student access to school breakfast. The bill passed the Senate and House Education Committees and now heads to the House for a floor vote.

Social-emotional screenings required in grades K, 2, and 6

SB 565 (Sen. Lightford, D-Maywood and Rep. Lilly, D-Chicago) will require children enrolling in Kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades to submit proof of a health screening, which must include an age-appropriate developmental, social, and emotional screening. (The screening would be in addition to the physical, dental, and vision exams currently required.) Once proof of the screening has been provided, a school may – with the consent of the parent or guardian – make available support personnel to work with the parent or guardian to obtain appropriate services for students as needed. The measure now heads to the House floor.

Movement anticipated on charter commission bill

HB 397 (Sen. Holmes, D-Aurora) is scheduled to be heard in Senate Education Committee next week. The IFT support this effort to return charter authorization back to local school boards.

A look ahead

Lawmakers in both chambers will return to Springfield on Monday, May 23. Watch Under the Dome for updates.




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