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Legislative update 5.15.17

The House and Senate returned to Springfield last week to consider bills in committee. Press reports revealed that Senate President Cullerton was meeting with Governor Rauner in an effort to negotiate a second “grand bargain” after the Governor killed the first version earlier this spring. It appears those talks stalled, however, after Governor Rauner continued to make unacceptable demands. With less than three weeks remaining before the scheduled end of session, President Cullerton said the Senate needs to move on and work towards passing a budget.

Here are other highlights of this week’s action in Springfield:
House holds school funding task force hearing
Last week, IFT’s legislative update detailed the Senate’s discussion about the differences between SB 1 (Manar) and SB 1124 and 1125 (Barickman), two competing school funding plans being considered. This week, the House took on the discussion, but with only one bill – HB 2808.

Rep. William Davis presented an amendment to HB 2808 that attempts to bring SB 1, SBs 1124, and 1125 together, taking what he believes to be the best pieces from each. Like these bills, HB 2808 is built on the evidence-based funding model. Once again, funding for Chicago public schools was the sticking point among lawmakers.   

The IFT will continue to track the school funding efforts in Springfield. Stay tuned for updates.
House Education Committee action
The following item was approved this week and now heads to the full Senate for approval:

Resolution to form kindergarten advisory group to study early childhood transitions
HJR 24 (Willis) - Requests that the P-20 Council of the Illinois State Board of Education, in collaboration with the Early Learning Council, establish an Advisory Committee for the purposes of reviewing and making recommendations on transitions from early childhood programs to kindergarten. Stakeholders. including k-12 educators, would be included in these discussions.
House approves education-related resolutions
The following resolutions were approved this week:

Concern about weigh of school backpacks
HJR 38 (Guzzardi) - Addresses concerns with the weight of backpacks on students younger than 16. It urges that all school administrators, teachers, parents, and students be educated about the potential health impact of heavy backpacks and take proactive measures to avoid injury. The measure was adopted by the House and will be forwarded to State Supt. Tony Smith.

New high school proposed on Chicago’s West side
HJR 11 (Ford) - Urges Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago to address the need for a high school in the Austin community on the West Side, noting that the city is considering building a selective enrollment high school elsewhere in the city. Currently, students must travel to other parts of the city to attend school, while existing schools in the neighborhood stand vacant. Copies of the resolution will be sent to Mayor Emanuel and Governor Rauner.
Senate Education Committee action
The following items were approved this week and now head to the full Senate for approval:

HB 3215 (Wallace, Hunter) -  Requires schools to provide feminine hygiene products to students at no cost.

HB 826 (Lilly, Koehler) - Codifies in statute licensure requirements for school social workers and prohibits school social workers from providing services outside their employment to any student in the district. It makes a recommendation for a student to social worker ratio of 250 to 1.

HB 2369 (Harper, Hunter) - Requires public schools to provide reasonable accommodations to a lactating pupil to express breast milk.

HB 2540 (Willis, Harmon) -  Provides an appeals process through intermediate service centers for a school district that loses a petition to withdraw from its special education joint agreement program.

HB 3869 (Wallace, Hunter) - Requires in-service training for school personnel on cultural competency, including understanding implicit racial bias.

HB 3601 (Greenwood, Clayborne) – Encourages East St. Louis School District 189 to allow 11 and 12th grade students to take classes at Southwestern Illinois College for dual credit at no cost to the student.
A look ahead
Lawmakers in both chambers return on May 15. The deadline for Senate bills to be out of House committees is Friday, May 19.  Stay tuned for updates on any budget progress and other key action as the scheduled May 31 deadline approaches.



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