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Legislative Update – Week of November 26

The Illinois General Assembly ended its fall veto session on Thursday. Action was focused on overriding vetoes issued by outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner. Several bills of interest to the IFT were considered, though some weren’t acted on in both chambers. 

The legislative landscape is expected to change dramatically in January when Democrats will hold a supermajority in each chamber and IFT-endorsed Governor-elect JB Pritzker will be sworn in. 
Here are highlights of this week's action:

Minimum teacher salary bill not called for an override
Gov. Rauner previously vetoed this legislation to increase the minimum teacher salary, but a motion to override the veto was not considered this week. 

SB 2892 (Manar) would phase-in updated minimum mandated salaries for teachers each year for the next four school years, reaching a $40,000 minimum in 2022-23. After that, increases would be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and subject to review by the General Assembly. 

The measure will be reintroduced in the next legislative session, when we are hopeful it will pass. JB Pritzker has pledged, “I will sign this bill if I’m elected governor.” The IFT was a vocal advocate for SB 2892 and will continue to advocate for it.
Charter commission bill veto override fails
HB 5175 (Hoffman) would create a charter school application process where only locally-elected school boards and parents could decide if a charter school is good for their community. The bill allows a charter applicant to appeal to the courts under judicial review if it is believed the application review process was not performed as outlined in statute. 

The bill passed both the House and Senate in the Spring, then Gov. Rauner vetoed it in August. The House overrode the Governor’s veto, but the override motion failed in the Senate.
3 percent pay increase repeal left unaddressed – for now
Lawmakers did not consider the repeal of the 3 percent state liability limitation on end-of-career pay increases during this veto session. The IFT will re-introduce the measure in 2019.
IL State Board of Education now to include educators 
The House and Senate overrode Rauner’s veto of HB 4284, a bill that requires at least three members of ISBE be representatives of the education community. Currently, the governor appoints members of the 8-member board with the consent of the Illinois Senate. IFT strongly supported this bill.

Override of Rauner’s class size goals veto loses by 1 
A motion to override the governor’s veto of HB 5481, a bill that would help the state gather better data related to class sizes, fell just one vote short of passage in the House. The bill would require ISBE to report pupil-teacher ratio data and set class size goals to be achieved by 2020-21. The IFT supports this measure.
Leaders continue to review financial waivers
A 2017 law streamlined the school district waiver request process by requiring ISBE to send waiver requests to a panel of the four legislative leaders (rather than the entire General Assembly) for approval. HB 1262 would require requests to waive state mandates regarding maximum tax levy rates, interfund transfers, payments from taxes levied for operations and maintenance, or transportation be considered by the full General Assembly rather than the legislative panel. IFT took a neutral position on this legislation. 
Charter accountability bills introduced
HB 5995 (Martwick) and HB 5997 (Welch) were introduced during this veto session to bring light to the ongoing need for charter school accountability. Though neither bill saw action, both bills are expected to be reintroduced in the spring session. 
Watch Under the Dome for legislative updates when the new legislative session begins in January.



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