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Legislative update – Week of March 4

3/08/2019
The House and Senate were in session this week, and the Capitol buzzed with activity. Appropriations Committees heard from agencies and advocates, and legislative meetings were held to begin parsing together the FY2020 budget.
  
Highlights from this week’s action include:
Gov. Pritzker rolls out Fair Tax proposal that gives 97% of IL taxpayers a break 
Governor Pritzker announced details of his Fair Tax proposal this week. After years of fiscal instability and with a $3.2 billion budget deficit this year alone, Illinois must act now. We must stop shortchanging students, undermining universities, decimating social services, and watching our roads and bridges crumble. A Fair Tax with lower rates for lower income taxpayers and higher rates for our wealthiest citizens will bring tax relief for working families and produce stable, sustainable revenues. 

Following news of the governor’s proposal, IFT President Dan Montgomery said, “The Governor’s proposal asks the wealthy to pay their fair share, so we can invest in schools, higher education, and vital services – and that is something the IFT supports.”

Read the entire statement on the IFT website.

The Fair Tax must now be negotiated with the legislature. To be enacted, a constitutional amendment must be passed. 
House Personnel and Pensions Committee to hear testimony on retirement readiness and Tier II
On March 14, the House Personnel and Pensions Committee will discuss several bills designed to make changes to Tier II pensions. IFT and the Chicago Teachers Union (Local 1) have been invited to speak about the challenges Tier II presents, as well as its relationship to the teacher shortage. The committee is also expected to discuss HB 2242 (Slaughter, D- Chicago), a bill that provides protections for the educators and PSRP’s working in Chicago charter schools who are members of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
Minimum teacher salary bill advances
Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Collinsville) advanced HB 2078 out of the House Education Administration, Licensing and Charters Committee this week. The bill raises the statewide minimum salary for public school teachers to $40K by 2023. Currently, minimum mandated salaries are set at $11K for teachers with a Master’s degree and $10K for those with a Bachelor’s. The IFT supports HB 2078, and an identical bill, SB 10 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) and believes they would be significant steps towards addressing the state’s teacher shortage.
Action on key bills
The following legislation was discussed and advanced this week:

SB 185 (Lightford, D-Maywood) authorizes and provides a calculation for funding Regional Offices of Education (ROE) for grants to fund alternative schools, safe schools, and alternative learning programs for FY2019. The bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee and later advanced to Third reading.

HB 355 (Batinick, R-Plainfield) expands the list of available professional development to include training on inclusive practices in the classroom examining instructional and behavioral strategies improving academic and social-emotional outcomes for all students in a general education setting. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing & Charter School Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 1475 (Bryant, R-Mt. Vernon) establishes school district protocols for caring for students who have epilepsy or seizure-related occurrences. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration. IFT is opposed to HB 1475, but is working with Rep. Bryant to amend it.
 
HB 2087 (Carroll, D-Northbrook) provides that, under no circumstances, may a student take the entire driver education course through a distance learning program. This change is in response to a recently passed ISBE administrative rule. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 2668 (Robinson, D-Chicago) requires ISBE to develop opportunity zones to provide services to students and families at school. The initiative mirrors Community Schools supported by IFT and AFT. IFT is working with the Rep. Robinson to flesh out his idea. The bill passed the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 2719 (Ammons, D- Champaign) seeks to nearly double the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty Board. The bill passed the House Higher Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration. 

HB 2802 (Welch, D-Chicago) extends the time from 45 to 60 days for the regional superintendent to fill school board member vacancies. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing & Charter School Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 2822 (West, D- Rockford) provides that ISBE's school report cards must include the most current data on the percentage of students who participated in job shadowing and have completed an internship, as well as whether a school offered its students vocational training opportunities. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 2868 (Scherer, D-Decatur) requires the State Board of Education to develop a work-based learning database to help facilitate relationships between school districts and businesses and expand work-based learning in the state. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 2968 (Davis, D-East Hazel Crest) allows an annuitant of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund to return to work for up to 120 days (currently limited to 100 days). The bill was approved by the House Personnel & Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.
In the week ahead 
The House and Senate return March 12, and lawmakers will remain in session every week until their spring break (April 13-28). Keep watching Under the Dome for the latest information on key legislation and ways you can take action.




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