The House and Senate returned for the fall veto session this week, marking their first session since May. Although the fall session has traditionally revolved around debating legislation vetoed by the Governor, the legislature can also consider other legislation during this period. No action was taken this week to override any of the Governor’s vetoes. However, several other issues were discussed including:
Invest in Kids
Democrat Rep. Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar introduced HB 4194 earlier this week. The bill proposes extending the Invest in Kids program for an additional five years, while reducing the maximum tax credit for donors from $1 million to $500,000. However, there has been no action taken by the legislature on this bill or the Invest in Kids Act.
Invest in Kids was a demand made by Bruce Rauner in the 2017 school funding legislation. The program created a voucher-like system, providing tax credits to wealthy donors who fund private school scholarships. As a result of this program, nearly $300 million has been diverted from the state budget that could have otherwise supported public schools that serve all students. Contact your lawmaker or Governor Pritzker and urge them to oppose any extension or expansion of the Invest in Kids voucher program. This program:
Has zero data demonstrating improved academic outcomes for students receiving scholarships/vouchers.
Supports schools openly engaging in discrimination against students based on gender identity, immigration status, and religion.
Supports schools that openly deny access to students with special needs.
SB0457 was filed during the fall veto session in response to the Governor’s veto of HB3643. The Governor vetoed the bill due to the absence of funds for the mandate. SB 457 would make it mandatory for schools to provide kosher and halal food options, subject to appropriation. The legislation retains all the previous requirements of HB3643, including the requirement for ISBE to enter into a statewide master contract with a vendor to provide prepackaged meals for schools. The bill has passed the Senate and has now reached the House.
Continued Work on an Elected School Board for Chicago
Under a bill and trailer bill passed by the Illinois General Assembly in recent years, Chicago’s board of education will transition from a seven-member mayoral-appointed board to a 21-member elected school board by January 2027. Ten of 21 school board seats will be up for election during the general election in November 2024.
This week, Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) and Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) filed legislation allowing elected Chicago’s school board members to receive compensation. The bill does not mandate the school district to provide a salary or set minimums for how much school board members get paid. The bill did not see any committee action, although there was discussion about the bill at a press conference. In addition to considering compensation, several crucial decisions remain pending before November 2024, when the first elections take place. The Senate Special Committee on the Chicago Elected Representative School Board held two hearings in early October to discuss the makeup of the school board maps. The statutory deadline is April 1, 2024. It’s anticipated that the General Assembly may take action to approve the Chicago School Board maps during the second week (Nov 7-9) of the fall veto session to allow time for candidates to pass petitions prior to the March 2024 primary and general election in November. Chicago’s school board elections are nonpartisan.
A look ahead
Both the House and Senate will return to Springfield on Tuesday November 7th for the remaining days of the fall veto session.