Members of the Illinois House and Senate met for the final days of the 101st General Assembly from Friday, January 8 through Wednesday, January 13 when the 102nd General Assembly was inaugurated.
During the lame duck session, the legislature considered and voted on several major pieces of legislation including a racial equity and social justice package put forward by the Legislative Black Caucus, restoration of bargaining rights for employees in the Chicago Public Schools, and COVID-related measures around disability and unemployment (HB 4276).
The racial equity and social justice package put forward by the Legislative Black Caucus included the following bills to address four issue “pillars”:
Education and workforce development (HB 2170),
Criminal justice reform (HB 3653),
Health care (HB 3840).
IFT participated in several subject matter hearings throughout the summer regarding the education and workforce development legislation (HB 2170). Click here for detailed summary. IFT worked to get several proposals we opposed taken out of the legislation. Because of our efforts, the bill doesn’t include language that would have added 20 days without pay to each of the next three school years, mandated new math and literacy assessments, and expanded the Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program.
Priority legislation of the IFT and Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) was approved by the Senate and is expected to be signed into law by the Governor. House Bill 2275 and House Bill 1559 restore collective bargaining rights to employees in the Chicago Public Schools. This reverses one of the anti-labor provisions of the school reform legislation passed in 1995.
The Legislature also passed language allow public school teachers to apply for pension service credit for time spent teaching in a private school (SB 3027) and a bill to address problems with the use of isolation and seclusion rooms in Illinois schools (HB 2263).
The 102nd General Assembly was sworn into office Wednesday, January 13. History was made when State Representative Chris Welch was elected Speaker of the House. Speaker Welch is the first Black person to ever hold the position. The IFT congratulates Speaker Welch on his election and we look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.