NEWS

Legislative Highlights for the Week of 3/7/22

Senators were back in districts last week, but the House of Representatives was busy passing almost 300 bills before meeting their Friday 3rd reading deadline. Bills that will advance to the Senate include:


Bills Impacting Educators and Support Staff

HB 1167 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville) is the new version of the COVID days legislation. The new agreement includes the wage protection provisions of the original bill (HB 2778) while limiting the use of COVID administrative days to those who are vaccinated or who get vaccinated within five weeks of the bill being signed into law. The bill passed the House 70-28-6.


HB 4139 (Rep. Scherer, D-Decatur) allows for eligible teachers to be reimbursed for tuition at a public college or university in Illinois for up to ten years. The bill passed the House 70 to 42.


HB 4230 (Rep. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville) affects applicants for a school bus drivers permit. If the applicant had their driver's license suspended within the 3 years prior - for the sole reason of failure to pay child support, they would still be allowed to receive the permit. The bill passed the House 99-1-0.


HB 4246 (Rep. Scherer, D-Decatur) lowers the lapsed license fee for educators from $500 to $50 and provides that a retired teacher, even if returning to a position that requires educator licensure, shall not be required to pay registration fees. Passed the House unanimously.

HB 4256 (Rep. McCombie, R-Sterling) allows a school district to waive, for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years only, the evaluation requirement of any teacher in contractual continued service whose performance during the last school year in which the teacher was evaluated was rated as either "excellent" or "proficient". The bill does not provide waiver applicability evenly, and some teachers with “excellent” or “proficient” evaluations could continue to be evaluated. The bill passed the House on a vote of 85-7-1 and now moves to the Senate where an amendment will be filed to try and fix some of the concerns.


HB 4316 (Rep. Mussman, D-Schaumburg) Faith’s Law (PA 102-0676) passed last year and prohibited sexual misconduct in schools. HB 4316 addresses the loophole for when those guilty of misconduct try to find a job in another district. Currently, there is no mechanism to ensure that a prospective new district would be warned of the school employee’s history, so even if one school is vigilant to address sexual misconduct against children, the district next door could unknowingly be exposing more children to danger. This bill requires prospective districts to ask about investigations/discipline related to allegations of sexual misconduct. The measure protects educators against false accusations by not requiring disclosure when investigations have shown an allegation to be false, unfounded, or unsubstantiated. Passed the House unanimously.


HB 5472 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville) extends the amount of time a retired educator can return to the classroom from 120 days to 140 days. The legislation extends this provision through the 2022 school year. The bill was approved by the House and will now move to the Senate for further consideration.


HB 5506 (Rep. Stuart, D-Collinsville) amends the Dual Credit Quality Act. The bill extends to 2025 the ability of individuals who currently have a master’s degree and have 9 hours towards an additional degree in which they are teaching to enter a professional development plan to continue instruction. Faculty of the higher education institution shall be notified of the dual credit partnership agreement within 15 days of its initiation or renewal. In addition, the partnership agreement between the High School and the higher education institution must assure the rigor for mixed enrollment classes that are attended by students not deemed ready for college-level coursework. The bill was approved by the House this week and will now move to the Senate for further consideration.


Bills Impacting Students

HB 3296 (Rep. Ness, D-Carpentersville) requires school districts, for grades 6 – 12, to implement a postsecondary and career expectations framework. For school districts that enroll grades 9 -12, shall become an eligible district and award College and Career Pathway endorsements as outlined in the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. Allows school board to opt out, if they can submit materials to the State Board of Education, demonstrating that they are currently doing similar work. Requires school districts to post program information on districts’ websites. the bill passed the House and will no head to the Senate for further consideration.


HB 4365 (Rep. Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) allows a student's IEP team to determine whether the special education program of a school district is unable to meet the needs of a child with a disability. In late February, ISBE filed emergency rules similar to the provisions of the bill that would allow for emergency and student-specific placements in nonapproved facilities when no approved facility accepts the student or has immediate placement availability. To qualify for reimbursement of the costs of these placements, districts must demonstrate good faith efforts to locate an approved facility and must ensure the facility meets the criteria as set forth in the emergency rules. Passed the House unanimously.


HB 4716 (Rep. Halpin, D-Rock Island) requires the State Board of Education, Secretary of State and other stakeholders to update course content and learning standards for the classroom and laboratory phases of driver education for novice teen drivers under the age of 18. Passed the House unanimously.


HB 5193 (Rep. Hirschauer, D-West Chicago) provides that every school district shall include safe gun storage information in schools' student handbooks. Passed the House 99-5.



School Operations

HB 4813 (Rep. Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria) exempts from contract bidding requirements contracts for goods, services, or management in the operation of a school's food service, including a school that participates in any of the United States Department of Agriculture's child nutrition programs. Passed the House unanimously.


Tax and Revenue Legislation

HB 448 (Rep. Walker, D-Arlington Heights) provides that, for levy years 2021 and later, the taxing district's aggregate extension base is the greater of the district's last preceding aggregate extension limit or the district's last preceding aggregate extension. The bill passed the House 93-11-0.


Assessment

HB 5285 (Rep. LaPointe, D-Chicago) prohibits the IL. State Board of Education from funding standardized tests for students in grades Prek-2nd. The bill doesn’t prohibit assessments used in screening for or diagnosis of disabilities. School districts still have the option to fund their own assessments. The bill passed the House 79-26-1.

Candidates File to Be Included on June 28th Primary Ballot

Monday March 7th was the first day of a weeklong period in which Democratic and Republican candidates looking to get on the June 28 primary ballot began filing nominating petitions. In the coming weeks IFT will send candidates questionnaires out and PAC meetings will be scheduled later this spring.


A look ahead

Both the House and Senate are in Springfield this week. Now that bills have been moved from their originating chamber the focus will move back to committee action on cross chamber bills. Legislators continue to meet in Appropriations Committees to take testimony and also privately to craft the FY23 state budget.


Check Under the Dome for additional legislative updates.





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