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Legislative highlights for the week of May 14

Updated: May 18, 2021

This week, lawmakers rushed to move the remainder of legislation as the scheduled session adjournment date nears. Both chambers of the General Assembly adjourned for the weekend and will return to Springfield late afternoon on Monday, May 17, where they have just 13 session days to finalize the FY22 budget and address other big issues such as legislative redistricting.

Notable bill action this week:

Local School Board Council

SB 652 (Ramirez/Peters) provides that if the number of members serving on a local school council falls below seven members due to vacancies, then at least two of the four serving members of the local school council shall constitute a quorum for the sole purpose of convening a meeting to fill vacancies through appointments. SB 652 passed the House committee on a vote of 8-0-0.

School Food Program

SB 805 (Greenwood/Belt) requires school districts to establish a food sharing plan for unused food with a focus on needy students and incorporate the plan into its local wellness policy. SB 805 passed committee on a vote of 5-3-0.

Changing the EdTPA

SB 808 (Guzzardi/Murph) provides that to obtain a license under the Article, a student teacher candidate may not be required to videotape himself or herself or his or her students in a classroom setting. SB 808 passed the House committee as amended on a vote of 8-0-0.

School Support Personnel

SB 812 (Mussman/Bennett) requires the State Board of Education to make available on its website, not later than January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, the total number of personnel with a school support personnel endorsement and the pupil-to-school support personnel ratio, along with other information. SB 812 passed committee on a vote of 8-0-0.

Financial Changes for School Districts, Universities and Community Colleges

SB 813 (Mayfield/Johnson) provides that, with respect to the evidence-based funding formula and in recognition of the impact of COVID-19, the definition of "Average Student Enrollment" or "ASE" shall be adjusted for calculations for fiscal years 2022 – 2024. SB 813 passed the House committee on a vote of 5-3-0.

Mental Health Days for Students

SB 1577 (LaPointe/Martwick) allows students to be absent up to five days for mental or behavioral health without a medical note and shall be allowed to make up any schoolwork missed. House amendment 1 provides that the child, after the second mental health used, may be referred to the appropriate school support personnel. SB 1577 passed committee as amended unanimously.

Trauma Training Requirements

SB 2109 (Kifowit/Villa) requires school board members, administrators, and teachers to annually complete a course of instruction on the adoption of trauma-informed school standards. Passed committee on a vote of 5-3-0.

Student Records Transfer

SB 2434 (Lilly/Harmon) provides that school student records or information may be shared under an intergovernmental agreement with written parental or guardian consent, if the elementary school district and the high school district have attendance boundaries that overlap and are parties to an intergovernmental agreement that allows the sharing of student records and information between the districts. SB 2434 passed committee on a vote of 8-0-0.

Freedom Schools – Advanced Placement – Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

SB 820 (Lightford/Ammons) makes changes to the makeup of both the Inclusive American History Commission and the Whole Child Task Force.

  • In a statute related to Freedom Schools, makes references to historically disadvantaged students, rather than African American students.

  • Regarding accelerated placement, allows that for a student entering 12th grade, the next most rigorous level of advanced work in ELA or math shall be a dual credit course, an Advanced Placement Course or International Baccalaureate Course.

  • The bill also makes changes to the Early Intervention Services System, extending the allowance for young children with IEPs to continue to receive services until the beginning of the school year, following their 3rd birthday.

Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 14-9.

Student Play Time

SB654 (Peters/Ortiz) would require public schools to provide a 30 minutes of daily play time for all students in kindergarten through 5th grade. This bill passed the House Education Curriculum Committee on a vote of 14-9. It is being amended to remove required recess for middle schoolers.

Bullying Prevention

SB 673 (Collins/Gonzalez) makes changes to school code, as relates to the term “restorative measures,” and requires that this include alternatives to exclusionary discipline that increase student accountability if the incident of bullying is based on religion, race, ethnicity, or any other category that is identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act. Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 23-0.

Speech and Debate Classes Counted towards HS Diploma

SB 2354 (Rezin/McCombie) adds Speech and Debate to the music, art, foreign language, or vocational education elective that a pupil may choose to satisfy the one-year prerequisite that each pupil entering the 9th grade is required to successfully complete to receive a high school diploma. Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 23-0.

Educator Misconduct

SB 2357 (Dewitte/Crespo) requires that the notification regarding the dismissal or resignation of an individual holding a PEL must include the individual’s Illinois Educator ID number and a brief description of the alleged misconduct. This bill makes homicide conviction grounds for disqualification, revocation, or suspension of an educator licensure. Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 23-0.

Family Leave for part time educational employees

HB 12 (Costa Howard/Villivalam) would grant Family and Medical Leave to an employee of a school district, public university, or community college district who has been employed for at least 12 months and who has worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12-month period. The bill already passed out of the House and this week Senate Labor committee passed it by a vote of 12-3.

Collective bargaining rights for more state employees

SB 525 (Aquino/Halpin) would change the definition of confidential and managerial employee status to be based on actual job duties rather than the written job description. This change would allow some state employees to join a union and have collective bargaining rights. The legislation would also allow employee contracts under the constitutional officers to extend more than 12 months after the new officers are sworn in. Currently, contracts may not extend past June 30 in a new administration. The bill passed out of the Senate previously and the House Labor Committee passed it by a vote of 16-11.

Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act

SB818 (Villivalam) requires the Illinois State Board of education to adopt new learning standards on personal health and safety standards for grades K-5. New sexual health standards would also be adopted for students in grades 6-12. The bill requires these standards to be medically accurate, culturally appropriate, inclusive, trauma-informed, developmentally and age appropriate. The new standards would go into effect in 2023. The bill was amended and passed out of the Senate Executive Committee by a vote of 15-0.

Teaching the Contributions of Muslim Americans

SB 564 (Ellman/Gonzalez) adds January 17, the birthday of Muhammad Ali, to the list of commemorative holidays and requires the teaching of the contributions made by Muslims and Muslim Americans to society as part of U.S. History. The bill was amended to include several other religions. The bill passed out of committee 8-0.

Banning Hair Discrimination in Schools

SB 817 (Simmons/Harris) provides that a school uniform or dress code policy adopted by a school board or local school council shall not include or apply to hairstyles, including hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture. SB 817 passed the Senate 40-13 and is expected to be heard in the House next week.

Studying Continuity of Learning for Suspended and Expelled Students

SB 2088 (Belt/Davis) adds, as a goal of the Whole Child Task Force, recommending legislation, policies, and practices to prevent learning loss in students during periods of suspension and expulsion, including but not limited to remote instruction. SB 2088 passed unanimously out of the Senate. IFT was concerned with the implementation of the underlying bill; with the amendment opposition is removed.

Retirement Savings for Tier 2 Pensioners

SB 2103 (Martwick/Halpin) provides for automatic enrollment into a supplemental Defined Contribution plan for new participants in SURS and TRS after July 1, 2023. New members will automatically have 3% of their pay distributed to the plan and can withdraw the amount at any time. Nothing in the bill impacts the regular Defined Benefit plan under either system. The legislation will enable new participants in Tier 2 to save additional assets for retirement and is scheduled to be heard in the House Pensions Committee this Thursday.


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