NEWS

Legislative highlights for the week of May 21

There is a lot of work to get done before the Illinois legislature adjourns on May 31. The House cancelled session this weekend (the Senate was not scheduled to be in over the weekend), however it is anticipated that a number of lawmakers will remain in Springfield continuing FY22 budget and redistricting talks.


Below are the latest updates on statehouse action this week:


IFT Initiatives

HB 18 (Scherer, D-Decatur/Morrison, D-Highwood) will stretch out the evaluations for tenured teachers with excellent and proficient ratings to once every three years (rather than every other year) but leaves in the flexibility for more frequent administrative observations to ensure meaningful feedback to teachers and if determined to be necessary (current law).

Senator Julie Morrison (D-Highwood) filed an amendment that makes three changes:

  1. clarifies evaluation/observation language in the bill,

  2. extends the sunset of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee by three years (to 2024) to allow continued work on teacher evaluation training, and

  3. provides parity by making the change applicable to educators in CPS.

The amendment was approved unanimously by the Senate Education Committee this week and is positioned for final Senate action. It will return to the House for a concurrence vote once passed in the Senate.


HB 375 (Smith, D-Chicago) will provide an employment notice for adjuncts at universities and community colleges. The amended bill requires a higher education institution to notify the adjunct about the status of enrollment for their class at 30 days and then again at 14 days before the beginning of the next term. The legislation was approved in the House of Representatives by a vote of 74-38. An amendment has been filed and it is expected that the bill will see action this coming week in the Senate Higher Education Committee.


Legislation of Note

Union rights for Chicago Principals

HB3496 (Davis, D-East Hazel Crest) changes the legal definition of a supervisor in Chicago and would allow principals to be considered educational employees with collective bargaining rights. This bill, an initiative of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, passed the Senate Executive Committee by a vote of 9-5.


Constitutional Amendment for Workers Rights

SJRCA11 (Villivalam, D-Chicago) would amend the state constitution to prohibit any state law that would diminish the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively. The amendment would also prohibit any so-called “Right to Work” laws that try to discourage employees from joining a union. The resolution passed the Senate by a vote of 49-7. If the resolution passes in the House, it will be on the ballot in the 2022 General Election.


Collective bargaining rights for more state employees

SB 525 (Aquino, D-Chicago/Halpin, D-Rock Island) 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 the House by a vote of 76-39 and goes to the Governor for consideration.


Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act

SB818 (Villivalam, D-Chicago) 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 by a vote of 37-18.


Electronic signatures for union elections, no strike retaliation

HB2521 (Gonzalez, D-Chicago) would allow electronic signatures to be used in elections to select a labor organization as the representative of the employees in a bargaining unit. The bill also makes any retaliatory action from an employer against employees who are on strike an unfair labor practice. The bill passed the Senate Executive committee by a vote of 10-6.


Sick leave use for adoption

HB816 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) broadens the ability to use sick leave. The legislation would allow teachers and other employees to use up to 30 days of paid sick leave for adoption or placement for adoption or foster care. The bill passed the Senate Labor committee by a vote of 15-0.


Freedom Schools – Advanced Placement – Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Trailer

SB 820 (Ammons, D-Urbana) makes changes to the makeup of the Whole Child Task Force. In statute related to Freedom Schools, makes references to historically disadvantaged students, rather than exclusively 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 Act, moving the date for eligible recipients to continue receiving services from June 2022 to January 2022. The bill has passed both chambers and goes to the Governor next.

Student Play Time

SB654 (Ortiz, D-Chicago) 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 moving to the House floor for a vote.

Commission to Study Funding for High-Cost Special Education

SB 517 (Manley, D-Romeoville) creates the High-Cost Special Education Funding Commission to study and make recommendation to the Governor and General Assembly regarding the possibility of an alternative funding structure for high-cost special education students, aligned with the evidence-based funding formula. The bill lays out the makeup of commission membership, topics to be reviewed, and provisions for administrative support, compensation, and reporting. This bill has passed the Senate, and now moves to the House floor.


Retirement Savings for Tier 2 Pensioners

SB 2103 (Martwick, D-Chicago/Halpin, D-Rock Island) 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 three percent 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 II to save additional assets for retirement. The House Pensions Committee approved SB 2103 this week and it will likely be approved by the House in the week ahead.


Exempting Summer School from Pension Penalties

SB 1646 (McClure, R-Jacksonville/Marron, R-Fithian), in a provision that requires an employer to make an additional contribution to the system for certain salary increases greater than six percent, excludes salary increases resulting from teaching summer school on or after May 1, 2021 and before September 15, 2022. The bill is pending in the House.


A look ahead:

Next Monday, May 24, lawmakers will return to Springfield to continue floor action in their respective chambers. There will likely be numerous committees scheduled and possibly budget bills that surface at the end of the week or over the Memorial Day holiday.