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Legislative highlights for the week of October 25

Friday, October 29 marked the end of the two-week fall veto session. Typically, this is a time when the legislature acts on bills that the governor vetoed. This year, he vetoed only six bills and veto action was taken during the legislature’s September return. Instead, lawmakers used the two weeks to approve additional legislative measures they were unable to get to during the spring.

Here are some highlights of veto session action.

COVID Wage and Benefit Protections Bill for school employees

HB 2778 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville/Sen. Belt, D-East St Louis) is critical legislation for education employees. It provides two things:

  • Paid time off for educators and staff at K-12 schools, public universities, and community colleges when the employee or the employee's children must quarantine because of COVID illness or exposure. This will ensure that education employees don't exhaust their sick days or lose pay when they are quarantined because of COVID. The benefit is available to employees who are in compliance with the mandate to be vaccinated or tested weekly.

  • Paycheck protection for K-12 food service, custodial, transportation and other non-instructional employees who are unable to perform their jobs remotely when a school is closed or an e-learning day is triggered for COVID safety reasons.

IFT President Dan Montgomery said, “The overwhelming passage of House Bill 2778 demonstrates support for basic fairness for all education employees statewide. At the same time, it promotes economic recovery and ensures that schools are safe for those who learn and work in them.”

Please take a moment to email Governor J.B. Pritzker and urge him to sign the bill into law!

Sex abuse prevention

HB 1975 (Rep. Mussman, D – Schaumburg/Sen. Bennet, D-Champaign) requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop and maintain a resource guide that provides guidance to students, parents and teachers about sex abuse prevention resources available in the community. Licensure renewal is updated – to require professional development (PD) providers to include in their training information about grooming, sex abuse, and how to protect children. The bill requires districts to develop a professional code of conduct policy. The bill passed both chambers unanimously.

Tax exempt status – Trade schools

SB 217 (Rep. Zalewski, D-Riverside/Sen. Castro, D-Elgin) allows tax exempt status for trade schools that are owned or leased by non-profit trusts, if the schools are used solely for educating and training individuals for occupational and technical careers; applies only in St. Clair County (over 600,000 population, but not more than 700,000 population) and Cook County (over 3,000,000 population); the school must be registered with the Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Dept. of Labor. Passed both chambers.

Local school councils (LSCs)

SB101 (Sen. Pacione Zyas, D-Chicago/Rep. Andrade, D-Chicago) amends provisions related to local school councils (LSCs) in the Chicago School District Article of the School Code. Requires every attendance center to form a LSC and outlines the makeup of each LSC, along with the election process.

Elected Chicago school board

SB1784 (Sen. Martwick, D-Chicago/Rep. Buckner, D-Chicago) adds an immediate effective date on the moratorium for school closures. Extends the date by which the electoral districts must be drawn (from February 1, 2022) to July 1, 2023. The legislation also requires the independent financial review shall be due no later than October 31 and clarifies that board members will not be paid.

Omnibus legislation extends the work of task forces, commissions and allows interfund transfers

HB 594 (Sen. Lightford, D-Hillside)/Rep Hoffman, D-Belleville) contains several provisions of interest to our union and members, including:

  • Additional appointments to the Future of Work Task Force, including an IFT appointee.

  • Timing of the report, the Inclusive American History Commission is extended to February 28, 2022. The Inclusive American History Commission was created to provide assistance to ISBE in revising its social science learning standards.

  • Extends the sunset date for school districts to utilize interfund transfers to June 30, 2024. This important tool for school district budgeting was inadvertently overlooked during the spring session.

  • Timing of the report of the Whole Child Task Force is extended to March 15, 2022. The task force was created by P.A. 101-0654 for the purpose of establishing an equitable, inclusive, safe, and supportive environment in all schools for every student in Illinois.

Congressional maps approved by General Assembly

In the final hours of the veto session, the Illinois House and Senate approved new congressional redistricting boundaries in HB 1291 (Rep. Hernandez, D-Cicero/Sen. President Harmon, D-Oak Park). View the new map here.

After numerous drafts over several months, including several last week, the map approved by the legislature would give democrats a 14-3 advantage in congressional districts across the state. The congressional map shrunk by one seat due to Illinois’ declining population. The map includes a new, second Latino-influenced district (CD 4) that stretches from Chicago’s northwest side through suburban Bensenville, Des Plaines, and West Chicago. It’s the only district under a new map with an open seat.

The final map also shifts several current congressional members into the same districts. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) shares a district with Rep. Darin LaHood (R), as do Reps. Mary Miller (R) and Mike Bost (R). In a surprising move, Democrats shifted Rep. Marie Newman (D) into the same district as Rep. Chuy Garcia (D).

Current members have already come out publicly about how they plan to proceed. Rep. Kinzinger has decided to not run for reelection. Rep. Newman has decided to run against fellow Democrat Rep. Sean Casten in the 6th Congressional District. Rep. Bost has also announced that he plans to seek reelection in his new district.

State Republicans have said they intend to sue. The governor is expected to sign this map into law.

Elections clean-up bill

The General Assembly took a big step expanding voting access and participation in future elections by approving SB 536 (Sen. President Harmon, D-Oak Park/Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Collinsville), an elections cleanup bill. The bill is highlighted by a provision allowing voters to register to permanently vote by mail. The bill also adds a provision for a gender-neutral voter registration form and ensures that there must be a wheelchair-accessible voting booth at each voting location.

It changes specific dates and deadlines to account for the fact that lawmakers moved the primary from March of 2022 to June of that year. Finally, the measure creates a task force to review current laws and make recommendations on improving access to voting for persons with physical, neurological, or mental disabilities.

Health Care Right of Conscience Act amended

SB 1169 (Sen. Bush, D-Grayslake/Rep. Gabel, D-Evanston) clarifies that implementation and enforcement of COVID-related requirements do not violate the Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Under the amended law, individuals can no longer legally use moral or religious arguments to not comply with employers’ COVID-19 vaccine or regular testing requirements. The legislation ensures that employers cannot be punished under the state law for denying the objections.

Chicago TIF extended

SB 1139 (Sen. Turner, D-Springfield/Rep. Hoffman, D-Belleville) extends the estimated date of completion of redevelopment projects and the retirement of obligations issued to finance redevelopment project costs for various ordinances in the City of Chicago. The bill specifically extends the completion dates of the following TIFs:

• Kinzie Industrial TIF district

• Northwest Industrial TIF district

• Pilsen Industrial TIF district

• 35th/Halsted TIF district

• Pulaski Corridor TIF district.

Ensuring Success in School trailer bill passed

HB 3173 (Sen. Lightford, D-Maywood/Rep. Mason, D-Gurnee) is a Senate-approved trailer bill to Public Act 102-466. The legislation will help schools become more trauma-informed spaces for K-12 students who have experienced sexual or domestic violence or who are pregnant/parenting. The bill adds bullying and the death of a family member as mitigating factors that a student may disclose during a suspension review hearing or expulsion hearing. It also adds a social worker as a member of the Ensuring Success in School Task Force. This bill awaits final action in the House.

A look ahead:

During the next few weeks, the legislature will begin transmitting bills to the governor for his signature. Watch Under the Dome for updates on important bill action.

The House and Senate will return to Springfield for the second year of the 102nd General Assembly on January 4th, 2022.


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