House and Senate members returned to Springfield for both committee and floor action this week. The volume of bills being heard in committees has slowed as legislators spend more time on the floor. Our legislative team is now keeping watch on amendments to new and existing bills.
Updates from action this week:
Collective bargaining rights for more public employees
SB 525 (Aquino, D-Chicago) requires that determination of an employee’s confidential or managerial status shall be based on the employee’s actual duties and not on written job descriptions. The bill makes other changes regarding bargaining unit clarifications. These changes will allow for some employees currently misclassified as management to join a union and gain collective bargaining rights. The bill also allows for contracts for employees under the constitutional officers to extend for more than 12 months into the new term of the officer. The current law requires those contracts to expire by June 1 of the new term. The bill passed out of the Senate by a vote of 44-11.
Updates to Teacher and Principal Mentoring Requirements
SB 814 (Lightford, D-Maywood) creates a new teacher induction and mentoring program that aligns with the Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Standards and requires school districts, with their collective bargaining representative, to make a choice between their current mentoring program and the one set forth in this bill. The bill came from discussions led by the Illinois P20 Teacher Leadership Effectiveness Committee.
Trauma Training Requirements
SB 2109 (Villa, D-West Chicago) requires school board members, administrators, and teachers to annually complete a course of instruction on the adoption of trauma-informed school standards.
Resolution to Limit the Uses of Seclusion and Restraint
HR 88 (Ramirez, D-Chicago) submits that the use of seclusion and restraint is harmful to students, should be employed only as a last resort to prevent young people from harming themselves or others, and that only trained staff should use seclusion or restraint. The long-term goal should be to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion. Passed committee 19 – 0.
Resolution declaring March 2022 – Whole Child Month
HR 196 (Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) proclaims that March of 2022 will be named Whole Child Month to recognize the value of assuring that each student is challenged, supported, healthy, safe, and engaged. The resolution urges educators, communities, and parents to support a whole child approach to education for all students and urges all schools to celebrate Whole Child Month by adopting a Whole Child Tenet to promote and encourage throughout March.
We anticipate that several bills will be heard in House and Senate Committees in the week ahead, including:
HB 18 (Scherer, D-Decatur/Morrison, D-Highwood) is an IFT initiative that would extend evaluation cycles for tenured teachers rated excellent and proficient.
HB 24 (West, D-Rockford/Stadelman, D-Rockford) requires sex education course material for grades 6-12 include an age-appropriate discussion on ‘sexting.’ The discussion shall include an exploration of consequences of sexting, bullying and harassment, internet safety, and the identification of appropriate school personnel who may be contacted for assistance, if a student is concerned about something occurring in this area. Such personnel may include the principal, a teacher, school social worker, counselor, or trusted community leader.
HB 40 (Hurley, D-Chicago/Cunningham, D-Chicago) provides that a student whose 22nd birthday occurs during the school year is eligible for special education services through the end of the school year.
SB 605 (Collins, D-Chicago/Hernandez, D-Aurora) requires school districts to develop policies on absenteeism and truancy and requires annual notification to students and parents.
SB 633 (Murphy, D-Des Plaines) provides that, upon knowledge of an incident of sexual assault by a student against another student, a school district shall report the incident to the State Board of Education.
SB 817 (Simmons, D-Chicago) prohibits school uniform or dress code policies from prohibiting students from being able to maintain hairstyles, particularly those associated with race. The bill also requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to withhold state funding from any school district that violates this prohibition and post the violating school districts on the ISBE website.
SB 1646 (McClure, R-Jacksonville/Marron, R-Fithian) allows for the purchase of private school credit under TRS. The member must pay the employee and employer cost plus interest to purchase up to two years of service credit. Both pieces of legislation have been approved by their chamber of origin and will proceed to the opposite chamber for further consideration. House Amendment #1 was filed on April 29, which would exclude salary increases resulting from teaching summer school on or after May 1, 2021 and before September 15, 2022 from the cap on salary increases greater than 6%. The bill and amendment will be heard in the Personnel and Pensions Committee next week.
SB 2088 (Belt, D-Centreville) is an ISBE initiative that would provide for continuity of learning for suspended or expelled students through placement in an alternative school or by a program provided by the school district.
SB 2093 (Martwick, D-Chicago/LaPointe, D-Chicago) allows educators working in CPS contract schools to access a defined benefit pension via CTPF.
The House Revenue and Finance Committee will hold a subject matter hearing on the Invest in Kids Act program. Last week, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue David Harris testified before the Revenue Committee that over 78% of those making donations (and thus receiving credits) to the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program are making over $1 million. IFT DPA staff have requested to provide testimony at the hearing.