NEWS

Legislative update - week of 4/8/16

The Illinois House and Senate continued budget-related discussions this week, while some important bills passed - and others failed - in committees.


Here is an overview of the week's legislative action:

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Budget & Revenue FY16 and FY17 Budget Update

Advocates and legislators continue to seek solutions to the FY16 budget impasse and the FY17 budget year. Without additional revenue resources, little progress is anticipated. Some question the will of the General Assembly to pass an appropriation bill for FY17 without a complete FY16 budget in place. In mid-March, both chambers pursued short term FY16 solutions, including:

  • The Senate approved SB 2059 (Cullerton, D-Chicago), which would appropriate $3.8 billion in all funds ($3.1 billion General Revenue funds) for FY16 funding of social service programs, higher education, MAP grants, school construction, transportation, metropolitan planning, and many other programs currently not funded by court order.

  • The House passed HB 2990 (Madigan, D-Chicago), a similar proposal, the week before.

SB 2059 moved a step closer to passing in the House this week, and is now assigned to the House Executive Committee. It is unknown how quickly the bill will advance because the Governor has threatened to veto it.


Senate and House Appropriations committees will continue discussions next week, but little progress is expected.

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Millionaire’s Tax to be considered by the Illinois House?


House Speaker Michael Madigan released the Millionaire’s Tax resolution, HJRCA 26, for a vote in the full House.


The IFT has been a strong proponent of HJRCA 26, which would provide $1 billion in dedicated education funding by asking the wealthiest Illinoisans (who earn more than $1 million per year) to pay their fair share to help fund our schools. Despite the fact that 63 percent of voters supported the concept in the 2014 general election (see a breakdown by Senate and House districts here), and the measure failed in Springfield last year by only three votes, Governor Rauner remains opposed to asking the wealthiest to pay more.


Our union will continue to monitor HJRCA 26 this session and advocate for adequate education funding.

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P.E. & Driver Education    

IFT opposes bills that harm P.E. and driver education


HB 6164, sponsored by Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove), would allow school districts to contract out driver education without having to request a waiver. The bill also eliminates the requirement that private companies provide their employees with a benefits package comparable to that of school district employees, and provides additional reasons to allow students to be exempt from P.E.


The IFT opposed HB 6164, and it failed to pass out of House committee.


Another bill awaiting committee consideration would also impact physical education. HB 825, sponsored by Rep. Sam Yingling, (D-Grayslake), would allow Round Lake Community Unit School District 116 to permanently reduce P.E. to just two days per week. The IFT opposes this bill because it could set a dangerous precedent.

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Collective Bargaining

Threat to collective bargaining defeated


The IFT took a lead role in stopping a bill in the House Labor and Commerce Committee that threatened the collective bargaining process.HB 4583, sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), would have prohibited a public or educational employer from ratifying any contract until the proposed agreement has been published on the employer’s website. The bill would also have required the employer to hold a public meeting on the ratification of that agreement not less than 14 days after publishing it.

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State Employees

New bill filed for public employee back pay


HB 6425, a new bill sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), has been filed in an effort to finally pay off back wages owed to some state employees since 2011. A portion of these back wages was appropriated by the legislature last year, but about $60 million is still owed to the employees, including IFT members in the Illinois Federation of Public Employees, Local 4408. The IFT will continue to advocate for payment of these back wages to our affected members.

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Pensions

House Committee approves survivor benefits for same-sex married couples