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Legislative Highlights for Week Ending 5/10/24

Updated: May 13

The pace of legislative work in Springfield picked up again this week in both committees and on the floor. Just 12 days remain before the legislature’s scheduled adjournment. Appropriations committees in both chambers met this week and legislators have begun the process putting together a FY25 state budget.


Updates on bill action this week:


Higher Education Winter Weather Emergencies

The Senate approved SB 331 unanimously (Turner, D-Springfield/Chung, D-Bloomington). The legislation requires that employees of a university or community college be paid their regular rate of pay if a campus has been closed due to a declaration of a winter weather emergency. SB 331 passed the House Higher Education Committee unanimously and is now poised for final passage in the House.

Limits on Student Testing in Grades K-6

Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur), a former educator, sent HB 4955 to the Senate, which restricts the State Board of Education from funding any standardized assessment or testing any students in grades K-6 beyond the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The bill also encourages ISBE to seek federal testing waivers.

CTE Teachers Tenure

SB 463 (Hirschauer, D-West Chicago) clarifies that educators holding career and technical educator endorsements and provisional career and technical educator endorsements are eligible to receive tenure under a bill passed last spring, PA 103-500. The bill also includes language to extend the work of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee (PEAC) until December 31, 2024 and continues the work of the PEAC training committee going forward. SB 463 was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Administration, Licensing and Charter Schools Committee unanimously. An amendment was filed on the bill and it is likely that the committee will take further action on that amendment next week.

College Insurance Plan

HB 5797 (Yednock, D-Ottawa) provides that community college members that participate in the SURS self-managed plan would be allowed to receive retiree health insurance regardless of the amount of their account that they choose to annuitize. The legislation received a hearing before the House Pension Committee on May 9.

K-12 Education

Department of Early Childhood Agency Bill Advances

Rep. Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights) passed SB 1 a proposal aimed at consolidating all state early childhood programs into a single agency. The bill creates the Department of Early Childhood effective July 1, 2024. It also transfers statutory authority to administer early childhood programs from ISBE, DHS and DCFS beginning on July 1, 2026. The legislation does not substantively change early childhood program or delivery. The bill has passed both houses and will go to the Governor for signature next.

Workplace Readiness Week

The Senate Education Committee approved, on a vote of 8-3, HB 4417 (Halpin, D-Rock Island), a bill that provides that all public high schools, including charter schools, may designate and annually observe a week known as "Workplace Readiness Week. The bill has been advanced to 3rd reading.

Corporal Punishment Defined

Sen. Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove) passed HB 4175 out of the Senate Education Committee. This bill would ban school employees and volunteers from deliberately inflicting pain on a student in response to their behavior. Corporal punishment has been prohibited in public schools for a long time; the bill would extend this prohibition to private schools and clarifies what constitutes corporal punishment.

FAFSA Waiver for 2023-2024

SB 998 is an initiative of Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) in response to challenges with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) resulting from the delayed federal rollout. The bill would suspend the requirement that students fill out the FAFSA as a graduation requirement for the 2023-2024 school year. Current law allows some flexibility from the requirement already including giving students the option to submit a non-participation form and also administrative waivers. The Senate Education Committee approved SB 998 on a vote of 10-0-1 and was approved by the full Senate on a vote of 55-0.

High Impact Tutoring

The Senate Appropriations-Education Committee heard testimony last week about SB 455 (Halpin, D-Rock Island) that provides that each public institution of higher education is authorized to establish programs, requested by and in cooperation with school districts located within the community, under which qualified students of such institution may provide high-impact tutorial services to elementary and secondary school students who are in need of such services. The bill builds on a program created by ISBE with federal ESSER dollars that are no longer available. While discussed, the bill has not yet been advanced.

Parental Notice of IEP Meeting Materials

HB 340 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg/Villivalam, D-Chicago) provides that the required written notice to the parent or guardian from the local educational agency must inform the parent or guardian of their right to receive copies of all written materials that will be considered by the IEP team and the date the materials will be delivered or made available to them. HB 340 passed the House on a vote of 110-0 and is currently scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee. It’s anticipated that this bill will pass and be signed into law.

Enhanced Funding for High Needs Special Education Students in Public Schools

SB 3606 (Cappel, D-Crest Hill/Mussman, D-Schaumburg) would equalize the reimbursement rate received by public school districts from ISBE when sending high-needs special education students to private and public special education day schools. The bill provides that public schools (including special education cooperatives) would be eligible to receive a reimbursement, regardless of where the student is sent, from ISBE for tuition costs for high-needs special education students that exceed the average cost for students not receiving special education services. SB 3606 passed the Senate on a vote of 53-1 and is pending on 3rd reading in the House. It is anticipated that this bill will pass and be signed into law.

Financial Literacy Expansion

The Senate Education Committee approved HB 1375 (Tarver, D-Chicago/Lightford, D-Hillside) that refreshes the consumer education statute to add financial literacy requirements that are in alignment with the Illinois Social Science Learning Standards for Economics and Financial Literacy or other relevant career and technical education learning standards, as appropriate. The bill also requires ISBE, subject to appropriation, to prepare and make available instructional resources and professional learning opportunities for educators on these topics. The amendment was a positive development and moves away from the language in the introduced bill that would have added a new graduation mandate. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee on a vote of 12-0 and the bill is pending on 3rd reading in the Senate.

Transparency of District EBF Spending

Sen. Tom Bennett (R-Morris) advanced HB 3446 out of the Senate Education Committee this week. The bill enhances transparency and will require a new report on ISBE’s website that encapsulates all district annual spending plans. The bill, an initiative of PEER Illinois, is on 2nd reading in the Senate.

Transition Plans for Special Needs Students

HB 5276 (Koehler, D-Peoria Heights) would require special needs student's transition plans to include consideration of the student's assistive technology needs, such as assistive technology evaluations, devices, and services, related to the student's transition goals for employment, education or training, and independent living, both while the student is participating in transition-related activities and in post-school activities. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and is pending on 3rd reading in the Senate.

School Air Quality Resources

Sen. Adrianne Johnson (D-Waukegan) passed HB 4903 out of the Senate Education Committee this week. The bill requires that the State Board of Education shall, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, compile resources for elementary and secondary schools relating to indoor air quality in schools, including best practices for assessing and maintaining ventilation systems and information on any potential state or federal funding sources that may assist a school in identifying ventilation needs. It provides that the State Board of Education shall compile these resources in consultation with stakeholders, including, but not limited to, the Department of Public Health, local public health professionals, ventilation professionals affiliated with a Department of Labor apprenticeship program, licensed design professionals, representatives from Regional Offices of Education, school district administrators, teachers, or any other relevant professionals, stakeholders, or representatives of state agencies. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee.

Carbon Free School Report information

HB4751 (Stadelman, D-Rockford) provides that "confidential information" does not include program offerings, solar opportunities, health and safety certifications, energy efficiency recommendations, information about transportation and other funding offerings. This information would be public on a school’s Carbon-Free Assessment report. The bill passed out of the Senate Energy and Utilities committee by a vote of 15-0 and is on 3rd reading in the Senate.



Captive Audience Meetings

SB 3649 (Peters, D-Chicago) will protect workers if they refuse to attend “captive audience meetings” – employer sponsored meetings on religious or political issues. SB 3649 passed in the Senate by a vote of 38-18 and has been sent to the House.



Omnibus Election Changes

SB 2412 (Hoffman, D-Bellville) was filed on Wednesday May 1 and is an elections omnibus bill that makes a number of changes including three non-binding ballot advisory questions:

• whether millionaires should be taxed more to alleviate property tax burdens on the middle class,

• whether insurance policies in Illinois should be required to cover in vitro fertilization treatments, and

• whether candidates running for office should face civil penalties for interfering with election workers.

Lawmakers have until six months before an election to approve binding ballot questions, and this year that deadline is May 5. Election law only allows three statewide referenda per ballot, but local municipalities can still add their own.

The bill also makes changes to candidate slating. Right now, a political party can slate someone to run in a general election 75 days after the primary – even if they didn’t file for or run in the primary or conduct a write-in campaign. This bill eliminates that ability. This change would not affect the ability of party leaders to appoint replacements in the event of deaths, resignations or other reasons.

It also moves the deadline for candidates to submit their nominating petitions 28 days earlier – a change requested by county clerks.

The Governor signed this bill into law as PA 103-586.



Property Tax Study

Rep. Mary Beth Canty (D-) advanced SB 3445 out of the House Revenue Committee this week. The bill requires the Department of Revenue to conduct a study to evaluate the property tax system in the State. The bill builds on PA 101-181 that created the Property Tax Relief Task Force in 2019.


A look ahead

The legislature returns Monday, May 13 to continue committee and floor action. The deadline for cross-chamber floor action is Friday, May 17.


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