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Legislative Update - Week of 2/7/2020

by Marilou Lerner | Feb 07, 2020
Since the fall veto session, more than 1,500 bills have been introduced.
Since the fall veto session, more than 1,500 bills have been introduced. The IFT is tracking hundreds of these bills, as well as many others filed last session. This week was the second week of House and Senate committees. Action has been slow so far but is expected to pick up after the bill filing deadline on Friday, February 14.
 
The IFT anticipates the General Assembly will take up these big issues during the spring:
 
• A balanced budget that funds K-12 schools, higher education, and state services;
• Continued discussion of how to address state pension issues;
• Legislative interest in the isolation and seclusion of students; and
• Continued efforts to address the teacher shortage.
 
Here are some highlights from this week’s action. 

The Senate Education Committee took action:

Clarification of hunting safety course
SB 2279
(Sen. Gillespie, D- Arlington Heights) clarifies that if schools offer a hunting safety course, that shall not be construed as permission to allow weapons to be brought to school. The bill was approved by a vote of 14-1-0.
 
Teacher Appreciation Week
SJR 53 (Sen. Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) declares May 4-8, 2020 as Teacher Appreciation Week in Illinois
 
Resolution for whole child tenets
SR 896 (Sen. Link, D-Gurnee) declares March 2020 as "Illinois Whole Child Month.” The resolution urges every school in Illinois to celebrate the month by adopting at least one of the whole child tenets and to promote and encourage it throughout the month.
 
This week, the House Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum and Policies Committee took action on:
 
Notifying parents
HB 3935 (Rep. Kifowit, D- Aurora) expands and clarifies the responsibilities of school personnel to notify parents when detaining and questioning a student on school grounds.
 
Expansion of mandatory religious holidays
HB 4011 (Rep. Didech, D- Buffalo Grove) expands the list of mandatory religious holidays to be recognized by school boards to include Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Diwali, Vaisakhi, Onam, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah. The committee approved the bill with a promise of the sponsor to return to committee with language that would satisfy concerns from the School Management Alliance and the ACLU.
 
Formation of a South Suburban Youth Coalition and Violence Prevention Task Force
HR 203 (Rep. Deluca, D-Chicago Heights) urges the formation of a South Suburban Youth Coalition and Violence Prevention Task Force in collaboration with stakeholders from represented communities as a concrete means of helping to address the growing concerns of youth violence affecting south suburban communities and schools. The committee approved the resolution unanimously.
 
House and Senate members will be in their districts next week. Session resumes on Tuesday, February 18.
 

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