VETO SESSION BEGINS
The Illinois General Assembly convened this week for the fall Veto Session. Generally intended to take action on those bills that were vetoed by the Governor over the summer, it is common for lawmakers to consider leftover bills from the spring and new ideas that have emerged over the past few months.
Vetoed bills returned to their house of origin for a motion to either override the Governor's action or to accept it. Members of the House of Representatives voted to override the Governor's veto on 10 bills; Senators voted to override the Governor's action on three bills. The bills will swap chambers where another veto override motion must be considered.
The legislature will convene for the second week of Veto Session November 7-9.
BILL ACTION FROM THIS WEEK
HB 1262 (Currie, D-Chicago) p
rovides that a waiver request from mandates regarding tax rates, funds, or transfers shall not be reviewed by the panel of General Assembly members, but shall be submitted to the General Assembly for consideration. The House Elementary and Secondary Education - School Curriculum and Policies Committee approved the amendment and the bill is pending consideration before the full House.
HB 2462 (Moeller, D-Elgin) prohibits employers from screening job applicants based on wage and salary history and prohibits an employer from seeking the salary and benefits of a job applicant from any current or former employer. The House voted to override the Governor's veto and the bill will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
HB 2977 (Welch, D-Hillside) requires elementary schools to include a unit of instruction for writing cursive. The House voted to override the Governor's veto and the bill will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
HB 3298 (Sherer, D-Decatur) allows, under certain circumstances, the application fee for a substitute teacher license to be refunded. The House voted to override the Governor's veto and the bill will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
SB 225 (Link, D-Vernon Hills), for election purposes for school board members, township officials, and municipal officials, provides that the elected office does not become vacant if the person previously convicted of an infamous crime received a pardon for the offense, or has completed the sentence ordered by the court at least 15 years prior to taking office and has not had another felony criminal conviction in those 15 years. The bill was approved by the Senate and has been assigned to the House Judiciary - Criminal Committee.
SB 444 (Clayborne, D-E. St. Louis) has an amendment filed that would make technical changes to the new evidence-based funding formula regarding English Learners, Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) calculations, and Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) adjustments.
SB 851 (Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields) provides for homestead exemption increases and a more limited property tax extension limitation of 0%. The bill:
- Increases the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption from $5,000 to $8,000 for all counties (other than Cook) beginning in taxable year 2018. Cook County taxpayers have already received the increase
- Increases the General Homestead Exemption from $6,000 to $10,000 for taxpayers in all counties beginning in taxable year 2018
- Provides, for taxing districts subject to PTELL with a majority of their EAV in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, and Will counties, an extension limitation of 0% or a rate approved by the voters for levy years 2017 and 2018
- Provides for a voter initiated property tax freeze of 0% for levy years 2018 and 2019. This provision affects districts subject to PTELL with a majority of their EAV in a county whose electorate chooses to be subject to a property tax freeze
- Provides that for taxing districts under PTELL who are not subject to a 0% extension limitation property tax "freeze" for 2017 and 2018 levy years, they will be subject to the normal PTELL provisions of the lesser of 5% or the increase in CPI during the preceding calendar year or the rate of increase approved by the voters
- For the 2017 and 2018 levy years, exempts bond payments and indebtedness and, applies the 5% or CPI provisions to contributions to pension funds
- Exempts, for one levy year, "qualified school districts" from the provisions of the bill. A qualified school district is one that has been granted a financial hardship exemption by the State Superintendent after being designated as on financial watch or early warning status
SB 863 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) a
llows for the issuance of a Professional Educator License endorsed in a teaching field or school support personnel area to an applicant who has not been entitled by an Illinois-approved educator preparation program at an Illinois institution of higher education if he or she provides evidence of completing a comparable state-approved educator preparation program, as defined by the State Superintendent of Education, among other conditions. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.
NEW WAIVER PROCESS PUT THROUGH THE PACES
As part of the school funding package passed in
SB 1947 in August, the School Code waiver process was streamlined, and the new process was put into action for the first time this fall. After a review from Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), 40 waiver requests were transmitted to the new waiver review board which consists of a group of legislators that represent all four legislative caucuses. Only one waiver request was forwarded to the entire General Assembly by the waiver review board - the request from Zion ESD 6 regarding transfer of funds. A House Joint Resolution (
HJR 82) denying that waiver request was approved by the House and now awaits action in the Senate.
As part of the process of the review of the new waiver request system,
HB 1262 was introduced to limit a school district's ability to seek waivers for certain revenue and fiscal issues. Although HB 1262 was approved by a committee, there was a very contentious debate on the House floor about changing the new waiver processes so quickly after the passage of SB 1947.