November 6, 2017

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The Illinois General Assembly returns to the Capitol this week for the second week of the Veto Session. This will likely complete the session action for the year.
Last week the House Revenue and Finance Committee approved the latest version of a property tax freeze. SB 851, sponsored by Representative Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) in the House, was amended with the freeze language on an 8-1 Committee vote. Details of the bill can be found in the last Alliance Legislative Report .
SB 851 could be considered on the House floor at any time. Alliance members are urged to contact their State Representatives and ask for a "NO" vote on the bill.

HB 2977 (Welch, D-Westchester) requires elementary schools to offer instruction on cursive writing. The House has already voted to override to Governor's veto - the Senate will consider a veto override motion this week. If the Senate votes to override, the bill will become law.

HB 3298 (Scherer, D-Decatur) allows, under certain circumstances, the application fee for a substitute teacher license to be refunded. The House has already voted unanimously to override to Governor's veto - the Senate will consider a veto override motion this week. If the Senate votes to override, the bill will become law.


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 considered Monday by the House Judiciary - Criminal Committee but no vote was taken.
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. The amendment is scheduled for a hearing before the House Appropriations - Elementary and Secondary Education Committee Tuesday at 10:00 in Room D-1 of the State Capitol.

SB 453 (Lightford, D-Maywood), w ith respect to school discipline improvement plans, makes changes to how the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) determines the top 20% of school districts, when notification is given that a plan must be submitted, which school districts are required to submit a plan, the timeframe for school board approval of a plan and submission of that plan to the ISBE, and when additional annual progress reports are required. The bill establishes the Safe Schools and Healthy Learning Environments Program and grants under the program. The bill was approved by the Senate in May but failed to receive the requisite votes in the House at that time. Through a parliamentary procedure, the bill could be called for a vote again on the House floor this week.
SB 779 (Biss, D-Skokie), in a House amendment sponsored by Representative Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), would create an optional hybrid pension plan for Tier II members of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). The amendment is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday before the House Personnel and Pensions Committee at 10:00 in Room 122B of the State Capitol.
SB 863 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield), as amended in the House in October, the bill a mends the Educator Licensure Article of the School Code. It allows 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. The bill is pending on the Senate floor. If the Senate concurs in the House amendment, the bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
HB 726 (Jones, D. Dolton), as introduced, would expand the current School Code mandate regarding the Study of Black History to require that completion of the class is mandatory for promotion from the 8th grade and graduation from high school. House Amendment 1, which could be considered this week, would remove the proposed new mandate for K-12 education and add a requirement for a unit of instruction on Black History in Illinois' institutions of higher education.
HB 1252 (Lilly, D-Oak Park), as amended in May, would expand the current School Code mandate regarding instruction on Civics Education. Last year, a new law was enacted to require that high schools offer a course on Civics Education. The amendment to HB 1252 requires such instruction to also be offered in grades 6, 7, and 8. The bill was discharged from the Rules Committee straight to the House floor and could be considered at any time.
HB 1262 (Currie, D-Chicago), as amended, provides that a School Code mandate waiver request regarding tax rates, funds, or transfers shall not be reviewed by the panel of General Assembly members, but shall be submitted to the full General Assembly for consideration. The bill is pending on the House floor.