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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-19

Distributed via Email: May 30, 2011

PENSIONS, BUDGET, WORKERS COMPENSATION

The Illinois General Assembly worked steadily through the holiday weekend and either tackled the tough issues, or decided to take them off of the table for the spring. This paves the way for adjournment by midnight, May 31 – the legislature’s target. Both the House of Representatives and Senate will return to the Capitol on Tuesday morning.

PENSION REFORM

It was announced Monday afternoon that the pension reform legislation (SB 512) will not be called for a vote this spring. In a joint press release from House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), it was stated that the proponents still support the concepts of the proposal and plan to hold meetings over the summer and have a bill ready for the fall Veto Session. SB 512 contains provisions that would affect current participants of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).

FISCAL YEAR 2012 STATE BUDGET

The Senate Monday approved a series of budget bills making state appropriations for the 2012 Fiscal Year. The bills originated in the House of Representatives and they will now be forwarded to the governor. HB 327 (Madigan) appropriates $6.85 billion to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) – $171 million less than the FY ’11 ISBE budget. The budget plan would maintain the current foundation level, $6,119 per pupil. Some provisions of the budget include:

  • $152 million cut to General State Aid with a plan to keep the foundation level flat ($6,119) with a possible proration
  • Fully funds mandated categorical grants – including regular transportation
  • Eliminates funding for teacher/administrator mentoring, principal mentoring, standards and assessments, advanced placement, growth model assessments, and Response to Intervention
  • Restores funding for Regional Offices of Education salaries

However, the Senate approved another budget bill, HB 2189, that appropriates an additional $216 million in funding above the House plan. For ISBE, HB 2189 would add:

  • $152 million in General State Aid (to avoid proration of state aid payments next year)
  • $9.5 million for the Textbook Loan Program which the House did not fund
  • $3.2 million additional funding for reimbursement for the Free Breakfast/Lunch Program
  • $6.5 million for Teachers and Administrators Mentoring Program which the House did not fund
  • $2 million for the Principal Mentoring Program which the House did not fund
  • $8 million for a Class Size Reduction Pilot Project which the House did not fund
  • $10 million for Standards, Assessments and Accountability which the House did not fund
  • $500,000 for Advanced Placement Classes which the House did not fund
  • $1.2 million for Growth Model Assessments which the House did not fund
  • $17.1 million additional funding for Early Childhood Education
  • $200,000 additional funding for Temporary Relocation Expenses Revolving Grant Fund
  • $3.2 million for the Illinois Hope and Opportunity Pathways Through Education Program
  • $400,000 for the American Diploma Project
  • $964,799 for the Response to Intervention Initiative which the House did not fund

The bill also contains a supplemental appropriation for the current fiscal year to assure that the fourth quarter mandated categorical grant programs are funded before July 1. HB 2189 still requires approval by the House of Representatives.

SB 342 (Sullivan, D-Rushville) would have allowed the state to borrow $1.48 billion to pay the backlog of bills owed to non-governmental entities. It was one of a series of bills to pay off state debt. SB 342 was defeated on the Senate floor. SB 345 would have issued bonds to pay off local school districts and other governmental entities; it was not called for a vote.

WORKERS COMPENSATION REFORM

After months of discussions and negotiations, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill (46-8) to reform the State’s Workers Compensation Act. However, when HB 1698 (Bradley, D-Marion) reached the House floor Sunday evening, the bill came up five votes short of passage. On a 55-39-19 vote after a passionate floor debate, the issue is in limbo. It could be that there will be another chance at reform, or that the current law stays in place unchanged, or that the entire act is simply repealed. The House has already approved SB 1933 (Raoul, D-Chicago) which would repeal the current Workers Compensation Act and the bill is pending on the Senate floor.

GAMING EXPANSION

The House Monday approved a gaming bill that would establish a land-based casino in Chicago and add four more riverboat casinos. SB 744 (Link, D-Vernon Hills) is pending in the Senate Executive Committee.

LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING

The General Assembly has already approved the bills containing new district boundaries for State Representatives and Senators. The Senate will consider the bill with the new congressional boundaries in committee this evening.

OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEKEND

The following bills received final approval from the General Assembly and will be sent to the Governor:

HB 200 (Cross) requires school boards to adopt a policy that is in compliance with the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) protocol regarding student athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury. Information on the district policy must be provided to student athletes and their parents and the IHSA must provide concussion information to the school district for distribution to coaches, athletes, and parents.

HB 1216 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) establishes a “School District Realignment and Consolidation Commission”. The commission includes one member from each of the Alliance organizations (IASB, IASA, IPA, IASBO).

SB 1578 (Holmes, D-Aurora) provides that of the four yearly teacher institute days, two days may be used as a teacher's and educational support personnel (ESP) workshop under certain circumstances.

SB 1686 (Koehler, D-Peoria) makes changes regarding the publishing requirements for units of local government. It requires published assessment notices to include certain statements and limits the publication fee paid to newspapers for publishing assessment lists to $0.80 per parcel and sets other rates at the Legal Advertising Rate Act (now, the newspaper's published rate for the advertising). It provides that certain notices must be published only once.

SB 1794 (Lightford, D-Maywood) contains a proposal by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) making legislative changes to align the statute with current practice in the aftermath of the “Cory H” court decision. It eliminates the certification of special education teachers by categorical designation and replaces it with the structure for certifying special education teachers currently in effect and outlined in the ISBE policies commonly referred to as the transition rules. 

SB 2170 (Clayborne, D-E. St. Louis) makes changes to the School Facility Occupation Tax Law which allows counties to impose a sales tax with receipts earmarked for school construction. It requires the imposition of the sales tax if the voters approve the referendum (instead of allowing the county board to choose to impose the sales tax) and requires the tax rate to be set forth in the question (instead of allowing the county board to choose to impose the tax at a different rate).

This legislative report is written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.

Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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