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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-43

Distributed via Email: March 9, 2012

SENATE AGREES WITH BUDGET PARAMETERS

A week after the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a broad framework for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget revenues, the Senate this week did the same. Senators approved the same total budget amount for all of State government, $33.7 billion, as did the House. This total of estimated funds for spending in the next fiscal year is $220 million less than that proposed by Governor Pat Quinn, setting up a new debate between the legislature and the governor. Senate Resolution 586, which contains the budget estimates, sailed out of the Senate chamber on a vote of 52-1.

Lawmakers have yet to talk about their spending priorities for the next budget, but using a lesser amount of available revenues will require the governor to make even more cuts in his proposed spending plan for FY ’13. The move by the Senate this week on the budget exhibits a presence of accord and civility that has not been evident in the Capitol for a while. Both the House and the Senate, with overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats, supported the budget measures.

Legislative appropriations committees will now begin the work of prioritizing spending for the next fiscal year. An appropriations bill (or bills) will have to be approved by both legislative chambers to send the new budget to the governor.

The legislature will not be in session next week, but will return to the Capitol on March 21. Every legislator is up for election with newly drawn district boundaries in the Primary Election on March 20.

DRIVERS’ EDUCATION BILL APPROVED

The Senate Education Committee Tuesday approved a bill that will add new burdens to the drivers’ education programs in public high schools. SB 3367 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) changes the mandate waiver requirements for school districts regarding drivers’ education,   and requires that school districts looking to contract with a private company for   drivers’ education services must provide evidence that the commercial driver training school employs instructors hold valid teaching certificates. The proposal also requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to adopt standards for drivers’ education and to annually report the approximate per capita drivers’ education cost for each school district. Finally, the bill adds requirements regarding drivers’ education vehicles used by school districts and mandates that the cars undergo an annual safety inspection if they are over five years of age or have over 75,000 miles on the odometer.

SB 3367, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the committee on a 6-4 vote and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration. The Alliance, the only education organization opposed to the legislation, testified in opposition to the bill.

HOT BILL ACTION FROM THIS WEEK

SB 3374 (Holmes, D-Plainfield) , as amended, establishes the Enhanced Physical Education Task Force to promote and implement enhanced physical education programs that can be integrated with a broader wellness strategy and health curriculum in elementary and secondary schools. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

SB 3408 (Silverstein, D-Chicago) , as amended,   prohibits school districts from making available or serving food with any amount of industrially produced trans fat. This prohibition includes food made available to students on any school grounds during the school day or the extended school day and includes “fundraising activities on school premises”. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 3826 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) , as amended, expands the definition of “service animal” and adds to the types of disabilities that would allow a student to use a service animal in schools. The bill was approved as amended by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 4029 (Chapa La Via) , a s amended, requires school boards to first award pupil transportation contracts to the bidder most able to provide safety and comfort for pupils. With the Alliance amendment, no cause of action could be brought against a school district choosing the lowest responsible bidder. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 4056 (Eddy, R-Hutsonville) , as amended, p rohibits the ISBE from requiring, by rule, school nurses to hold a Type 73 school service personnel certificate with an endorsement in school nursing. The bill, supported by the Alliance, was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5114 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) , as amended, r equires all students enrolled in grades 6-8 in the public schools to watch a training video on CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved as amended by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) , as amended, requires school districts to adopt and implement a new, comprehensive, and stringent bullying policy developed by ISBE.   The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved as amended by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5350 (Mitchell, B., R-Decatur) , w ith respect to the five State-funded retirement systems (including TRS), provides that final passage of a bill changing the State contribution formula requires the affirmative vote of 3/5 of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor.

HB 5495 (Nekritz, D-Northbrook) provides that if a school board offers a 403(b) or 457(b) plan to its employees, then the board, and the persons acting under its authority, must act in accordance with the prudent investor rule when making plan-related decisions. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5628 (Yarbrough, D-Broadview) requires school boards to establish new rights for students who are parents, expectant parents, or claim to be the victim of domestic or sexual violence. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was defeated in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

HB 5790 (Winters, R-Shirland) , for certain state pension systems (including TRS),   provides that service credit is not available for unused sick leave accumulated by a person who first participates in the system on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK

SB 3149 (Johnson, T., R-West Chicago) , as amended, increases the deferral amount to $20,000 (from $5,000) under the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 3212 (Clayborne, D-E. St. Louis) , as amended, creates a new Brownfield remediation tax credit. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

SB 3382 (Noland, D-Elgin) states that no Economic Development Area may be established or extended without the written approval of the taxing districts comprising a majority of the total amount of taxes extended within the EDA in the previous taxable year. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 3487 (Crotty, D-Oak Forest) , as amended, provides that a multi-function school activity bus (MFSAB) may be used to transport high school students for any curriculum-related activity except for transportation from home to school or from school to home. It must be operated by a holder of a school bus driver permit and is subject to certain provisions concerning contractual student transfer arrangements, contracts requiring school bus driver permits, liability insurance, and safety testing. The bill was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

SB 3676 (Trotter, D-Chicago) provides that the county clerk shall abate 100% of property taxes levied by any taxing district for the first taxable year on foreclosed residential real estate purchased or otherwise received by a taxpayer for improvement. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 3727 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) makes changes to provisions concerning licenses to operate, permits for construction or major alteration, license renewal, and payment of fees regarding swimming pools. The bill was approved by the Senate Public Health Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

SB 3751 (Jones, D-Chicago) provides that, in Cook County, a claim for a property tax refund is allowed if the right to a refund arose less than 20 years prior to the date the application is filed (currently not before Jan. 1, 2000). The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 291 (Flowers, D-Chicago) requires the Department of Public Health to establish a three-year pilot program for the Chicago school district in which the Department shall require an electrocardiogram (EKG) test as part of the health examination that student athletes are required to undergo. The bill was defeated in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

HB 3844 (Harris, R-Arlington Heights) is identical to SB 3487 above. The bill was approved as amended by the House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 4043 (Bradley, D-Marion) provides that for the consolidation of Christopher Unit School District 99 and Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District 188, the consolidation moves forward after one or both of the school districts have been awarded school construction. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor.

HB 4940 (Sacia, R-Pecatonica) , regarding the school facility occupation tax (county 1% sales tax), provides that if a county board imposed the voter approved tax at a rate below the rate set forth in the question, the tax shall be imposed at the rate set forth in the question. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5203 (Fortner, R-West Chicago) provides that two or more election nominating petitions filed within the last hour of the filing deadline shall be deemed filed simultaneously. The bill was approved by the House Elections and Campaign Finance Reform Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5567 (Costello, D-Sparta) requires that if a school district has been designated as on financial warning or financial watch status, then the district must join the Department of Central Management Services’ Joint Purchasing Program. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was defeated in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

HB 5602 (Sente, D-Lincolnshire) provides that the inspection and copying of law enforcement records maintained by law enforcement agencies that relate to a minor who has been arrested or taken into custody before his or her 17th birthday may be released to appropriate schools under a reciprocal reporting system. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5629 (Kay, R-Edwardsville) amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to provide that the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with mental or physical developmental disabilities shall communicate to the other parent in writing any major decision regarding the minor child’s education or medical, dental, or psychological treatment. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary I Civil Law Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5761 (Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove) , as amended, provides that property owned by a school district that is leased to the State, a unit of local government, or another school district, is exempt from taxation under the Property Tax Act. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5774 (Rita, D-Blue Island) , regarding Tax Increment Financing Districts, provides that after the approval by ordinance of a redevelopment plan and designation of redevelopment project area, the plan may be amended and additional properties may be added to the redevelopment project area without notice, a meeting of the joint review board, or a public hearing if (i) the amendment adds additional properties that include dilapidated public bridges owned by the municipality. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee and was sent to the House floor for consideration.

HB 5791 (Senger, R-Naperville) requires the actuary of each of the five state-funded pension systems (including TRS) to conduct an investigation of the system at least once every three (rather than five) years. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5754 (Fortner) requires each State retirement system (including TRS) that does not already have a self-managed plan to establish and maintain one. The bill was considered in the House Personnel and Pensions Committee but no vote was taken and the bill remains in committee.

HB 5825 (Chapa La Via) provides that, except for those children qualifying under the Article of the Code concerning children with disabilities, school districts shall be eligible to receive reimbursement for all children requiring home or hospital instruction at not more than $1,000 annually per child or $9,000 (instead of $8,000) per teacher, whichever is less. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor.

HB 5826 (Chapa La Via) , regarding the poverty grant in the General State Aid formula removes language requiring certain school to submit a plan to ISBE regarding the improvement of instruction in which priority is given to meeting the education needs of disadvantaged children. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5827 (Chapa La Via) repeals and revises obsolete and duplicative provisions in the School Code. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5898 (Fortner) requires the ISBE to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education contained in the Council’s December 2011 report before the 2012-2013 school year. The bill was held in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee after testimony was provided.

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 Statewide School Management Alliance.

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


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