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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-49

Distributed via Email: May 3, 2012

LEGISLATURE WRAPS UP ANOTHER WEEK

The Illinois legislature completed enough of its work this week that the House Speaker and Senate President cancelled the scheduled session day for Friday. Lawmakers will return to the Capitol next Tuesday. The volume of legislation is significantly less than in “normal” years. The significant work to be done will center on a few very large issues; namely the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, Medicaid cuts and pension reform.

No breakthroughs were made this week on any of those issues. The scheduled appropriations committees were cancelled this week as there was no budget compromise in sight. Though rumors persisted in the Capitol hallways about what might occur with the governor’s pension reform proposal, there was no official movement on any pension plan and no bills or amendments were filed addressing Governor Pat Quinn’s pension plans.

An overview of and talking points on the major pending issues can be found at: http://www.iasb.com/govrel/pli12.cfm

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BE ON BALLOT

The voters of the state will have a say in how future pension enhancements are enacted. The Senate today approved House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 49 (Madigan, D-Chicago) which will place on the November General Election ballot an opportunity to change the State Constitution. The House of Representatives has already approved the measure.

If the Constitutional Amendment is approved, it would require a 3/5 ths vote of the legislature or local governments, including school districts, to adopt any benefit increase for any state pension or retirement system. The Amendment is adopted in one of two ways on November 6, either with 3/5ths of those voting yes on the question or a majority of those voting in the election approving the measure.

ISBE TRANSPORTATION PROPOSAL HELD IN COMMITTEE

The proposal initiated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to modify the transportation reimbursement formula and eliminate the requirement that school districts transport students to school met stiff opposition in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday. The proposal was amended onto HB 5825 but sponsor Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) pulled the bill before a vote could be called when it became evident that the bill would not receive the requisite number of votes needed for approval by the committee.

Details of the proposal were highlighted in the last Alliance Legislative Report: http://www.iasb.com/govrel/alr9748.cfm

PROPERTY TAX LEGISLATION NOT CALLED

The sponsor did not call the bill that would limit taxing districts to zero revenue growth if property values are declining overall. SB 2862 (Sandoval, D-Chicago) was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Revenue Committee Wednesday but it was never presented or called for a vote.

The bill, for counties under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), states i f the total equalized assessed value (EAV) of all taxable property in the taxing district for the current levy year is less than the total EAV of all taxable property in the taxing district for the previous levy year, then the extension limitation is (a) 0% or (b) the rate of increase approved by voters.

Calls by Alliance members to legislators who sit on the Senate Revenue Committee undoubtedly made a difference in the result of this scheduled hearing.

OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK

SB 538 (Kotowski, D-Park Ridge) requires the five State-funded retirement systems, in their annual certification of the required State contribution for the next fiscal year, to specifically identify the system's predicted state normal cost for that fiscal year. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 1313 (Schoenberg, D-Evanston) , as amended, eliminates the State’s contribution that subsidizes the health insurance programs for state employees. The bill was approved by the House Executive Committee and was sent to the House floor for consideration.

SB 2643 (Noland, D-Elgin) requires those contractors and subcontractors who want to bid on prevailing wage work to comply with Responsible Bidder requirements to qualify, including mandatory apprenticeship participation. The bill also requires contractors to include in each bid the total number of straight-time work hours, identify as journeyman or apprentice each craft or type of worker or mechanic needed to execute the contract. The bill was approved by the House Labor Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 2706 (Haine, D-Alton) , as amended, contains some of the recommendations of the Streamlining Illinois Regional Offices of Education Commission. Specifically, the bill requires that the population of each region be no more than 61,000 and there be no more than 35 regions by July 1, 2015. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

SB 2896 (Frerichs, D-Champaign) requires a school board to rely on the background check certificate issued by a regional superintendent to a substitute teacher, concurrent part-time teacher, or concurrent educational support personnel employee if he/she presents such certificate. The bill was held in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee after lengthy discussion.

SB 3004 (Pankau, R-Roselle) with the amendment filed, would have increased the Senior Citizen and General Homestead Exemption in the Property Tax Code to $10,000 (from $4,000 and $6,000 respectively). The amendment was not approved and the bill remains in the Senate Revenue Committee.

SB 3314 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) clarifies that for a referendum to raise the Limiting Rate under PTELL, that the referendum question must include, in the calculation demonstrating the cost per $100,000 of assessed value, the multiplier applied by either the county for Cook or the Department of Revenue for all other counties. The bill was approved by the House Revenue Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 3374 (Holmes, D-Plainfield) 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 House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, after an amendment was adopted to address some of the Alliance concerns, and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 3415 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) requires school officials to immediately notify local law enforcement agencies of any attack on school personnel. It also requires school employees to immediately report to the principal any firearm observations on school grounds and to report the incidence of any of various enumerated criminal offenses that occur on school grounds. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 3723 (Harmon) creates an income tax credit for taxpayers who make a purchase of green power. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

HB 1299 (Verschoore, D-Milan) amends PTELL to provide that the question of establishing a maximum aggregate extension may be combined with the question of forming or establishing a new taxing district. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 2984 (Sosnowski, R-Belvidere) makes changes regarding financial oversight panels for the E. St. Louis school district. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 4239 (Zalewski, D-Chicago) , as amended, codifies assessor practices to ensure that general homestead exemptions are being received properly in leasehold property situations. The bill was approved by the House Revenue Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 4242 (Phelps, D-Norris City) creates the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption to provide a property tax exemption for homeowners that lost a home in a natural disaster then replaced that home with a new one. The property owner would be eligible to receive a homestead exemption for that portion of the assessed value that is the difference between what the property was assessed at the year previous to the disaster and the newly assessed property after the improvements have been made. Restrictions apply, except that the exemption would only expire after the property was sold or transferred. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration, with the pledge that the sponsor would work with the Alliance to address specific concerns about the proposal.

HB 4687 (Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn) amends the Open Meetings Act to require the posted agenda to set forth the general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at the meeting. The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) defines what a school district “policy on bullying” must include. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

HB 5826 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) , regarding the poverty grant in the General State Aid formula, removes language requiring certain schools 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 Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

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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