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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-53

Distributed via Email: May 25, 2012

LEGISLATURE NEARING THE END OF SESSION

The Illinois legislature is working steadily toward the end of the spring legislative session. The Senate adjourned Friday and will return to the Capitol Monday afternoon. The House of Representatives is expected to work on Saturday, take Sunday off, and return Monday afternoon as well. The scheduled final adjournment date is May 31. Progress has been made on the major pending issues.

FISCAL YEAR 2013 BUDGET

From the outset, the FY ’13 state budget was going to be predicated on budget cuts, Medicaid revisions, and pension reform. A mostly bi-partisan agreement was set in motion this week as a series of Medicaid reform bills were approved and appropriations bills started to move. But there was no official movement on pension reform legislation this week.

K-12 Education

The Senate passed a bill that contained the appropriations for K-12 education. SB 2455 (Steans) would generally provide flat funding in FY ’13 compared to the current fiscal year. The bill provides the same appropriations amount in General State Aid and regular transportation as was appropriated in the current fiscal year. Special education funding, in the aggregate, is generally held flat as well.

The House of Representatives will now have to either take up the Senate version of the budget, or pass one of their own. Most likely, it will be the latter. A House committee will be discussing a bill, SB 2413, that would cut K-12 education by $258 million in FY ’13 compared to current FY ’12 levels. This includes a $212 million cut in the General State Aid formula – equating to about $330 less per pupil in the foundation level . The House budget attempts to hold the mandatory categorical grant funds steady, in line with the current state budget.

Neither the House nor the Senate appropriations bills have earmarked any General Revenue Fund money for Regional Office of Education salaries. Lawmakers plan to again fund these offices out of Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax funds.

PENSION REFORM

Though pension reform meetings were held every day this week, there is still no official draft legislation on the issue. The Governor’s office initiated meetings with a working group of legislators, including House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, and various stakeholder groups – including the Statewide School Management Alliance.

There seemed to be some new developments this week: increasing the retirement age for TRS participants appears to be off of the table and out of any pension proposal. Likewise, the provision to increase the pension contribution (by 3%) for TRS participants apparently has gone by the wayside. However, the proposal to end the use of the compounding Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is very much on the table and has become the centerpiece of the pension discussions and any emerging pension reform bill. The compounding COLA would be replaced – for active TRS members and for current annuitants – with a simple COLA of 3% or the percentage of CPI, whichever is less.

Likewise, a provision to shift a portion of the State’s pension costs to the local school district is still a big part of the current proposal. Generally, the school district would be responsible for picking up the “normal costs” of the pension liability of the district’s employees. A phase in could be available that would require, beginning on July 1, 2013, the school district to contribute 1% of its TRS payroll to the pension system. Each subsequent year the school district would pick up an additional percent of TRS payroll until the “normal costs” were shifted.

Medicaid Reform

The bill package for the Medicaid revisions, including SB 2840 (Steans, D-Chicago), will cut approximately $1.7 billion from the Medicaid budget through various provisions that will affect Medicaid recipients, physicians, and hospitals. SB 2840 has been approved by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor.

Part of the Medicaid package, contained in SB 2194 (Schoenberg, D-Evanston), would increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack. This would generate approximately $375 million for the State, and create another $375 million in federal matching funds.

Gaming Legislation

The House of Representatives also approved gaming legislation (SB 1849) and sent the proposal to the Senate. The bill, similar to legislation passed last year, would establish a land-based casino in Chicago, provide for four new riverboat casinos, and allow slot machines at horse racetracks. The plan is estimated to generate $1 billion in one time revenues for the gaming licenses, and an additional $700 million to $1 billion in recurring revenues to the State. A portion of all gaming funds is allocated to the Common School Fund.

HOT BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

SB 636 (Lightford, D-Maywood) requires all schools to provide daily recess, for at least 20 minutes, for all students in grades kindergarten through 5. “Recess shall include unstructured play” and “if the principal determines that the weather is inclement, then the principal shall direct that recess be held indoors”. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was defeated in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.

SB 2706 (Haine, D-Alton) 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 House of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

SB 3367 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) makes significant changes regarding drivers’ education. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his 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 and was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) defines what a school district “policy on bullying” must include. The bill was defeated on the floor of the Senate. It could be called for another vote on the Senate floor.

OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK

SB 548 (Koehler, D-Peoria) extends for life of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts in East Peoria and Carlyle. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent back to the Senate for concurrence in the House amendment.

SB 3252 (Althoff, R-Crystal Lake) makes changes regarding tax rates for a reorganization for schools in the Spring Grove, Richmond area. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

SB 3259 (Lightford) originally raised the compulsory attendance age to 18. Now, as amended, it creates a commission to study how to improve high school graduation rates. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

SB 3374 (Holmes, D-Plainfield) establishes the Enhanced Physical Education Task Force to promote and recommend 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 of Representatives and was sent back to the Senate for concurrence in the House amendment.

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 and was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 3806 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) changes the definition of “chronic truant” in the Juvenile Court Act to be identical to the definition in the School Code. The bill was approved by the Senate and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

HB 4029 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) allows districts to select a bus contract for other reasons than lowest responsible bidder. The bill received final approval by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

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 received final approval from the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.

HB 5114 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) did r equire 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 was amended to remove the mandate and make the CPR training permissive under the section of the School Code regarding safety education. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 5689 (Lilly, C-Chicago) creates the Eradicate Domestic Violence Task Force to develop a statewide effective and feasible prevention course for high school students designed to prevent interpersonal, adolescent violence. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 5825 (Chapa La Via) had been the bill that contained the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) new transportation reimbursement formula changes. All of that language has been stricken (and the ISBE is not expected to pursue the transportation language any further this spring) and the new amendment makes changes regarding the newly established State Charter School Commission. It provides that the Commission, instead of being a new State agency, will be an independent arm under the ISBE with appropriations channeled through the ISBE. The bill was approved as amended by the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 5826 (Chapa La Via) was amended to remove obsolete and duplicative language from the School Code as identified by the ISBE. The bill was approved as amended by the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

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


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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