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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-59

Distributed via Email: August 10, 2012

LEGISLATURE RETURNING FOR ONE DAY

The Illinois General Assembly will be returning to the Capitol next Friday for an unscheduled day of legislative session. Lawmakers were not scheduled to return to the Capitol until November 27 th, however, House Speaker Michael Madigan -- and now Governor Pat Quinn – have summoned legislators back to Springfield.

On July 20, Speaker Madigan issued a memorandum to all members of the House of Representatives stating that the House would re-convene for a one-day session on Friday, August 17. The purpose of the session was to address the possible expulsion of House member Derrick Smith (D-Chicago). A special House investigatory panel met through the spring and summer regarding Smith, who has been charged with accusations of accepting bribes. It is expected that the House of Representatives will take a vote on Friday on whether Smith should be removed from office.

Then, on July 30, the Governor issued a proclamation stating that he will be convening a special session of the legislature on August 17 “for the purpose of considering any legislation, new or pending, which addresses pension reform”. After months of high-level discussions in the Capitol in the spring regarding pension reform, ultimately no bill was approved. Most observers believe it is unlikely that the mission can be accomplished in a few hours on one legislative day in August.

PENSION REFORM OPTIONS

Pension discussions at the end of the spring legislative session involved proposals that would make significant changes to pension benefits for current workers who participate in all of the State’s retirement systems, including the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). And a main concern for local school boards was the provision to shift part of the state’s pension liabilities onto local school district budgets. Please refer to Alliance Legislative Report 97-54 for more details of those proposals.

It is expected that ultimately, legislation will be considered that contains many of the provisions from the spring conversations – including some type of pension cost shift. The details, however, remain to be seen. It will be very difficult for anything that comprehensive to be ready for a vote by next Friday and such a vote might not occur until the General Assembly re-convenes after the November election.

At the end of the session in May, though, the Senate did approve legislation on a piece of the pension reform. HB 1447 contains pension reform provisions for members of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). HB 1447 does not include any pension changes for TRS and has no pension cost shift language. The House of Representatives did not act on the legislation in May and is likely to address this bill next week.

New pension legislation, HB 6209, was introduced recently by State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook). This bill is another comprehensive pension reform package that would include changes for the State University Retirement System (SURS), TRS, SERS, and GARS. It contains many of the provisions outlined in ALR 97-54, including a pension cost shift to school districts – but with a more gradual phase-in period. Procedurally, though, HB 6209 is not a viable option for next week’s one-day session as new bills must be read into the record on three separate days in both the House and Senate.

RECENT BILL ACTION

HB 3474 ( Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn) specifically allows the Philip J. Rock Center and School to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Fund as a participating instrumentality. In the unlikely scenario of the Center being unable to pay the required IMRF employer contributions because it ceases to exist, the amount due would be paid by all other participating IMRF school districts in the State in an allocation based on the number of students in the school district. The bill is now Public Act 97-0854, effective July 26, 2012.

HB 3819 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) requires the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to submit a report to the State Superintendent of Education, the Governor, and the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2013. The report must address certain questions concerning the modification of bilingual education programs. The bill is now Public Act 97-0915, effective January 1, 2013.

HB 4602 ( Burke,K., D-Evergreen Park) provides that Ridgeland School District 122 may issue bonds with an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $50 million for the purpose of refunding or continuing to refund bonds originally issued pursuant to voter approval on Nov. 7, 2000. It provides that the debt incurred on the bonds shall not be considered indebtedness for purposes of any statutory debt limitation, and the bonds may be issued in one or more issuances and must mature within 25 years. The bill is now Public Act 97-0834, effective July 20, 2012.

HB 4687 ( Pihos) amends the Open Meetings Act to r equire that the posted agenda sets forth the general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action at the meeting. It also requires that the public body conducting the meeting ensure that at least one copy of the agenda for the meeting is continuously available for public review during the entire 48-hour period preceding the meeting. Posting on the website satisfies this requirement. The bill is now Public Act 97-0827, effective January 1, 2013.

HB 5003 (Cross, R-Oswego) designates November 14, of each year as Diabetes Awareness Day. The bill is now Public Act 97-0819, effective July 17, 2012.

HB 5013 (Gabel, D-Evanston) requires school districts to make publicly available, by December 1, of each year, the student immunization data that the district is required to submit to the ISBE each year. The bill is now Public Act 97-0910, effective January 1, 2013.

SB 2849 ( Haine, D-Alton) expands the definition of the term "neglected child" to include any child who is subjected to an environment injurious to his or her health and welfare an defines “blatant disregard”. The bill is now Public Act 97-0803, effective July 13, 2012.

SB 3259 ( Lightford, D-Maywood) establishes the Commission for High School Graduation Achievement and Success. The Commission will examine graduation rates, the mandatory attendance age, alternative educational programs, and graduation rates and how they relate to securing a post-high school job. Each of the four Alliance organizations will have representation on the Commission. The bill is now Public Act 97-0911, effective August 8, 2012.

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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