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Alliance Legislative Report 97-62

Distributed via Email: November 9, 2012


The November 6 General Election results indicate that the status quo will remain in Washington, D.C., but Democrats made a huge stride in Springfield. While the electorate re-elected President Barack Obama and maintained the balance of power in Congress with the Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate and the Republicans in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives, Illinois did see one party enhance its power. Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly will have a veto-proof majority for the Democratic Party.

Already with a Democrat occupying the Governor’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan will soon preside over a 71- member Democrat caucus, enough firepower to succeed in issues that need a 3/5 majority vote. Likewise, Senate President John Cullerton will rule a chamber with 40 Democrats occupying the 59 Illinois Senate seats. Not only is the concentration of power squarely in the Democrat Party, it is solely based in the City of Chicago. Governor Pat Quinn, Speaker Madigan, and President Cullerton all reside in the City. On one side of the coin, the trio could wield enormous influence. On the other side, the Speaker and Senate President through their veto-proof majorities, could render the Governor nearly irrelevant.

The legislature will convene in Veto Session November 27-29 and December 4-6. Speaker Madigan has also notified House members to be available for session January 3-8, 2013.

Specific election results can be found later in the report.


The Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials will be held November 16-18 in Chicago. As usual, several opportunities will be available to attend panel discussions on the latest legislative issues with presentations by legislators and other education experts.

Friday, November 16, 1:30 – 3:00

Behind the Scenes of Pension Reform

Moderator:   Ben Schwarm, Deputy Executive Director, IASB
Panelists: Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director, IASA
Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington)
Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook)
Hans Zigmund, Office of the Governor

Classrooms First Commission: The Next Steps

Presenter:   Lynne Haeffele,Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Saturday, November 17, 10:30 – 12:00

Legislative Issues Impacting School Districts

Dr. Calvin Jackson, Legislative Liaison, IASBO

Dr. Chris Koch, State Superintendent of Schools
Senator David Luechtefeld (R- Okawville)
Representative Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood)
Representative Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley)

Saturday, November 17, 1:30 – 3:00

2012 Legislative Session Overview

Susan Hilton, Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Senator David Luechtefeld (R- Okawville)
Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago)
Representative Pam Roth (R-Morris)
Representative Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood)

Task Forces, Commissions, Recommendations, Oh My!

Deanna Sullivan, Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Kathryn Phillips, Chief of Staff, Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Larry Pfeiffer, Classrooms First Commission
Dr. Paul Swanstrom, Illinois Charter School Commission
Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Regional Superintendent (Region 56)



The Senate Democrats were able to use a strong suburban push as well as win some newly redistricted Senate seats in their Election Day surge. Less than half of the Senate races were contested as 30 candidates faced no election opposition. Of the 29 contested races, a smaller percentage was viewed to be truly competitive. In all but one of these “top tier” races, Democrats came out victorious.

Senators Dan Kotowski, Mike Jacobs, David Koehler, John Sullivan, Bill Haine, and Gary Forbyall retained their seats and defeated Republican opposition by fairly wide margins. Democrat Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, currently serving as Regional Superintendent of Schools in Will County, defeated Plainfield Village Trustee Garret Peck in the 49 th District. In Central Illinois, former Senate Democrat budget chief Andy Manar defeated Decatur Mayor Mike McElroy.

The biggest upset of the night came in DuPage County when Tom Cullerton (Senate President Cullerton’s cousin) defeated incumbent Republican Senator Carole Pankau. The victory gives the Democrats hope for more future gains in what was previously a Republican bastion in DuPage County.


In the Illinois House, candidates in 69 of the representative districts in the House were uncontested; 39 of the Democrat candidates and 30 of the Republican candidates had no one running against them. In the 59 th District two incumbents squared off as Representative Carol Sente (D) defeated Representative Sid Mathias (R). In the other contests, every place where the incumbent was unseated, Democrats prevailed. Probably the most significant example of the “power of the incumbency” is the House 10 th District in Chicago where recently expelled Derrick Smith (D) handily defeated his opponent Lance Tyson (I) to retain the seat he was appointed to last year.

Like in the Senate races, House Democrats were also successful in making inroads into formerly Republican-prevailing suburban areas. Democrats Deborah O’Keefe-Conroy, Martin Moylan ,  Stephanie Kifowit, Michelle Mussman, and Scott Drury all won. In two of the biggest upsets for House incumbents, Representative Sandy Cole lost to Sam Yingling in the 62 nd House District (Grayslake) and Representative Skip Saviano lost to Kathleen Willis in the 77 th House District.

The biggest downstate surprise was first term incumbent Richard Morthland’s (R) loss to Mike Smiddy (D) in the 71 st House District ( Quad Cities area). Republicans were able to hold on to a couple districts in the Metro East area with the narrow re-election of Dwight Kay (R) in the 112 th District and the election of Charles Meier (R) over Daniel Polites (D) in the Edwardsville area.


Overall in the U.S. Congress, there was no change in power. The U.S. Senate will still be controlled by the Democrats with a split of 52-45 with two Independents and one race not called yet. The U.S. House will still be controlled by the Republicans with a split of 232-192 with 11 not called yet. In Illinois, one seat was lost in the redistricting process due to population loss. The former breakdown of Democrats vs. Republicans was eight Democrats and 11 Republicans. The new breakdown is 12 Democrats and 6 Republicans.

The following are the results of some notable races:

Despite a leave of absence since the beginning of summer and the admission of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and depression, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) soundly defeated his opponents by 63%.   Representative Joe Walsh (R-Winnetka) was defeated by Tammy Duckworth.   Representative Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) was defeated by Brad Schneider.   Long serving Representative Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale) was defeated by former Representative Bill Foster.   William Enyart (D-Carbondale) defeated Jason Plummer.   Rodney Davis (R-Decatur) defeated David Gill.   Representative Bobby Schilling (R-Moline) was defeated by Cheri Bustos.

The Illinois Senate seats were not up for re-election this year.


The proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution that would have raised the voting threshold before the General Assembly could enhance pension benefits failed to receive the requisite number of votes for passage. The measure required a 60% vote of those voting on the question – it received 58%. If approved, it would have required a 3/5 by the Illinois House and Senate to approve any legislation that would have been considered an enhancement of benefits for participants of any state retirement system.


School finance referendums yielded mixed results, with seven of nine bond issues winning voter approval; but none of the four county sales increase proposals on the ballot getting a green light from voters. Property tax increase proposals were defeated in Golf SD 67, Morton Grove; and in Somonauk CUSD 432.

Bond issues were approved in: Ball Chatham CUSD 5, Chatham; Rockford SD 205; Brookwood SD 167, Glenwood; Golf SD 67, Morton Grove; Farrington CCSD 99, Bluford; Highland CUSD 5; and Ford Heights SD 169.  Of these, the successful Chatham, Rockford, Glenwood and Morton Grove proposals all call for the issuance of building bonds. The successful Farrington and Bluford proposals call for the issuance of working cash bonds. The successful Ford Heights proposal involves an $11 million funding bond earmarked to pay claims against the district.

In addition, two school district consolidation proposals were on the ballot, and one of them passed. It will combine Abingdon CUSD 217 with Avon CUSD 176.  Voters said no, however, to the proposed consolidation of Christopher CUSD 99 and Zeigler-Royalton CUSD 188, Zeigler.

Voters also turned down proposals to elect school board members at large in two school districts, but a third such vote is as yet undecided in Waverly CUSD 6.


More information on election results and a comprehensive summary of specific legislative races will be available at the Alliance Legislative Information booth at the Joint Annual Conference. The Alliance information booth will contain a wealth of legislative information and offer a great opportunity for school board members and administrators to speak directly with the Alliance legislative team about legislative issues.

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

Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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