Alliance Legislative Report 98-01
Distributed via Email: January 11, 2013
NEW GENERAL ASSEMBLY ORGANIZES
With the old 97 th Illinois General Assembly adjourning Tuesday, going out not with a roar, but with a whimper, a brand new legislature has begun its work. What had the potential to be a groundbreaking “lame duck” session in the first nine days of the new year, turned out to be a bust as one significant issue after the other went by the wayside. No pension reform bills were called for a vote; legislative leaders also declined to consider the controversial societal issues of gay marriage, medical marijuana use, or gun control.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate adjourned “sine die” Tuesday afternoon and the new members of the legislature were sworn into office at noon on Wednesday. The legislative process will start over as the slate is wiped clean and all pending legislation from the “old” legislature is dead and will have to be re-introduced.
The issues, however, do not go away. The first bill introduced in the Senate, SB 1, is a pension reform bill sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).SB 35 ( Biss, D-Evanston) also is a pension reform measure. The Alliance will also be watching closely for legislation on new P.E. requirements, school safety requirements, school funding changes, and a host of other initiatives that will inevitably emerge with the dawning of a new General Assembly filled with fresh new faces.
With the election and the newly drawn legislative boundaries, there are dozens of brand new legislators anxious to make their mark in the Capitol. Now is a good time for Alliance members to get acquainted with their legislators, especially if they are newly elected. The House of Representatives returns to session on January 30; the Senate returns on February 5.
WHERE WE ARE ON PENSION REFORM
At the end of the spring legislative session last May, the pension proposal discussed contained the “choice” provision where employees and annuitants would have to decide whether to keep the compounding Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) or have access to post-retirement health insurance coverage. The proposal also contained the provision to shift a portion of the State’s pension costs onto the local school district (for details, go here).
In the recent “lame duck” session, the pension proposal discussed did not contain a cost shift or employee “choice provision”, but would have capped salaries for pension purposes, increased employee pension contributions, and reduced the COLA (for details, go here).
When pension discussions resume this spring, everything will be back on the table – including the cost shift to local school districts. Senate Democrat leadership will likely demand that any pension bill contain some type of “choice” provision for employees (in an effort to make the change constitutional) and contain a cost shift. House Democrat leaders also will likely push for a cost shift.
The Alliance will continue to be involved in pension discussions in the Capitol and provide regular updates on the progress of the talks.
OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTION
HB 3816 (Franks, D-Woodstock) transfers all of the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, including the power to coordinate statewide violence prevention efforts and development of a statewide plan to incorporate public health and public safety approaches to violence prevention in families, communities, and schools. The bill was approved by both houses and will be sent to the governor for consideration.
HB 5495 ( Nekritz, D-Northbrook) sets the aggregate extension base for West Northfield School District No. 31 in Cook County at $12,654,592 for levy year 2012. The bill was approved by both houses and will be sent to the governor for consideration.
HB 6193 (Mitchell, J., R-Rock Falls) , in the Comprehensive Health Education Act, requires that age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education be included in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 (instead of sexual assault awareness taught in secondary schools). The bill also allows programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention to be included in teacher in-service programs. The bill was approved by the Senate and will be sent to the Governor for consideration.
SB 744 (Link, D-Vernon Hills) establishes a casino in Chicago, adds four new riverboat casinos, and allows slot machines at horse race tracks. The proposal is estimated to bring in $200 million for the Common School Fund. The bill has been sent to the Governor after sitting on the Senate President’s desk for a year-and-a-half. Both chambers approved the bill in May of 2011, but the Governor indicated that he would veto the bill. The Senate, then, used a parliamentary maneuver to keep the bill in limbo until now.
SB 3297 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) increases the debt limit for Hall High School District 502 under specific circumstances. The bill was approved by the Senate and will be sent to the Governor for consideration.
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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