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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 98-55

Distributed via Email: December 4, 2014

LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS VETO SESSION

The Illinois General Assembly has finished its work for the 98 th General Assembly. The House of Representatives cancelled today’s (Thursday) session and adjourned Wednesday afternoon and is not scheduled to return to the Capitol until January when the new 99 th General Assembly is to be sworn in. This means that there will be no “lame duck” session in the earlier part of January when historically the legislature returned for a few days to finish its business (many times calling controversial bills).

The Senate adjourned today (Thursday) at 1:30 p.m. and left the door open for a return to the Capitol before January. However, with the House not scheduled to re-convene, no new legislation could be approved for final passage.

The Senate, Wednesday, approved a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage (HB 4733) – but only after the House had already adjourned – making the action largely symbolic. The Senate sponsor of the bill (Lightford, D-Maywood) indicated that Governor Pat Quinn may call the House back into a special session to address the legislation.

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) will be inaugurated on Monday, Jan. 12. Members of the new General Assembly will be sworn in on Wednesday, Jan. 14. The calendar for the Senate and House spring legislative session is available on the General Assembly website.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK

SB 2221 ( Raoul, D-Chicago), as amended, would increase exposure to legal liability for school districts and other entities by eliminating the statute of limitations on any lawsuit due to health problems caused by asbestos. Aimed specifically at mesothelioma, the legislation is drafted broadly enough that other health problems could be covered. This legislation will increase immediate costs to districts through increased liability insurance premiums because of the added legal exposure and could prompt even more costs in the future from new health-related lawsuits. The bill was approved by the Senate (38-16-2) and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

SB 2711 (Delgado, D-Chicago), as amended, allows for recognized out-of-state time to count towards the minimum four years of total experience for a Principal Endorsement. The bill was approved by the Senate (53-0) and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

SB 2809 ( Raoul, D-Chicago), as amended in the House, would allow for a civil action to be brought by the Attorney General to enjoin the payment of benefits under any of the state’s pension systems to any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with that person's service as an employee. The bill was approved by the Senate (51-0) and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

HB 3796 (Currie, D-Chicago) defines “voluminous request” and places other clarifications in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to try to protect public bodies from citizens who intentionally abuse FOIA by repeatedly requesting vast amounts of information. The bill was approved in the spring and was vetoed by the governor. The Senate voted to override the veto and the bill will become law.

HB 3817 ( Nekritz, D-Northbrook), as amended, makes two changes. It eliminates the School Code requirement that requires the county clerk to verify that nominating petition filings include a statement of candidacy, required number of signatures, a notarized signature of the circulator, and that an economic interest statement has been filed. County clerks are not required to verify this information for nominating petitions filed for any other office. The bill also clarifies in another section of the Election Code that school board members will file their nominating petitions with the county clerk or County Board of Election Commissioners. The bill was approved by the Senate (48-0) and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

HB 4733 ( Lightford) increases the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 beginning July 1, 2015 and increases it by $0.50 each July 1 until July 1, 2019, at which point the minimum wage will be $11.00. The bill provides that the establishment of a minimum wage is an exclusive power and function of the state and is a denial and limitation of the home rule powers and functions, except that the limitation on home rule powers does not apply to a specified ordinance adopted by the city council of the city of Chicago. The bill also amends the Illinois Income Tax Act to create a credit against the withholding tax liability of employers with fewer than 50 employees in an amount equal to the increased wages paid as a result of the increase in the minimum wage. The bill was approved by the Senate but was not considered by the House of Representatives.

HB 5537 (Currie) is the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) bill to remove school board members for reasons of poor governance. The bill would allow for a pilot project in which ISBE could appoint no more than four independent authorities (that take on the role of a local school board) at any one time. The bill was approved by the Senate (41-6-3) 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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