(via the Illinois Federation of Teachers)
Friday, October 29 marked the end of the two-week fall veto session. Typically, this is a time when the legislature acts on bills that the governor vetoed. This year, he vetoed only six bills and veto action was taken during the legislature’s September return. Instead, lawmakers used the two weeks to approve additional legislative measures they were unable to get to during the spring.
Here are some highlights of veto session action.
COVID Wage and Benefit Protections Bill for school employees
HB 2778 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville/Sen. Belt, D-East St Louis) is critical legislation for education employees. It provides two things:
Paid time off for educators and staff at K-12 schools, public universities, and community colleges when the employee or the employee's children must quarantine because of COVID illness or exposure. This will ensure that education employees don't exhaust their sick days or lose pay when they are quarantined because of COVID. The benefit is available to employees who are in compliance with the mandate to be vaccinated or tested weekly.
Paycheck protection for K-12 food service, custodial, transportation and other non-instructional employees who are unable to perform their jobs remotely when a school is closed or an e-learning day is triggered for COVID safety reasons.
IFT President Dan Montgomery said, “The overwhelming passage of House Bill 2778 demonstrates support for basic fairness for all education employees statewide. At the same time, it promotes economic recovery and ensures that schools are safe for those who learn and work in them.”
Please take a moment to email Governor J.B. Pritzker and urge him to sign the bill into law!
Sex abuse prevention
HB 1975 (Rep. Mussman, D – Schaumburg/Sen. Bennet, D-Champaign) requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop and maintain a resource guide that provides guidance to students, parents and teachers about sex abuse prevention resources available in the community. Licensure renewal is updated – to require professional development (PD) providers to include in their training information about grooming, sex abuse, and how to protect children. The bill requires districts to develop a professional code of conduct policy. The bill passed both chambers unanimously.
Tax exempt status – Trade schools
SB 217 (Rep. Zalewski, D-Riverside/Sen. Castro, D-Elgin) allows tax exempt status for trade schools that are owned or leased by non-profit trusts, if the schools are used solely for educating and training individuals for occupational and technical careers; applies only in St. Clair County (over 600,000 population, but not more than 700,000 population) and Cook County (over 3,000,000 population); the school must be registered with the Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Dept. of Labor. Passed both chambers.
Local school councils (LSCs)
SB101 (Sen. Pacione Zyas, D-Chicago/Rep. Andrade, D-Chicago) amends provisions related to local school councils (LSCs) in the Chicago School District Article of the School Code. Requires every attendance center to form a LSC and outlines the makeup of each LSC, along with the election process.
Elected Chicago school board
SB1784 (Sen. Martwick, D-Chicago/Rep. Buckner, D-Chicago) adds an immediate effective date on the moratorium for school closures. Extends the date by which the electoral districts must be drawn (from February 1, 2022) to July 1, 2023. The legislation also requires the independent financial review shall be due no later than October 31 and clarifies that board members will not be paid.
Omnibus legislation extends the work of task forces, commissions and allows interfund transfers
HB 594 (Sen. Lightford, D-Hillside)/Rep Hoffman, D-Belleville) contains several provisions of interest to our union and members, including:
Additional appointments to the Future of Work Task Force, including an IFT appointee.
Timing of the report, the Inclusive American History Commission is extended to February 28, 2022. The Inclusive American History Commission was created to provide assistance to ISBE in revising its social science learning standards.
Extends the sunset date for school districts to utilize interfund transfers to June 30, 2024. This important tool for school district budgeting was inadvertently overlooked during the spring session.
Timing of the report of the Whole Child Task Force is extended to March 15, 2022. The task force was created by P.A. 101-0654 for the purpose of establishing an equitable, inclusive, safe, and supportive environment in all schools for every student in Illinois.