IFT End-of-Session Legislative Highlights (Part 3 of 3)

After an anything but normal spring legislative session comprised of remote legislating and zoom committee hearings, the Illinois General Assembly (GA) wrapped up its business for the first half of the 102nd GA. Before the Memorial Day holiday, a long list of issues remained unresolved, including ethics reform, property tax changes, and passage of the state budget. Both the House and Senate worked into the wee hours of June 1, and the Senate returned for session later that day.


Highlights of the action:


Employee Benefits


Family Leave For Part-time Educational Employees


House Bill 12 would grant Family and Medical Leave to an employee of a school district, public university, or community college district who has been employed for at least 12 months and who has worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12-month period. This passed both chambers.


Expanded Use of Sick Leave


House Bill 816 broadens the ability to use sick leave. The legislation would allow teachers and other employees to use up to 30 days of paid sick leave for adoption or placement for adoption or fostering children. This passed both chambers.


Curriculum/School Day


‘Sexting’ Education


House Bill 24 requires sex education course material for grades 6-12 to include an age-appropriate discussion on sexting. The discussion shall include consequences of sexting, bullying and harassment, internet safety, and the identification of appropriate school personnel who may be contacted for help if a student is concerned about something occurring in this area. Appropriate personnel may include a principal, teacher, school social worker, counselor, or trusted community leader. This passed both chambers.


Social Studies and American History – Inclusion of the Asian American Experience


House Bill 376 requires public schools to include in their curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history. The bill passed both chambers.


Driver Education – How to Interact with Police During a Traffic Stop


House Bill 3097 requires school driver education course instruction to include procedures for interacting with law enforcement during traffic stops. It also requires that adult education courses include these procedures. The bill requires the Secretary of State and Illinois State Police to collaborate in updating the Illinois Rules of the Road to include appropriate law enforcement interaction during traffic stops. This passed both chambers.


Health Education on E-Cigarettes and Vaping


House Bill 3202 adds e-cigarettes and other vapor devices as an education area under Comprehensive Health Education Program. This passed both chambers.


Citizenship Education


House Bill 3281 allows school districts to teach a unit of instruction on the process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. It passed both chambers.


Teaching the Contributions of Muslim Americans


Senate Bill 564 requires the teaching of the contributions made by Muslims and Muslim Americans to society as part of U.S. History and adds the birthday of Muhammad Ali (January 17) to the list of commemorative holidays. The bill was amended to include several other religions. Passed both chambers.


Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act


Senate Bill 818 requires the Illinois State Board of education to adopt new learning standards on personal health and safety standards for grades K-5. New sexual health standards would also be adopted for students in grades 6-12. The bill requires these standards to be medically accurate, culturally appropriate, inclusive, trauma-informed, and developmentally- and age-appropriate. The new standards would go into effect in 2023. This passed both chambers.


Financial Literacy as Part of Social Studies


Senate Bill 1830 allows coursework on financial literacy to be included in social studies classes and counted as fulfilment of social studies requirements for a high school diploma. This passed both chambers.


Play Time


Senate Bill 654 requires all public schools to provide 30 minutes of supervised, unstructured, child-directed play each day for students K-5. Play time does not count as physical education and can be divided into periods of at least 15 consecutive minutes. The bill prohibits the withholding of play time as a disciplinary or punitive action unless a student’s participation poses an immediate threat to his/her safety or the safety of other students. It passed both chambers.


Other Legislation


Forced Consolidation Bill Stopped


House Bill 7 would have created the Efficient School District Commission and was an initiative of the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI). Its purpose is to provide recommendations to the governor, the General Assembly, and the electorate regarding the number of school districts in this state and where the reorganization and realignment of school districts would be beneficial. The 13-member commission would be charged with making recommendations to regional superintendents on school consolidation. The question of whether to consolidate districts would be put on the ballot in communities without their input. The IFT and other education stakeholders opposed this bill and it failed in the House.


Eliminate Sunset Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program


House Bill 4076 was introduced after all the applicable legislative deadlines and would have eliminated the sunset date for the Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program. The IFT opposes this program and this legislation. It was not called for a vote before adjournment.


Changing the EdTPA


Senate Bill 808 provides that, to obtain a license under the Article, a student teacher candidate may not be required to videotape himself or herself or his or her students in a classroom setting. It passed both chambers.


Sexual Abuse


House Bill 3223 among other things, would allow a student who is a


victim of domestic or sexual violence to transfer schools if necessary for the student’s mental or physical well-being. It creates the Ensuring Success in Schools Task Force to draft model policies. IFT has an appointment on this Task Force. This passed both chambers.


Updated Policies and Trainings - Sexual Abuse Prevention


House Bill 3461 will require a school district’s policy addressing child sexual abuse to include an age-appropriate and evidence-informed curriculum. The bill requires a school district include it in its policy, training materials, and instruction a definition of grooming behaviors and how to report. It details what the policy must address. New policies must be adopted and implemented by July 1, 2022. This passed both chambers.


Several issues remain unfinished, including passage of gaming and energy legislation that includes a carbon free schools initiative. No official return date has been scheduled, but it is likely that the legislature may return to Springfield before the end of June.


Watch IFT Under the Dome for additional updates.