Legislators returned to Springfield this week to tackle outstanding issues from the Spring session that concluded earlier this month. Their efforts focused on an energy proposal and legislation to bring Chicago Public Schools an elected school board.
While a deal on the energy legislation was not reached, both Sen. President Harmon and Speaker Welch indicated that negotiations would continue, with the goal of developing a landmark clean energy plan that protects thousands of jobs and moves Illinois responsibly toward the future. Summer session days may potentially be added to address this legislation, and both the House and Senate veto session calendars indicate an October return.
Here are highlights from statehouse action this past week:
FY22 spending plan becomes law
The governor sent the state spending plan - SB 2800 (Harmon/Welch) - back to lawmakers on Tuesday with an amendatory veto because it didn’t include correct effective dates. Both chambers voted to accept the amendatory changes and the FY22 spending plan is now law.
Elected school board for Chicago passes
On Wednesday, the Illinois House approved HB 2908 - a bill that will bring an elected school board to Chicago - on avote of 70-41. This hard-fought action is the culmination of many years of work by parents, rank-and-file educators and activists who recognized the shortcomings of mayoral control of Chicago schools and demanded better for our children. IFT celebrated the passage of this priority legislation. Rep. Ramirez (D-Chicago) placed a procedural hold on the bill to address a number of issues that arose prior to the bills passage. Concurrently, Rep. Ford (D-Chicago) filed HB 1165 to create the Chicago Educational Governance Task Force.
Unemployment benefits bill heads to governor
An omnibus unemployment bill - HB 2643 (Hoffman /Holmes) - was approved by the House on Wednesday; it was previously approved by the Senate and now heads to the governor’s desk. The bill expands unemployment benefits for non-instructional educational education employees until September 4, 2021 and includes waivers for non-fraudulent overpayments. The cost of the benefit expansion would be offset using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
A look ahead
Over the next few weeks, the legislature will begin transmitting bills to the governor for his signature. Watch Under the Dome for updates on important bill action.