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IFT Legislative Highlights for the Week of March 22 (Part 2 of 2)

Student Health and Sex Education, Sexual Abuse Prevention, ‘Sexting’ all addressed in Multiple Bills

Sexting

HB 24 (Rep. West, D-Rockford) requires that course materials and instruction include age-appropriate discussions about sexting, possible consequences of sharing and forwarding inappropriate materials, identification of situations in which bullying or harassment may occur, safe uses of the internet, and adults whom students may contact if in need of assistance. Passed unanimously.

Health Education must include legal and medical impacts of cannabis use.

HB 79 (Rep. Flowers, D-Chicago) provides that a school's comprehensive health education program must include instruction on the medical and legal ramifications of cannabis use. Passed unanimously.

Child Sex Abuse Prevention

HB 1975 (Rep. Mussman, D-Schaumburg) requires the State Board of Education to prepare a parent resource guide to provide a centralized source of the assistance, support, advocacy, and resources available to the parent or guardian of a student who is, or may be, the victim of sexual abuse. Provides for up to two teachers institute days for child abuse prevention training and sexual harassment prevention training and requires training for school personnel on child sexual abuse. Provides for professional development opportunities concerning the well-being of students. Adds provisions concerning sexual misconduct in schools, including requiring a school district to develop a code of conduct, an employment history review, and what a sex education class must teach. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 to add certain acts to the offenses of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and grooming. This bill is a work in progress and will be amended. Passed unanimously.

Comprehensive Sex Education

HB 3071 (Rep. Lilly, D-Chicago) makes changes concerning sex education, including changing the name to sexual health and changing course requirements. Makes changes concerning family life course requirements. Amends the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act to make changes concerning the educational areas a comprehensive health education program must include. Passed out of committee 14-9.

Child Sex Abuse Prevention, Revises ‘Grooming’ definition

HB 3461 (Rep. Crespo, D-Streamwood) makes changes to provisions relating to a school district's policy addressing sexual abuse of children. Provides that the policy must be adopted and implemented no later than July 1, 2022. Provides that the policy shall (rather than may) include an age-appropriate and evidence-based curriculum (rather than age-appropriate curriculum) for students in pre-K through 12th (rather than 5th) grade. Requires a school district to include in its policy and all training materials and instruction a definition of prohibited grooming behaviors and boundary violations for school personnel and how to report these behaviors to school authorities. Passed unanimously.

Urges Children be Educated to Recognize Signs – Potential Addiction/Mental Health Issues

House Joint Resolution 1 (Rep. West, D-Rockford) urges Illinois schools to provide education for all students in grades six-12 on how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses, as well as provide instruction for how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Passed unanimously.

Supports for Comprehensive Sex Education

House Resolution 39 (Rep. Mussman, D-Schaumburg) supports comprehensive sex education. Passed out of committee 14-9.

Special Education

Parent Notification – Student Eligibility SPED Services

HB 290 (Rep. Hirschauer, D-West Chicago) requires a school district to provide notification to the parent or guardian of a student with an individualized education program (IEP) that the student may be eligible to receive additional specified services. Provides that the written notification must be provided no later than 30 days following the implementation of the initial IEP and once a year thereafter. Passed unanimously.

Complaints made to CPS about Special Ed Must be Filed with State Board of Education

HB 2425 (Rep. Crespo, D-Streamwood) provides that complaints concerning delays and denials of special education services in the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 school year by the Chicago school district as a result of the adoption of policies and procedures identified by the State Board of Education as unlawful must be filed on or before September 30, 2022 (rather than September 30, 2021). Passed unanimously.

SPED Services for Students – 22nd Birthday

HB 2748 (Rep. Ness, D-Carpentersville) provides that if a student turns 22 during the time in which the student's in-person instruction is suspended for a period of 3 months or more during the school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then the student is eligible for special education services through the end of the following school year (rather than being eligible for such services only until the day before the student's 22nd birthday). Passed unanimously.

Changes to CPS Special Ed Policy – Published Online, Provided Within 10 day of Request

HB 3859 (Rep. Crespo, D-Schaumburg) amends the Children with Disabilities Articles of the School Code. Provides that the Chicago school district shall publish on the district's website any proposed changes to the district's policy and procedural manuals, no later than 45 days before the adoption of that change, unless this would prevent the district from following State or federal laws. Provides that school boards shall provide upon request by any person written materials and other information that indicates the specific policies, procedures, rules, and regulations regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of children with disabilities. Requires these materials and other information to be provided within 10 school days from the receipt of the request by the school board. Passed unanimously.

Determination of Parent/Guardian of SPED Students

HB 3906 (Rep. Davis, D-East Hazel Crest) provides that the State Superintendent of Education may determine that the location of the parent or guardian of a special education student is unknown after considering information submitted from the school district that last enrolled the student or from the school or special education facility providing special education and related services. Passed unanimously.

Labor Issues

Charter School union neutrality

HB114 requires any new charter school or renewal of an existing charter school to contain a union neutrality clause. This clause would require the charter school management not to take any position on the unionization of its employees. The clause would prohibit any type of intimidation and require the school to provide access for labor unions to meet with the employees. The clause also requires union recognition to be determined through a majority card check election. The bill passed out of committee 15-10.

Electronic signatures for union elections, no strike retaliation

HB2521 would allow electronic signatures to be used in elections to select a labor organization as the representative of the employees in a bargaining unit. The bill also makes any retaliatory action from an employer against employees who are on strike an unfair labor practice. The bill passed out committee 15-10.

Union rights for Chicago Principals

HB3496 changes the legal definition of a supervisor in Chicago and would allow principals to be considered educational employees with collective bargaining rights. The bill passed out of committee 15-10.

Revenue and Finance

SB330 (Sen. Feigenholtz, D-Chicago) establishes new property tax assessment policy for multi-family apartment buildings in Cook County. Other counties can opt-out by a vote of the county board. This bill, the has the potential to impact local property tax revenues, passed out of committee 9-0-0.

HB571 (Rep. Carroll, D-Northbrook) is an initiative of Comptroller Mendoza and will provide additional oversight for TIFs by requiring municipalities to report the following additional items to the Comptroller’s office:

  • A comparison between the original projected increment and jobs for the TIF versus the actual amount of jobs and increment created thus far.

  • An update on the stated rate of return for the TIF development, verified by a third party.

  • Actual debt service against any notes issued by the municipality.

The bill would also require the municipality – not the developer – to hire any consultant providing analysis of the projected increment and the value of any debt issued by the municipality. The bill was approved by 18-0-0.

Pensions

HB2997and HB2998 (Rep. Severin, R-Marion) allow teachers to receive additional service and age considerations for purposes of retirement if they worked during the COVID public health emergency. The bills were held in committee, but the sponsor indicated he is continuing to work on the issue. IFT supports both pieces of legislation.

HB2569 (Rep. Windhorst, R-Harrisburg) allows retired teachers to return to work in school districts that have a shortage in a particular subject area. The legislation was passed out of committee. Retirees can return to work under these circumstances without impairing their annuity. The legislation extends the program to June 30, 2024.

Higher Education

HB3950 (Rep. LaPointe, D-Chicago) requires community colleges to develop a plan to offer dual credit courses for high school students with disabilities that have an individualized education program. The legislation was passed out of committee.

A Look Ahead

Lawmakers return the week of April 12, when action will shift to the House and Senate floors. Adjournment is scheduled for May 31.

Illinois Federation of Public Employees |  Local 4408

A Union of Professionals