IFT Legislative Highlights for the Week of May 14 (Part 2 of 2)

This week, lawmakers rushed to move the remainder of legislation as the scheduled session adjournment date nears. Both chambers of the General Assembly adjourned for the weekend and will return to Springfield late afternoon on Monday, May 17, where they have just 13 session days to finalize the FY22 budget and address other big issues such as legislative redistricting.


Notable bill action this week:


Student Play Time


SB654 (Peters/Ortiz) would require public schools to provide a 30 minutes of daily play time for all students in kindergarten through 5th grade. This bill passed the House Education Curriculum Committee on a vote of 14-9. It is being amended to remove required recess for middle schoolers.


Bullying Prevention


SB 673 (Collins/Gonzalez) makes changes to school code, as relates to the term “restorative measures,” and requires that this include alternatives to exclusionary discipline that increase student accountability if the incident of bullying is based on religion, race, ethnicity, or any other category that is identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act. Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 23-0.


Speech and Debate Classes Counted towards HS Diploma


SB 2354 (Rezin/McCombie) adds Speech and Debate to the music, art, foreign language, or vocational education elective that a pupil may choose to satisfy the one-year prerequisite that each pupil entering the 9th grade is required to successfully complete to receive a high school diploma. Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 23-0.


Educator Misconduct


SB 2357 (Dewitte/Crespo) requires that the notification regarding the dismissal or resignation of an individual holding a PEL must include the individual’s Illinois Educator ID number and a brief description of the alleged misconduct. This bill makes homicide conviction grounds for disqualification, revocation, or suspension of an educator licensure. Passed the House Ed Curriculum Committee, 23-0.


Family Leave for part time educational employees


HB 12 (Costa Howard/Villivalam) 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. The bill already passed out of the House and this week Senate Labor committee passed it by a vote of 12-3.


Collective bargaining rights for more state employees


SB 525 (Aquino/Halpin) would change the definition of confidential and managerial employee status to be based on actual job duties rather than the written job description. This change would allow some state employees to join a union and have collective bargaining rights. The legislation would also allow employee contracts under the constitutional officers to extend more than 12 months after the new officers are sworn in. Currently, contracts may not extend past June 30 in a new administration. The bill passed out of the Senate previously and the House Labor Committee passed it by a vote of 16-11.


Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act


SB818 (Villivalam) 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, developmentally and age appropriate. The new standards would go into effect in 2023. The bill was amended and passed out of the Senate Executive Committee by a vote of 15-0.


Teaching the Contributions of Muslim Americans


SB 564 (Ellman/Gonzalez) adds January 17, the birthday of Muhammad Ali, to the list of commemorative holidays and requires the teaching of the contributions made by Muslims and Muslim Americans to society as part of U.S. History. The bill was amended to include several other religions. The bill passed out of committee 8-0.


Banning Hair Discrimination in Schools


SB 817 (Simmons/Harris) provides that a school uniform or dress code policy adopted by a school board or local school council shall not include or apply to hairstyles, including hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture. SB 817 passed the Senate 40-13 and is expected to be heard in the House next week.


Studying Continuity of Learning for Suspended and Expelled Students


SB 2088 (Belt/Davis) adds, as a goal of the Whole Child Task Force, recommending legislation, policies, and practices to prevent learning loss in students during periods of suspension and expulsion, including but not limited to remote instruction. SB 2088 passed unanimously out of the Senate. IFT was concerned with the implementation of the underlying bill; with the amendment opposition is removed.


Retirement Savings for Tier 2 Pensioners


SB 2103 (Martwick/Halpin) provides for automatic enrollment into a supplemental Defined Contribution plan for new participants in SURS and TRS after July 1, 2023. New members will automatically have 3% of their pay distributed to the plan and can withdraw the amount at any time. Nothing in the bill impacts the regular Defined Benefit plan under either system. The legislation will enable new participants in Tier 2 to save additional assets for retirement and is scheduled to be heard in the House Pensions Committee this Thursday.