IFT's End-of-Session Legislative Highlights (Part 1 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:


Fiscal Year 2022 Budget


Better-than-expected state revenue projections helped shrink the FY22 budget deficit from $3 billion in February to less than $1 billion at the end of May. Facing a much smaller deficit, and with the certainty of federal dollars coming from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the governor and lawmakers were able to craft a $42 billion budget (SB 2800) with the scheduled $350 million increase to the Evidence Based Model for K-12 education. The budget also closes three corporate loopholes that will generate about $650 million in state revenue each year going forward.


The IFT legislative team spoke at several committee hearings and advocated for our collective funding priorities . See below for additional budget details.

*$300M for tier funding, $50M for property tax relief, and $12M for integration of District Intervention funds (North Chicago and East St. Louis)


Budget Implementation Bill (SB 2017)


The budget implementation bill included several provisions of interest to IFT members including:


Pensions

  • TRS Tier 1 – for those who retire after June 1, 2021, uses either their 4 highest consecutive years of the last ten years of service (current FAS) or the highest four years of the last ten, whichever is higher.

  • TRS Tier 2 – for those who retire after June 1, 2021, uses either their highest 96 consecutive months of service of the last 120 months of service (current FAS) or the highest 96 months of service of the last 120 months of service, whichever is higher.

  • TRS – creates a 6% exemption for returning to work in an overload or stipend capacity following any emergency declaration during which the overload and stipend work could not be offered. This is a permanent exemption.

  • TRS – creates a 6% exemption for an increase in the number of instructional days beyond the 2019-2020 school year. This is a permanent exemption.

  • SURS – creates a 6% exemption for returning to work in an overload capacity following any emergency declaration during which the overload work could not be offered. This is a permanent exemption.

Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship


This bill also expanded the Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program to allow a “technical academy” that provides a “jointly administered CTE program” to participate. These programs provided by non-public schools must be approved by ISBE and are limited to receiving no more that 15% of the total amount of the Invest in Kids program. The legislation also extended the sunset of the scholarship program by a year to 2025. The IFT opposed this expansion that was put forward by other labor unions including those in the building trades.


Mental Health in the School Setting


This expands the scope of the Children’s Mental Health Partnership to include making recommendations for ensuring all Illinois youth receive mental health education and have access to mental health care in the school setting. It requires consultation with educators and school support personnel.


The budget implementation bill passed both chambers.


Redistricting and Primary Election Moved to June 28, 2022


After each census, legislative district boundaries are redrawn. The timeline for this process is set forth in the Illinois Constitution. The pandemic-related delay in the delivery of census data needed to draw the maps complicated the redistricting process. To meet the Constitutional timeline, House and Senate democrats used American Community Survey (ACS) data to draw maps and approved their redistricting plan (HB 2777) the final weekend of session.


The General Assembly also approved a redistricting plan for Illinois judicial districts (SB 642) - the first change in judicial districts since 1963. They also approved a plan for reorganizing judicial circuits (SB 2406) that will impact probation officers in the Metro East.


To deal with the delay in redrawing congressional districts, the General Assembly approved moving the 2022 primary election to June 28, 2022 (SB 825). Election day for the general election (November 8, 2022) will again be a legal school holiday.