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Legislative Highlights for the Week of 2/21/22 (Part 1 of 2)

(via the Illinois Federation of Teachers)

The House and Senate Committee deadlines have passed, and hundreds of bills are positioned for action on the chamber floors. The pace at which both chambers are moving legislation indicates that the leadership of the Illinois General Assembly is serious about meeting the April 8 adjournment deadline.

The IFT Department of Political Activities is currently watching the following issues and legislation:

Fiscal Year 2023 Revenue

The House Revenue Committee held a hearing February 24 to hear from the Illinois Department of Revenue, the Governor’s Office of Management, and about the FY23 Revenue Estimates. The Committee was told that in Fiscal Year 2023 (beginning July 1) the state will continue to see a solid revenue performance yet begin a period of leveling, where the last two years of fiscal breathing room trend back to normal. The Senate Appropriations Committee hasn’t yet scheduled its hearing on revenue estimates, but they will likely hold a similar hearing.

Bills Impacting Educators and Support Staff

HB 1167 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville): After reaching an agreement with the IFT on a new version of the COVID days legislation, the Governor vetoed HB 2778. The new agreement includes the wage protection provisions of the original bill while limiting the use of COVID administrative days to those who are vaccinated or who get vaccinated within five weeks of the bill being signed into law. Additional information about the agreement and an FAQ are available on the IFT website. The House Executive Committee approved amendments #2 and #3 to HB 1167 and it’s anticipated the bill will be called for a House vote next week.

HB 4316 (Rep. Mussman, D-Schaumburg), Faith’s Law (PA 102-0676), passed last year and prohibited sexual misconduct in schools, but HB 4316 addresses the loophole for when those guilty of misconduct try to find a job in another district. Currently, there is no mechanism to ensure that a prospective new district would be warned of the school employee’s history, so even if one school is vigilant to address sexual misconduct against children, the district next door could unknowingly be exposing more children to danger. Technical amendments were filed on this bill but it’s positioned for action in the House next week.

HB 4246 (Rep. Scherer, D-Decatur) lowers the lapsed license fee for educators from $500 to $50 and also provides that a retired teacher, even if returning to a position that requires educator licensure, shall not be required to pay registration fees. This bill is positioned for action by the House next week.

HB 4690 (Rep. Mussman, D-Schaumburg) reinstates requirements for teacher and principal dismissal pre-hearing and hearing requirements that were paused due to the pandemic. This bill is positioned for action by the House next week.

HB 4256 (Rep. McCombie, R-Sterling) allows a school district to waive, for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years only, the evaluation requirement of any teacher in contractual continued service whose performance during the last school year in which the teacher was evaluated was rated as either "excellent" or "proficient". The bill does not provide waiver applicability evenly, and some teachers with “excellent” or “proficient” evaluations could continue to be evaluated. This bill is positioned for action by the House next week.

HB 5472 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville)/SB 3201 (Sen. Harris, D-Dolton) are competing initiatives to extend the amount of time a retired educator can return to the classroom. Both bills extend the time a retiree can substitute from 120 days (current law) to 140 days; however, the length of time for this extension differs in each bill. Both bills are positioned for approval next week.

SB 3893 (Sen. Joyce, D-Park Forest) provides that a substitute teacher may teach up to 120 (instead of 90) school days for any one licensed teacher under contract in the same school year. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 54-0-0.

SB 3907 (Sen. Turner, D-Springfield) Provides that an individual holding a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License may teach up to 15 (instead of 5) consecutive days per licensed teacher who is under contract. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 52-0-0.

SB 3914 (Sen. Cappel, D-Plainfield) as introduced provides an additional 5 mental health days for teachers (in addition to the statutorily required 10 sick days). An amendment was added at the request of school management that allows 5 of the 10 statutorily allowed sick days to be used for mental health purposes. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 54-0-0.

SB 3915 (Sen. Cappel, D-Plainfield) waives the short-term substitute licensure fee during a public health emergency. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 54-0-0.

HB 5060 (Rep. Vella, D-Loves Park)/SB 3983 (Sen. Sims, D-Chicago) allows teachers to garner tenure in three (rather than four) years. Both bills are positioned for approval next week.


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