Friday, January 26, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-51

LEGISLATURE TO CONVENE FOR 2018 SESSION

The Illinois General Assembly will return to the Capitol next week to kick off the 2018 legislative session. The Senate is scheduled to meet Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 30-Feb. 1. The House is set to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his State of the State address on Wednesday.

Historically, the State of the State address consists of the sitting governor running through his list of accomplishments for the past year, and outlining what is planned for the coming year. In an election year like 2018, the political and campaign overtones are usually amplified.

The looming March 20th primary election is first and foremost on the minds of incumbent lawmakers, and this year, the governor as well. One Republican candidate, State Representative Jeanne Ives (Wheaton), is challenging Governor Rauner in the primary election. Six candidates have filed and are running on the Democrat side of the ticket: J. B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy, State Senator Daniel Biss (Evanston), Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber (Madison County), Tio Hardiman, and Robert Marshall.

All 118 seats in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot as will one-third of the State Senate seats.

SCHOOL FUNDING BILL AMENDATORY VETO

As was highlighted in the last Alliance Legislative Report, Governor Rauner issued an amendatory veto of SB 444, the clean-up bill for the evidence-based funding bill, SB 1947. When the Senate gavels into session on Tuesday, the clock will start running for that chamber to take action. As of now, there has been no motion filed to either accept the amendatory changes recommended by the governor, or to override the veto. If both chambers approve a vote to either accept or override the governor’s action, the evidence-based funding model will be in place with the technical changes contained in SB 444. If a motion fails in either chamber or if no action is taken on the bill, the new funding changes in the original evidence-based funding bill contained in SB 1947 will stand without the changes in SB 444. Another option would be for the legislature to introduce and pass an entirely new bill with funding distribution changes. This could delay the distribution of any new funds to school districts based on the new evidence-based formula.

EXPECT MORE PROPOSALS TO USURP LOCAL CONTROL

As the new legislative session begins and lawmakers start introducing new legislative proposals, Alliance members are bracing for another onslaught of bills containing unfunded mandates and restrictions on local school districts to make decisions. The trend which has been growing in recent years shows no signs of slowing down. The running total of legislative mandates is available here.

Next week, a bill (HB 1252) that would require a semester of instruction on civics in junior high is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee. Other bills that have been, or will likely be, introduced include: a bill to require a unit of instruction in all schools studying the significant role of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society; a bill to require a school board to enroll its elementary schools in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program and implement an annual district-wide spelling bee competition for students in the 7th grade (HB 4292); a bill to prohibit school districts from expending funds for expenses for hotels, restaurants, or travel by employees to a convention or gathering (HB 4248); and a bill to prohibit any child under the age of 12 to participate in tackle football offered by an organized youth sports program, including school teams (HB 4341).

School board members and administrators are urged to tell their legislators to oppose all proposed unfunded mandates and initiatives that usurps local decision making authority.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-51.