Friday, August 16, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-23

Governor JB Pritzker has been signing into law dozens of measures every week as he works through the 600 bills that were approved by the General Assembly and sent to his desk. Just last Friday, the Governor acted upon 150 pieces of legislation.

Many of the recent bill signings were bills opposed by the Alliance that will cause challenges for local school districts. The Alliance offered amendatory language in most cases to try to make the bills less onerous for school districts. Letters were also written to the Governor asking for vetoes or amendatory vetoes, but instead the bills have been enacted into law.

HB 2719 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) will require each high school student to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a prerequisite to receive a graduation diploma. There is a provision for a waiver form to be completed by the student declaring that he/she is aware of the FAFSA application but chooses not to file one. The school district would be responsible for providing, verifying, and collecting the waiver forms. The high school principal shall "attest that the school district has made a good faith effort to assist the student." Also, the school district "must provide to each high school student any support or assistance necessary to comply with this Section." The bill is now Public Act 101-0180, effective June 1, 2020.

Several new curricular mandates have been approved as well. 

HB 246 (Moeller, D-Elgin) requires schools to teach about the diversity of our society, including the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society. The bill is now Public Act 101-0227, effective July 1, 2020.

HB 2265 (Lilly, D-Oak Park) requires every public elementary school to include in its sixth, seventh, or eighth-grade curriculum at least one semester of civics education. The bill is now Public Act 101-0254, effective July 1, 2020.

SB 459 (Ellman, D-Naperville) amends the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act to require the instruction on mental health and illness to evaluate the multiple dimensions of health by reviewing the relationship between physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behaviors that promote health, well-being, and human dignity. The bill is now Public Act 101-0305, effective January 1, 2020.

SB 1601 (Sims, D-Chicago), with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois. The bill is now Public Act 101-0341, effective January 1, 2020.