Don’t toss the grammar-school composition paper yet.
The Illinois House approved legislation 67-48 Wednesday requiring elementary and high schools to teach cursive writing.
The sponsor is Chicago Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch. He says it’s important that tech-savvy children to retain cursive writing to read historical documents, write personal notes and sign documents.
Republican Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva says cursive does not help develop young minds any better than printing. He says a legal document doesn’t need a signature but only a “mark.”
* Public Radio…
Members of the Illinois House passed legislation today that would require state agencies to buy American products, even if they’re not the cheapest.
Democratic Representative Jay Hoffman of Swansea is sponsoring the proposal. He says it aligns with President Donald Trump’s focus on American manufacturing.
“I could just reference your president’s executive order regarding ‘Buy American.’ This is saying our state taxpayer dollars should put our people to work and we should use the buying power of our state to create jobs and economic opportunity.”
Republicans voted against the measure. They say it doesn’t make sense given the state’s financial crisis.
* Press release…
A controversial plan before Congress that would permit companies to fine workers who refuse to share their genetic information through workplace wellness programs has prompted Illinois lawmakers to tighten up a state law protecting workers from such repercussions.
“We’re seeing changes proposed at the federal level that are concerning to me and to others,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and sponsor of Senate Bill 318. “The goal here is only to protect the genetic information of individuals when that information might be used against them in the employee-employer relationship.”
The legislation advanced out of the Senate Labor Committee Wednesday. It was prompted by news that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, in March proposed the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR1313).
Supporters said the measure would enable employers to have the “legal certainty” to promote good health while lowering health care costs. However, critics said it would allow employers to pressure workers to share their private genetic information by rewarding them with lower health insurance costs, while penalizing those who choose not to disclose such details.
The Winston-Salem Journal, Foxx’s hometown newspaper, called the measure an example of “big government run amok,” in an editorial urging Congress to kill it.
Under Illinois’ Genetic Information Privacy Act, employers must handle genetic testing consistent with the federal laws. It prevents employers from requiring genetic testing as a condition of employment, from changing terms of employment as a result of genetic information, or from classifying employees based on genetic testing. Further, it says testing done in the context of a workplace wellness program is available to employers only in aggregate form, not on an individual basis.
Manar’s proposed update to the law would bar employers from penalizing workers who choose not to disclose their genetic information or do not participate in a program that requires disclosure of their genetic information.
“I think we have a strong law in Illinois, but I don’t think it’s very strong about barring employers from penalizing employees,” he said.
…Adding… IL Public Radio…
With support from labor unions, Illinois House Democrats passed legislation Wednesday that would restore certain bargaining rights for Chicago Public Schools teachers — letting them negotiate with the city on things like class size, length of school day, and layoffs.
For the last 22 years, Chicago Public School Teachers have been constrained in collective bargaining — limits that don’t apply to teachers in the rest of the state. The legislation would restore that parity — letting Chicago teachers have a say in private vendor contracts, class schedules and size, and the length of the school day.
Representative Silvana Tabares ,D-Chicago, the proposal’s sponsor, tied the interests of teachers with students. “Teachers will have a voice to have a discussion about these items, and that will improve the quality of education.”
Opponents take a different tack, that what’s good for teachers is not always what’s good for students. Representative Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, says the bargaining limits were established after multiple harmful strikes from CPS teachers in the 1980s.