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It’s just a bill

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

* AP

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 He says it’s important that tech-savvy children to retain cursive writing to read historical documents, write personal notes and sign documents.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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Grand Avenue - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    “Chicago Democratic Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch”

    I’m pretty sure his district doesn’t have any City Precincts.

  2. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Absolutely make state agencies buy American. Who cares if it more expensive it is not like the state will actually pay for the stuff anytime soon

  3. - A Jack - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    Cursive, I am in my fifties and if you asked me to write out the ABC’s in cursive, other than the ones in my signature, I doubt if I could do it. I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote anything in cursive.

    I suppose it depends on how much time a school is required to spend teaching cursive. Typing or keyboarding as it is known now has had a much great return per time spent in my life than cursive. Cursive belongs with snail mail, dial phones, and manufacturing jobs, quaint items from our recent past.

  4. - NoGifts - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Many of us learned cursive as children and I invite them to try to read some actual historic documents using the cursive we learned. It is very difficult because cursive styles change over time. People who need to read historic documents will need training anyway.

  5. - Ractin - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 11:29 am:

    They still use shorthand in my office, and that hasn’t been taught in school since before my time. Then again, we still use crystal reports and DB2. But i digress.

  6. - SOIL M - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    The buy American is a good idea. Might even try giving a little preference to Illinois manufacturers. It always kind of irked me a little to see IDOT using Komatsu backhoes.

  7. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    I have young kids and it upsets me that they are not learning cursive — I support this legislation.

    And I can still write and read cursive.

  8. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    I applaud the proposal since I have witnessed high school students who do not know the fundamentals of penmanship. Some of these teens print their signatures in block capital letters.

    Besides cursive handwriting is critical to filing nominating petitions with valid signatures.

  9. - Gone, but not forgotten - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    Definitely Illinois businesses should be the preferred vendor as well. I believe a lot of the Capitol improvements such as carpeting, the Doors, and furniture were purchased from other states. We must improve the State’s economy, so everything should be purchased from Illinois vendors whenever possible. As far as cost, there’s no bigger money launderer with mark-ups than our very own CMS.

  10. - Norseman - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    We have a massive debate about school funding reform, but yet we have Solons still looking to add mandates on schools - this a mandate to keep teaching a subject that is archaic in today’s age of PCs, tablets and smart phones.

    Need it for signatures? Baloney, most signatures are illegible now (including my own). Parents can teach their children a signature.

    Need it to read historical documents? Except for historians, most of the historical documents we read will be in print via books or video screens. Future history majors/professionals can learn to read cursive as part of their education. (At that level, these students would pick it up quicker than young kids.)

    Kill this silly bill and focus on other needs, including keyboarding.

  11. - Fiercely Independent - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 12:58 pm:

    I for one am in favor of teaching cursive. Despite what some people want to believe, cursive still exists in the world. Why not spend the small amount of time it will take to teach it?

  12. - Huh? - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    Many years ago, Mrs. Birr was my 6th grade writing teacher. We had to use Schaffer fountain pens to learn cursive writing. Wasn’t ever very good, but did as best I could. When I take hand written notes, always write cursive. Much faster than printing.

    For those who depend on computers, I have one question - what are you going to do if the power goes out?

  13. - justpeachy - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 1:47 pm:

    Who cares, if you want your child to write cursive teach it to them…let’s get a budget!!

  14. - #5 - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    “what are you going to do if the power goes out?”

    ABC = always be charging
    My laptop has about 9 hours of battery life.

  15. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    Geez, I’m old school. Taught to write thank you’s and personal correspondence in cursive on high quality card stock using a fountain pen. Still do it, except for the fountain pen. Use a rollerball or a felt-tip pen.

  16. - Just Me - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    I would rather the schools be required to teach kids how to write a sentence properly than write in cursive.

  17. - Gone, but not forgotten - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    Does it occur to anyone that perhaps the teachers we have now do not know HOW to teach cursive, as they do not use it themselves? I thank my second grade teacher who taught me, as a southpaw, to write cursive without contorting my hand or turning the paper sideways, as I see so many left handed people do. I was taught in Florida. Also took shorthand in high school and use it to take notes to this day. Okay — I’m old.

  18. - ChicagoVinny - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    Let’s teach them how to use slide rules and write in cuneiform as well.

  19. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    Cursive is a waste: most people I know use block lettering when writing. Expand the teaching of block or dnelian (sp) for a longer period of time. Most of us learned printing in kindergarten or 1st grade, cursive in 2nd grade. Once past 3rd or 4th grade, handwriting/printing was ignored, and it began deteriorating and continued, with only draftsmen learing to print well, and now that is done mostly by computer….

  20. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:30 pm:

    Not another bill until a budget. We need to keep repeating this over and over.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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