* Press release…
Stand for Children Illinois, a non-partisan, equity-focused education advocacy non-profit, announced the filing of legislation with the intent of reversing Illinois’ brain drain and boosting opportunities for high school students. The legislation is the outgrowth of recommendations from the organization’s recent report, “STOP ILLINOIS BRAIN DRAIN: Building Pathways to Prosperity for High School Students.” Together, the bills aim to improve opportunities in the areas of course equity, career and technical education, freshman-on-track early warning systems, and other high school success budget priorities.
“Strengthening Illinois high schools and offering more avenues to college and career have been guiding principles for our work, especially in the wake of our Stop Illinois Brain Drain report. The bills we announced today go a long way to improving the opportunities available to high school students and stopping Illinois’ terrible brain drain problem,” said Mimi Rodman, Executive Director of Stand for Children Illinois. “Our state faces two kinds of brain drain: one, with our high school graduates leaving for out-of-state colleges, and the other by how our state badly under-taps the potential of the graduates who remain in Illinois.”
The bills announced today include:
* The Course Equity Act of 2019, SB 1212 (Lightford), would improve access to advanced coursework by making courses more affordable for low-income schools and students, allowing students to opt-in to courses that are recommended for college admission but not offered in their home district, and opening doors to dual credit and transitional math opportunities.
* HB 2093 (Crespo/Bertino-Tarrant) would align CTE courses with job trends. The bill requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to rework its process for funding CTE courses to provide higher reimbursement rates for completion of high-demand, high-wage career area courses. It would also differentiate reimbursement rates by course sequence. Finally, the bill would establish a grants program to support local partnerships that can facilitate the creation of locally relevant pathway endorsements and programs of study.
* Freshman-on-Track Early Warning System Grants, SB 1303 (Manar). Students who are “on-track” to graduate after freshman year are three times more likely to graduate high school. Dedicated freshman-on-track grants will jumpstart systems in high schools with low rates to focus on intervention before freshmen fall behind. Grant funding could be used to hire dedicated staff to support freshman year students, provide professional development to current staff to integrate practices that boost freshman attendance, increase tutoring and other supports for ninth graders who are failing core courses, providing in-school mentoring opportunities to freshmen, and other practices likely to lead to improved success.
* Stand budget priorities include $450 million in new Evidence-Based Formula funding; a $100 million increase for Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants; $12.6 million increase for career and technical education, an allocation that has largely been flat since 2004; a new $5 million appropriation for freshman success grants; and, a new $1.2 million appropriation for CTE infrastructure that can go a long way to ensuring all regions have the support they need to create and maintain critical regional partnerships.
“Illinois high school students cannot wait any longer for more equitable access to opportunities for prosperity,” said Rodman. “We are proud to partner with Reps. Crespo and Batinick and Sens. Lightford, Bertino-Tarrant, and Weaver, and we urge all legislators to support these bills. Illinois students should be immersed in career possibilities and supported to understand how to achieve their career goals, and these bills help them do just that,” said Rodman.
A Chicago-area legislator plans to introduce a bill this week that aims to help Illinois expand its capacity of wind and solar energy, with an eventual goal of procuring 100 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources.
State Rep. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, announced Wednesday his intention to file the Path to 100 Act, which he says will expand the state’s share of renewable energy to 40 percent of total energy sources by 2030. Current requirements under Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS, established a requirement of 25 percent renewable energy sources by 2025.
Davis said the legislation would help Illinois build on progress made as a result of the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, which has been hailed as one of the most significant pieces of state energy legislation passed in the U.S. in decades.
Pharmacies in Illinois would have less time to report dispensing opioid medications and other controlled substances under a bill making its way through the General Assembly.
The House Human Services Committee on Wednesday advanced a bill that would require pharmacies to file those reports by the end of the business day on which controlled substances are dispensed. Current law gives them until the end of the following business day.
“It ensures that medical providers have a complete picture of what their patients are taking so that they’re not over-prescribing opioids to patients who misuse or, actually, frequently then sell the fraudulent medication,” Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, the bill’s sponsor, told the committee during testimony.
* Other bills…
* Rent Control Measures Move Forward In Uncertain Political Environment: The first bill, sponsored by state Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, is just one line of text that repeals the 1997 Rent Control Preemption Act, a law that bans municipalities from imposing restrictions on rental rates. It was first introduced a year ago and sent back to the rules committee, but he just reintroduced the measure, now known as House Bill 255, and is seeking co-sponsors.
* Jim Dey: Who signs bill? Legislative maneuver raises question: The Illinois Constitution requires that bills passed by the General Assembly be sent to the governor within 30 days of passing. The procedural hold — known formally as a motion to reconsider — is a mechanism designed to evade the 30-day mandate. But can it skip time constraints to the extent of jumping from one governor to the next? It’s happened before. In 2015, Rauner signed utility legislation that was passed by the previous General Assembly after legislative leaders put a hold on it until after former Gov. Pat Quinn left office.