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It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Chalkbeat

Illinois lawmakers have proposed a bill to create a statewide tax credit for families. Senate Bill 3329 and House Bill 4917 would allow families to receive up to $300 per child for children under 17. Married couples who make less than $75,000 and single people who make less than $50,000 would receive the additional financial support. […]

Illinois lawmakers, parents, and educators hope new legislation will require the state to recognize Montessori teaching credentials as another pathway to state licensure.

Under House Bill 4572 and Senate Bill 2689, the state would create the Montessori Educator Licensure, which would grant a state teaching license to educators who have graduated from a college or university with a bachelor’s degree, received a credential from an institution of higher education accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, the American Montessori Society, or the Association Montessori Internationale; and completed state licensure testing. […]

In October, Pritzker announced plans to create a new department to house early childhood education.

To make this department a reality, state lawmakers have filed House Bill 5451 and Senate Bill 3777, which would start operations of the department on July 1, 2024. By July 1, 2026, the department would be the lead agency in charge of funding for preschools, licensing for child care programs, home-visiting services, early intervention services for students with disabilities, and other early childhood education and care programs.

* Sen. Laura Ellman…

To ensure all students receive access to school meals, State Senator Laura Ellman introduced legislation that will invest in the Healthy School Meals for All Program. […]

Senate Bill 3247 would invest $209 million in the State Board of Education for expenses related to the Healthy School Meals for All Program.

Under current law, the State Board of Education is required to establish and maintain this program by distributing funds appropriated for this program to participating school boards. Through this program, all students enrolled in the schools will receive free breakfast and lunch. […]

Senate Bill 3247 awaits discussion in the spring legislative session.

* Tribune

As the Illinois General Assembly begins its spring session, among the mountain of legislation being proposed is a bill that aims to tackle two key issues around lobbying — requiring statehouse lobbyists to report the compensation they receive from their clients and giving the secretary of state’s office the power to boot bad actors.

Pushed by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, the legislation could face an uphill climb in Springfield, where former lawmakers often become lobbyists and work hard to have their interests protected. But following a string of corruption trials — including persistent headlines of a bribery scandal involving Commonwealth Edison and lobbyists trying to influence now-indicted ex-Speaker Michael Madigan — Giannoulias said, “The timing is ripe for this legislation to be acted on and passed.” The proposal could strengthen a feeble state lobbying law that generally focuses on requiring the secretary of state to do little more than act as a repository for the registration of lobbyists, their client names and their basic expenses like the cost of wining and dining lawmakers. […]

Despite Giannoulias’ plans, the proposal’s legislative sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Maurice West of Rockford, last week would commit only to giving the issue a hearing before the House Ethics & Elections committee he chairs.


A new Illinois Bill, Senate Bill 2921, looks to keep farmers from selling off their land. The proposed bill looks to raise the estate tax threshold for farms in Illinois.

Jack O’Connor, an Advisor and Head of Financial Planning for O’Connor Financial Group said the estate tax is a tax on assets that incur when the head of the household passes away. It’s done at a federal level and Illinois has one on a state level. The proposed bill looks to increase the threshold on when the estate tax would kick for farmers. He said currently it’s set at $4 million, and the bill proposes to raise it to $6 million. It takes the value of the farmers land and home into consideration, so if a farmer’s land is worth $4 million more at the time of the head of household’s passing, the tax would kick in. He said raising it would benefit farmers.

“Estate taxes are really difficult for illiquid assets which farmland would definitely be considered an illiquid asset. And what this bill is trying to help farmer with is to not have to sell land to pay that tax when they pass away, so more land can end up being transferred to often times their family,” O’Connor said.

* Landline Media

Two Midwestern states could soon take up consideration of legislation that would revise one-year-old rules on pain-and-suffering damages related to incidents involving large trucks. […]

Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, is behind a pursuit to remove the provision in statute that permits unlimited pain and suffering damages. […]

His bill, HB4992, would cap non-economic damages in a civil action against a common carrier at up to $2 million per plaintiff. […]

“To preserve Illinois’ ability to maintain this status, it is the intent of this (bill) to preserve the economic health and strength of the industries that help make this possible,” he said.

* Rep. Ann Williams…

In an effort to support the work of the newly created Police District Councils in Chicago, Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) has introduced HB 5624, which will ensure the Police District Councils have the tools necessary to work most effectively on behalf of all Chicago’s communities.

The Police District Council is a new elected body in Chicago focused on issues of policing and public safety. There are 22 District Councils, one for every police district in Chicago, with each Council made up of three elected members. The District Councils were created by the Chicago City Council after years of activism to make policing more responsive to community needs.

“The District Councils give our communities a real and dynamic opportunity to shape public safety and policing policies for Chicago,” said Williams. “The focus of these Councils is to engage with the community and serve as a liaison between community and law enforcement. The existing laws which govern how smaller public bodies meet and do their jobs aren’t workable for the District Councils, and their role is different than most.”

Under current law, no two members of a District Council can discuss public safety issues, or even exchange emails about public safety, due to laws governing more traditional public bodies that prevent such discourse without posting public notice and agendas 48 hours in advance. Such restrictions significantly hamper the ability of the District Councils to do their work effectively. HB 5624 would allow such discussion, while still ensuring accountability and transparency by requiring advance notice for any regularly scheduled meeting or when adopting any motion, resolution or ordinance.

Additionally, the bill contains other provisions to ensure the District Councils can effectively do their work, including allowing the District Councils to host certain meetings remotely in addition to the monthly in-person meetings. This is designed to maximize their reach into the communities and ensure more residents can participate and provide input to the Councils. […]

Councilor Alexander Perez, 2nd Police District, agreed and supports the proposed legislation.

* Hyde Park Herald

Since the General Assembly reconvened in January, [Rep. Curtis Tarver] has introduced several bills focused on amending state law and getting more funding for small businesses and schools. The 25th District, which encompasses parts of Kenwood and Hyde Park, extends from 43rd Street along the lakefront to the East Side. […]

For his first order of business at the Feb. 15 meeting, Tarver said he’s seeking community members for two task forces: one focused on political corruption and another focused on education. 

The first is the product of Tarver’s House Bill (HB) 351, signed into law in November, which bars public officials convicted of corruption from holding public office again. The task force will review and make recommendations as to “what criminal conduct precludes a person from holding public office in the state,” per the law.  

The second was created by Senate Bill (SB) 3986, the “Too Young to Test Act.” Co-sponsored by Tarver and signed into law in 2022, the act prohibits the use of standardized tests in public schools from pre-kindergarten through second grade. The task force will study the effects of “overtesting” young students, he said.

* News Media Alliance

The News/Media Alliance applauds Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) for recently introducing the Journalism Preservation Act (SB 3591) in the Illinois Senate, which would require Big Tech platforms such as Meta and Google to pay news publishers a “journalism usage fee” to use local news content. Currently, creators of quality journalism are not adequately compensated for the use of their content – which takes a tremendous investment to produce – leading to layoffs of journalists and, in the worst cases, closure of news outlets completely.

Senator Stadelman was the Chair of the Illinois Local Journalism Task Force, which recently recommended legislation to counter the decline in sources of local journalism observed in the state.

The bill is similar to the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA, AB 886), which was introduced by California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) last year and passed out of the Assembly in June 2023 with an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 55-6. The CJPA is expected to be brought up during the 2024 session for a vote in the California Senate.

“The future of local journalism is in danger – which is why I have sponsored the Journalism Preservation Act,” said Senator Stadelman. “Local journalism is an essential part of our lives, and Illinois residents deserve access to accurate and important information.”

“We applaud Senator Stadelman for introducing this legislation and for recognizing the critical need to protect high-quality journalism and ensure that important, accurate information continues to be available to Illinois communities,” said Danielle Coffey, President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. “States across the country are increasingly recognizing the need for legislation that corrects the current marketplace imbalance by requiring the tech platforms to fairly compensate publishers for the use of their valuable content.”

As with the CJPA, the Illinois JPA would also promote the hiring of more journalists, requiring news publishers to invest 70 percent of the profits from the usage fee into journalism jobs.


  1. - Anonymous1 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 10:20 am:

    How does the GA determine who gets a director v. a secretary as their agency head? Seems like there’s no consistency on what title is used for state agencies.

  2. - Ann3 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 11:49 am:

    Anonymous1- it’s set by statute, the act that creates the agency.

  3. - Anonymous1 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 12:02 pm:

    Right, but each statute for each agency is different. The statues for ISP, DNR, DPH, DOC, etc. each call them “director” v. DPFR, IDOT, and now this new agency call them “secretary.” Seems like there’s no rule in the GA on when someone is called director or secretary.

  4. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 12:32 pm:

    ===Estate taxes are really difficult for illiquid assets which farmland would definitely be considered an illiquid asset. And what this bill is trying to help farmer with is to not have to sell land to pay that tax when they pass away, so more land can end up being transferred to often times their family===

    Rather than increase the exemption, which will still leave some larger families in the position of having to sell part of their land to pay taxes, the cost basis could be used so that the tax is collected in the form of capital gains when the land is sold. As long as they do not sell the land, no tax is paid.

  5. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 1:12 pm:

    === Seems like there’s no rule in the GA on when someone is called director or secretary. ===

    Why does this matter?

  6. - Anonymous1 - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 1:24 pm:

    It’s a distinction without a difference, sure, but consistency across state government agencies doesn’t matter?

  7. - Hannibal Lecter - Tuesday, Feb 20, 24 @ 4:04 pm:

    === It’s a distinction without a difference, sure, but consistency across state government agencies doesn’t matter? ===


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