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It’s just a bill

Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Crain’s

Legislation in the Illinois General Assembly would force companies to disclose “junk fees,” the pesky additions hiding at the end of transactions for concert tickets, hotels and other services.

The bill, sponsored by Democrats Sen. Omar Aquino and Rep. Bob Morgan, would amend Illinois’ Consumer Fraud & Deceptive Business Practices Act to prohibit “hidden and misleading fees” to ensure that prices as advertised reflect the total cost. The measure would make bad actors punishable under the existing consumer fraud law, which empowers the state attorney general to fine non-compliant companies up to $50,000 per violation. […]

So far, the Illinois bill does not specify which industries it would cover. That’s already cause for concern among trade groups across the state.

“The most common question I get is, ‘Is my industry (fill in the blank) going to be examined?’ Whether that’s pre-emption or some other issue?” Morgan said. “Those are the things that I think are at play here and certainly expect to have that play out over the next month or two. There is certainly an interplay between federal legislation and federal opposition and what we will hopefully do at the state level.”

* Illinois Public Media

Black residents in Illinois who are descendants of slaves may soon have access to free DNA testing.

Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) proposed a [House Resolution] urging support for the Family Roots Genealogy Program pilot, which aims to reconnect African Americans to their ancestral roots. The program is in partnership with the Department of Anthropology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Carl Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Ammons says she noticed the need for this program when she and her husband, County Clerk Aaron Ammons, were doing their own DNA testing and found that the process costs hundreds of dollars from commercial vendors. She said it took paying more than $700 for her husband to get substantial information about his ancestry, which revealed that he had a long lost sister and nephew.

“We felt and believe that it is inappropriate for the descendants of those who were enslaved in the Americas or anywhere else in the world to have to pay a commercial vendor to find out where they come from,” she said. […]

The bill received a 7-to-4 vote in committee. Ammons said she expects the bill could be voted on in the House of Representatives in the next few weeks, and that the program could start as soon as this summer.

* Center Square

During a House Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee hearing this week, officials administering the program asked for $10 million in taxpayer funds for bonuses. Jennifer Ross, a lobbyist for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, said the bonuses are an attempt to get teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

“Hard-to-staff schools are defined by a school that is at least 30% below income,” Ross said. “We’re providing retention bonuses of $4,000 a year for two years.” […]

State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, said a teacher could take two years of bonuses and then just move on.

“Now that they have two more years of experience, do they move on to a school that pays better overall,” said Halbrook. “I guess I’m just trying to figure out if this is a good value for taxpayers or not.” […]

State Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Swansea, was behind the legislation and said it is aimed at addressing the teacher shortage in underserved areas.

* SB107 from Sen. Linda Holmes is in Assignments

Amends the Illinois Police Training Act. Provides that the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board may investigate complaints concerning drone use by a law enforcement agency. Provides that if a pattern of willful and wanton violations is confirmed, the law enforcement agency shall take actions to prevent future violations through specified means. Provides that if the agency fails to take actions to address the violations and prevent future violations from occurring, then the Board may restrict the agency’s ability to use its drones for a period not to exceed 3 months per incident. Amends the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act. Changes the name of the Act to the Drones as First Responders Act. Defines “permitted special event”. Adds various exemptions allowing the use of drones. Permits records of drone usage, including flight path data, metadata, or telemetry information of specific flights, to be disclosed subject to the Freedom of Information Act and rules adopted under that Act. Provides that the information relating to infrastructure inspections conducted at the request of a local governmental agency may be disclosed to that local governmental agency or, in the case of traffic and parking evaluations conducted at school, it may also be disclosed to the school or any engineering staff involved in the process. Provides that nothing in the Act prevents the disclosure of information through a court order or subpoena in connection with a criminal proceeding or if the disclosure is in regard to a completed traffic crash investigation. Changes drone usage reporting requirements of law enforcement agencies to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Makes other changes, and amends the School Code to make conforming changes. Provides that a drone may not be used over a school unless the parents are notified by a principal or administrator prior to the use of the drone.

* WSIL

Controversy is brewing in Gallatin County over a proposed State senate bill.

The Bill would give the Shawneetown Regional Port District the right to regulate public or city property within 7-thousand feet of the Ohio River. […]

“This will allow them to throw out any ordinances or resolutions that the local municipal government has passed,” Gallatin County Board member Warren Rollman said. […]

“I am aware of the issues focused around Senate Bill 3654 and the Old Shawneetown Regional Port District,” said Senator Fowler. “Because of the issues with this Bill and concerns raised, I’ve made sure that this Bill will not be called for a vote. My hope is that both the public and private sector can continue to work on some sort of agreement together as this port district will play a critical role for our local economy, workforce, and for our farmers.”

* SB3654 sponsored by Sen. Dale Fowler is on First Reading

Amends the Shawneetown Regional Port District Act. Allows the Port District to regulate the use of public-owned or municipal-owned property that is (i) within 7,000 feet of any navigable waterway within the District and (ii) within Shawnee Township, Bowlesville Township, or the Village of Old Shawneetown, but limits the regulation for the fulfillment of the Port District’s purpose of commerce and economic development. Provides that the District’s authority to regulate the use and construction of the property is superior to the authority of any unit of local government within the property, including the District’s right to vacate streets, alleys, and easements within the property; to vacate ordinances or resolutions of units of local government relating to the property; to issue permits for the use of buildings or structures on the property; and otherwise adopt any ordinances or resolutions regarding the property as necessary to fulfill the District’s purposes. Provides that the Port District may impose a charge of the throughput to a company for products being imported or exported through the Port District from navigable waters at a rate to be set by the Port District.

* Sen. Kimberly Lightford…

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford is leading the charge to create a new state agency – the Department of Early Childhood – to streamline the administration of early childhood education care programs and services.

“The foundation of a child’s success and well-being is built starting the moment they are born,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “As a state, it is our duty to provide the necessary support and resources to build such stability. The creation of this unique agency will break ground on our transition to a whole, trauma-informed approach to meeting children’s diverse needs.”

The Department of Early Childhood – which would be created through Senate Bill 1 – would focus on administering early childhood education programs. The new agency would be dedicated to making access to such state programs easier for parents and providers to navigate.

Combining streamlined oversight to state-funded early childhood programs within the State Board of Education, Department of Human Services and Department of Children and Family Services, the new agency would house the responsibility of the Early Childhood Block Grant – which funds the Lightford-backed Preschool for All initiative – among other items.

“Illinois has become a national leader in the fight to enhance support for our most vulnerable children,” said Lightford. “However, we also acknowledge we can’t stop our work until every child in the state has access to the best, all-around care – and the creation of this agency would be a grand step toward that goal.”

Senate Bill 1 will be heard in the Senate Executive Committee.

* Press release…

Continuing his commitment to modernize the Secretary of State’s office, Secretary Alexi Giannoulias is championing legislation to allow Illinois residents to start using digital driver’s licenses and state IDs.

Giannoulias’ backing marks the first time the Illinois Secretary of State’s office has supported such a measure, which now includes digital IDs as well as digital driver’s licenses. HB 4592 is sponsored by State Representative Kam Buckner (26th District) and State Senator Michael Hastings (19th District). If the bipartisan legislation passes, implementation could occur as early as next year. […]

If approved in the General Assembly, Illinois would join 12 other states that already offer digital forms of identification (including bordering states – Iowa and Missouri) while at least 18 other states are currently working toward the implementation. The legislation would not eliminate physical driver’s licenses, but instead digital IDs would act as a companion to a physical card. […]

New technology allows for more privacy by allowing individuals to decide what personal information they share via a contactless encrypted data exchange between their device and the reader. Digital IDs offer privacy control options that allow people to verify their age when legally purchasing alcohol, cannabis or renting a car, while hiding other personal information – like their address.

Giannoulias added that the initiative will also help reduce in-office wait times and lines at DMVs because the digital platform will allow users to make changes to their licenses and IDs remotely without having to make an in-person visit.

The proposed legislation would give the Secretary of State’s office the authority to begin the process of providing digital IDs. The office would issue an RFP and then select the vendor that is most capable of producing digital IDs in the safest way possible, ensuring that the final product meets testing requirements and the highest standards of security for Illinoisans.

       

34 Comments
  1. - Torco Sign - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 9:44 am:

    Can someone ask Rep. Morgan Why some companies should get to use junk fees and others shouldn’t?


  2. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 9:47 am:

    “Department of Early Childhood”

    I was kind of hoping for a more creative name? Or maybe like “Early Childhood Development”?


  3. - froganon - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 10:05 am:

    ==select the vendor that is most capable of producing digital IDs in the safest way possible, ensuring that the final product meets testing requirements and the highest standards of security for Illinoisans.==

    Any bets on when we see headlines Digital ID system hacked in Midwest States, 500 B ID’s stone ID’s available on the dark web? I feel like a luddite and know this train has left the station on this but this will not end well.


  4. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 10:12 am:

    == Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford is leading the charge to create a new state agency – the Department of Early Childhood – to streamline the administration of early childhood education care programs and services. ==

    A state agency and streamline do not often belong in the same sentence together; if you want to streamline things, improving the processes may be a better approach than putting someone else in charge of them. A new entity may not do anything to make things simpler unless they get to start from scratch, and I doubt that is going to happen.


  5. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 10:32 am:

    ===proposed a bill urging support for===

    Fittin’ to get ready


  6. - Route 50 Corridor - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 10:44 am:

    On a cursory glance, it appears that Wayne Rollman is related to Henry Rollman who supposedly had an offensive sign at his farm a few years back.


  7. - TJ - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 10:48 am:

    I can only hope that stipulations against junk fees include all the garbage tacked on for attending sporting events. It’s honestly always infuriating to see sometimes a couple dozen dollars tacked on for assorted nonsense at those.


  8. - Leap Day William - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 10:48 am:

    Any bets on when we see headlines Digital ID system hacked in Midwest States, 500 B ID’s stone ID’s available on the dark web? I feel like a luddite and know this train has left the station on this but this will not end well.

    generated by a formula instead of at random, so it’s not like they’re secure in any way as it is.


  9. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:02 am:

    Regarding a bonus of $4000 for teachers in hard-to-staff schools…$4000 equates to roughly $22/day over180 days. That’s hardly adequate and an incentive for teachers.

    I’ve left larger tips than that after a restaurant meal.


  10. - Occasionally Moderated - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:12 am:

    Something I would like to see included(and maybe it is)in the digital identification law is some means for first responders to identify those who are incapacitated due to injury or illness.

    The bill clearly states that drivers still must carry their physical driver license but passengers, pedestrians, how will police, fire nd ems correctly identify them and correctly notify family members?

    Alexi needs to emphasize that the law requires drivers to carry their physical driver license. He mentioned it in passing on wgn yesterday but it was clear that the host didn’t get that message.

    This should happen yet i don’t feel we are ready for prime time on this matter yet. Being an early adopter can be really over rated.


  11. - Duck Duck Goose - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:12 am:

    I would like to propose a bill requiring all public reporting about a piece of legislation to include the bill number. That would be about the only sensible legislation I’ve seen reported this session.


  12. - Benniefly2 - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:12 am:

    Frankly I am surprised that law enforcement isn’t doing ‘get your dna tested free’ days for everyone every month. Why apply for a warrant when you can just pay for a subscription to 23 & Me.


  13. - Occasionally Moderated - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:22 am:

    I have a daughter and a son in law who are ISU trained teachers. Have a close family member retiring from this honorable profession.

    The reason we are having trouble hiring and retaining teachers is not as much the wages as it is lack of support from administration in dealing with problem students and parents. For my daughter, her personal safety was far from guaranteed in a middle school setting and that bothered her more than I would have known prior to her employment. No amount of money could cure that.

    I applaud the efforts of the state government in addressing our teacher shortage but I am not sure we are correctly identifying the problem. If that is correct, we can’t fix the problem.


  14. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:34 am:

    @- Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:02 am:

    ===Regarding a bonus of $4000 for teachers in hard-to-staff schools…$4000 equates to roughly $22/day over180 days. That’s hardly adequate and an incentive for teachers.

    I’ve left larger tips than that after a restaurant meal.===

    Completely agree.

    In addition, an “Honesty in Tier2 teacher pensions act” should be required. New prospective teachers should be counseled about how they will be getting less in their pension then what they paid in, less then social security would pay, and any social security they would otherwise get from other work ends up being reduced because of their teachers’ pension. Many times, retirement is the last thing on the minds of new teachers. Tier2 is a negative pension. If they want to get more teachers, they need to restore Tier1.


  15. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:35 am:

    =The reason we are having trouble hiring and retaining teachers is not as much the wages as it is lack of support from administration in dealing with problem students and parents.=

    Maybe it is poor decision making by teachers that makes this difficult. Or parents that feel entitled to allow their children to act however they wish. Or a legislature that takes our toolks away and leaves us caught in the middle.


  16. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:43 am:

    - hiding at the end of transactions for concert tickets, hotels and other services. -

    Let’s include car dealerships, I’m tired of wasting time sitting down with a salesman to negotiate only to find out there’s a market fee that goes on top of the sticker price.


  17. - HarveyGuy - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:53 am:

    ==Can someone ask Rep. Morgan Why some companies should get to use junk fees and others shouldn’t?==

    Gotta check A1’s for the exemptions


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 11:58 am:

    ===for the exemptions ===

    There are none.


  19. - Jane - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 12:02 pm:

    $700 for DNA testing? That figure makes no sense, since the retail price is between $40 and $120 from the current sponsored ads that pop up on Google right now. Did he pay for extended family to take the test just to have more data points?

    And as far as I can tell, the Pilot Program is an African-descendent-specific public (university)/free competitor to these. https://csbs.research.illinois.edu/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Fact-Sheet-HR-453-Family-Roots-Pilot-Program.pdf


  20. - Occasionally Moderated - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 12:14 pm:

    ==Maybe it is poor decision making by teachers that makes this difficult==

    My sister in-law is retiring under Tier 1 so she has been doing this awhile. She is a second grade teacher. “I have not never had so many kids in second grade who are not potty trained. I have four this year.” Four kids in a classroom of around 20 kids.

    For my daughter, it was middle school boys. They would fight. No out of classroom discipline would result. They would go home that night and the parents would encourage the boys to “stand up for themselves”. They would fight again the next day. No out of classroom discipline would result. That would often lead to screaming matches and sometimes fights between the parents at the pickup/dropoff spot. No discipline. Cops instructed not to arrest parents.

    While all this nonsense occurs, the non-discipline problem kids are not being taught.

    My daughter is a former college athlete. Yet some of these middle schoolers are a handful and she should not have to break up fights between kids that size. When she did, they should face discipline.

    I never heard any of the teachers I know complain about salary. Not once. It was always about discipline problems and administration not assisting so they could get back to teaching.

    Blaming the teachers for not handling this nonsense well is nonsense itself.

    By the way, all school described above are in Champaign Urbana and an affluent northern Illinois rural school district.


  21. - Duck Duck Goose - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 12:21 pm:

    =$700 for DNA testing=

    Apparently, the junk fees bill needs to address DNA tests…


  22. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 12:38 pm:

    In our middle school we had 385 8th graders (14 years old) in our building. Along with our superintendent (financial support), we created a field trip plan.

    Every six weeks, we scheduled a trip and we were fortunate to be within driving distance to Chicago. Simple rule: if a student was suspended during the six weeks, they were ineligible for the trip.

    If they acquired no suspensions/ fighting, they earned the right to a permission slip. All students started with a clean slate every 6 weeks. The teacher did not eliminate the student. The student eliminated themselves by behavior issues.

    The trips: Navy Pier and IMAX, MSI, United Center, Lincoln Park Zoo for Earth Day, Wrigley Field for a ball game, and the final trip to Indiana Beach.

    We took no parents and only a few teachers. So much work to organize and arrange but we could work in a relatively peaceful environment day to day. We used this model for years and it was very successful.


  23. - Perrid - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 12:49 pm:

    Frog, your drivers license data is already all recorded, it’s in state databases already, right now, today. Having another vendor host it adds some small added risk, but probably not a lot.


  24. - exempt - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 1:46 pm:

    Looks like there are 6 exemptions listed in HB 4629. Broadband, financial transactions, sale or lease of vehicle, air transport, auctions, food delivery platform. Could be those are the exemptions in Federal bill, as all those industries have power, but they show up in state bill too


  25. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 2:24 pm:

    =Blaming the teachers for not handling this nonsense well is nonsense itself.=

    Says the guy who does not work in schools, goes by hearsay which maybe violating FERPA and made a blanket statement blaming “school administrators”.

    Most of what you stated were parent responsibilities.

    Yep, nonsense.


  26. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:03 pm:

    ==parent responsibilities==

    You don’t do yourself any favors when your first instinct is to blame the parents. It’s your job to take care of the kids while they are at school. Blaming others doesn’t absolve you of that responsibility. It irritates me to no end when schools don’t take responsibility. I’m not saying it’s totally on the schools but you certainly share in it so stop blaming others for your failures.


  27. - T.S. - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:32 pm:

    Hard-to-staff schools are defined by a school that is at least 30% below income,” Ross said. “We’re providing retention bonuses of $4,000 a year for two years.” ====
    Now that they have two more years of experience, do they move on to a school that pays better overall,” said Halbrook. “I guess I’m just trying to figure out if this is a good value for taxpayers or not.” […]===

    Having teachers to teach kids who can grow up to be taxpayers is a good investment by the taxpayers.
    The alternative- teachers don’t stay and the kids in “hard to staff schools” don’t have anyone to teach them?
    The real question you are asking is- do we really want to spend money on schools in low income areas? or why should we pay teachers appropriately if they are going to leave for better pay?
    or if you want teachers to not leave for better pay, maybe pay them better in low income schools.


  28. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:37 pm:

    = I’m not saying it’s totally on the schools but you certainly share in it so stop blaming others for your failures.=

    Not sure how it is our responsibility to potty train children or teach children basic civility or the difference between right and wrong. It is certainly our job to reinforce those good behaviors. Our primary responsibility is to teach math, reading, writing, science and how to function in The school setting.

    In the realm of politics all legislation that has been passed has only held schools accountable not parents and not students. If you don’t accept that reality that is on you.

    I suspect you are a good parent bass on your comments here, but if you don’t like my direct and honest talk that is your issue and not mine. With respect.


  29. - Occasionally Moderated - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:48 pm:

    JS Mill- so you work in schools and you do blame the teachers? Am I misunderstanding?

    And hearsay. That’s rich.

    Part of the reason I posted is I feel like policy is often made in a vacuum. I feel like policy makers often are not aware of or have forgotten what it is like to be the person doing the work. And the work is getting harder. And we are mistaken if we think it’s solely a salary issue.


  30. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:50 pm:

    To add more: By placing behavior in the hands of the students, they learned to self-monitor. We explained that if you can’t follow the rule of no fighting/suspensions, we will not take you out of the building. Yet, we will go on the trip without you.

    Everyone started the next six weeks with a clean slate to earn the opportunity for the next trip.

    This was a high poverty district. We explained that we are teaching you our students life skills. We are guests at these locations so we must be on our best behavior. They didn’t disappoint us.


  31. - Occasionally Moderated - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 3:58 pm:

    While it is certainly the parents responsibility to potty train their second grader who is responsible for the kid when that problem pops up in class? Janitor? School nurse? (Hint: it’s the second grade teacher.)


  32. - Proud Papa Bear - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 5:34 pm:

    As much as I hate to agree with a Republican, Halbrook makes a good point. Temporary bonuses might stave off resignations for a while but permanent pay increases would better address this issue.
    Unfortunately, this would require a system overhaul in which resources would be more evenly spread throughout the state instead of over reliance on local property taxes. This would be an overhaul I’m sure we don’t have the political will to do.


  33. - Just a Citizen - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 6:42 pm:

    I agree with One Man. A new agency isn’t necessarily the answer. It will just create a lot of administrative overhead and may not streamline anything. Carve out a part of an agency that exists for Early Childhood Education and track results.


  34. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 29, 24 @ 8:51 pm:

    ===For my daughter, it was middle school boys. They would fight. No out of classroom discipline would result. They would go home that night and the parents would encourage the boys to “stand up for themselves”. They would fight again the next day. No out of classroom discipline would result. That would often lead to screaming matches and sometimes fights between the parents at the pickup/dropoff spot. No discipline. Cops instructed not to arrest parents.

    While all this nonsense occurs, the non-discipline problem kids are not being taught.

    My daughter is a former college athlete. Yet some of these middle schoolers are a handful and she should not have to break up fights between kids that size. When she did, they should face discipline.

    I never heard any of the teachers I know complain about salary. Not once. It was always about discipline problems and administration not assisting so they could get back to teaching.===

    This is a large problem. It used to be if kids repeatedly started fights they would be suspended.
    If they came back after serving suspension and resumed starting fights in the classroom or hit a teacher, they would be sent to St. Charles. Now, it seems they just send them back to class.

    Teachers are not prison guards and should not have to deal repeatedly with violent students.


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