ICCTA Action Alert
February 29, 2000

The Illinois General Assembly has nearly completed half of its spring 2000 legislative session. Last Friday (Feb. 25) was the deadline for passage of non-appropriation-related Senate bills out of the Illinois Senate. The Illinois House of Representatives has a similar deadline (this Friday, March 3) for the passage of House bills. Both houses will return to Springfield tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 29).

Bills Passed by the House
Illinois Career Scholarships (House Bill 4265 -- Wirsing)
HB 4265 creates the Illinois Career Scholarship program to provide high school students not seeking baccalaureate degrees with $1,000 grants to pursue training in occupational programs certified by the Illinois Workforce Investment Board, the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois State Board of Education, or the Illinois Board of Higher Education. HB 4265 passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

Transfer of Adult Education to ICCB (HB 4266 -- Ryder)
House Bill 4266 would transfer all of ISBE's powers and duties concerning adult education to ICCB on July 1, 2001. HB 4266 passed out of the House (83 - 31) and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

Elimination of IBHE Site Approval for Opportunities Fund Projects
(HB 3993 -- Wirsing)
HB 3993 would change the purposes for which expenditures and distributions from the AFDC Opportunities Fund shall be made to ICCB. It removes the requirement that a community college board secure IBHE's prior approval before entering into an installment loan arrangement with a financial institution to borrow money to buy sites and to buy or build and equip buildings and improvements. HB 3993 passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

Review of FOIA Denials (HB 3469 -- Rutherford)
Under this Freedom of Information Act legislation initiated by Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, a person denied access to inspect or copy a public record by the head of a public body may request a review of the denial by either the Illinois Attorney General or a state's attorney. The bill also authorizes the Attorney General or state's attorney to seek declaratory or injunctive relief against a public body that fails to disclose records in response to the determination that its denial was unlawful. HB 3469 passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

FOIA Attorney Fees (HB 4341 -- Currie)
HB 4341 provides that if an FOIA lawsuit is brought against a public body and a court determines that the entity unlawfully refused to permit the inspection, examination, or copying of a public record, the court shall award the person bringing the suit the reasonable costs of enforcing the Act, including reasonable attorney's fees. HB 4341 passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

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Bills Passed by the Senate
#911 Number/Location Identification (Senate Bill 1400 -- Klemm)
SB 1400 would move the deadline (to June 30, 2001) for when telephone switchboard services must be connected to the public witched network in a manner that calls to "911" result in automatic number and location identification. Current law mandates June 30, 2000, as the deadline. SB 1400 passed out of the Senate and was sent to the House for further consideration.

Arthur F. Quern Information Technology Grants (SB 1444 -- Dillard)
SB 1444 would establish an information technology grant program to provide up to $2,500 per need-based scholarship for retraining in information technology fields. SB 1444 passed out of the Senate and was sent to the House for further consideration.

Prepaid Tuition Contracts (SB 1537 -- Watson)
This bill would exempt the assets and income of the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund from taxation and provides that the contract shall be considered an investment for the purpose of investing a ward's money. SB 1537 passed out of the Senate and was sent to the House for further consideration.

MAP Grant Increase (SB 1538 -- Watson)
This legislation increases the maximum Monetary Award Program grant for full-time students by $210 (from $4,530 to $4,740). Community college students cannot access these higher grant amounts because community colleges do not charge tuition rates that are high enough to qualify students for the higher grants. SB 1538 passed out of the Senate and was sent to the House for further consideration.

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Bills Not Advanced by Either House
Definition Change for Athletic Trainers (SB 2896 -- Brunsvold)
HB 2896 would change the definitions of the terms "licensed athletic trainer" and "referral" to expand the scope of practice for licensed athletic trainers, permitting them to perform many of the functions of licensed physical therapists without the appropriate educational background. HB 2896 is on 2nd reading in the House.

Dissection Alternatives Act (HB 3254 -- Gash)
Under this legislation, schools may excuse a student from performing or observing dissection and may allow the student to instead perform an alternative project. ICCTA generally opposes efforts by the General Assembly to mandate higher education curriculum. HB 3254 is on 3rd reading in the House.

Metropolitan Community College District (HB 3500-- Younge)
This bill would require ICCB to establish an experimental community college district comprised of the territory of the former Metropolitan Community College district in East St. Louis. ICCB dissolved the MCC district in 1999. HB 3500 is on 3rd reading in the House.

Free Tuition for "B" Students (HB 3831 -- Lang)
This bill creates the State University Scholarship Act, which would allow provide scholarships for entering freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors at public community colleges and universities who maintain a "B" average. The scholarship -- which is subject to the amounts appropriated by the General Assembly -- would include tuition and mandatory fees. HB 3831 is on 3rd reading in the House.

For additional information on state legislative issues, contact ICCTA at 1-800-454-2282.

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Illinois Community College Trustees Association
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