ICCTA Action Alert
March 1, 2001

The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn today after a week filled with committee hearings on recently introduced legislation. Lawmakers will return to Springfield on Tuesday, March 6, to resume committee hearings. The deadline for bills to be considered in a committee is Friday, March 16.

FY 02 Budget Highlights
Last week Gov. George Ryan proposed an FY 2002 budget of nearly $50 billion. The Governor said that no new taxes or fee increases of any kind would be needed to sustain his budget recommendations. He also said that 51 percent of the projected revenue growth from FY 2001 to FY 2002 would be allocated to education and workforce initiatives.

According to the Governor's budget documents, $724 million in new general funds dollars will be available for spending, with $460 million in increased funding earmarked for education. Higher education funding appears to be increasing by $134 million over FY 2001, which is about $10 million less than the Illinois Board of Higher Education had recommended. The IBHE is expected to complete its allocation of the higher education component of the state budget by next week.

Gov. Ryan has also recommended a two-year $250 million capital construction program for community colleges. Under this proposal, community colleges would receive a lump-sum appropriation of $125 million in capital funding for each of the next two years.

Colleges Response to Chicago Tribune Editorial
Just one day before Gov. Ryan's Feb. 21 budget address, the Chicago Tribune ran a scathing editorial attacking his proposed $250 million capital improvement program for community colleges. Among the paper's claims:

"But reality is that none of them (community colleges) is in dire financial straits, and some of them are fatter than hogs. The community college board has seen its budget increase 11 percent since fiscal year 1999."
Trustees and presidents responded by deluging the Tribune with letters, faxes and e-mails protesting its incorrect portrayal of community colleges' capital needs. To date, three responses (from Southeastern president Dr. Mary Jo Oldham, Lake Land president Dr. Robert Luther, and Harper trustee Richard Gillette) have been published. Illinois Community College Board chair Edward Duffy and president Dr. Joseph Cipfl have also scheduled a meeting with the newspaper's editorial board to discuss the community college agenda.

Bills of Interest to Community Colleges
House Bill 131 -- Local Government Joint Investments (Schoenberg)
Provides that with the authorization of the governing body, the treasurer of a governmental unit may join with the treasurers of other governmental units to jointly invest funds of which the treasurer has custody. HB 131 is currently on second reading (when amendments may be added or deleted) in the House.

HB 192 -- Extension of SURS "30 and Out" Provision (M. Smith)
Amends the State Universities Retirement System Act to allows retirement at any age with 30 years of service. Current law allows this temporarily through 2002. Sen. Judy Myers is sponsoring similar legislation (SB 584) in the Senate. HB 192 has been assigned to the House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

HB 258 -- Re-Map for the Southwestern Illinois Community College District (Holbrook)
Provides for the new division of Community College District No. 522 into trustee districts in the year following each decennial census. HB 258 passed the House 116-0 and has been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee.

HB 501 -- Foundation Matching Grants (Scully)
Appropriates $1 million to the Illinois Community College Board for community college foundation matching grant awards as authorized by Public Act 91-664 (legislation originally advanced by ICCTA). HB 501 has been assigned to the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee.

HB 583 -- Scholarships for "B" Students (Lang)
Allows scholarships to be awarded to entering freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have and maintain at least a "B" average at public and private community colleges, colleges, and universities in Illinois. HB 583 is on third reading (when it may be called for a recorded roll-call vote) in the House.

HB 655 -- Repeal of City Colleges of Chicago Management Rights (McCarthy)
Repeals management rights legislation approved in 1996 that affected prohibited subjects of collective bargaining at City Colleges of Chicago. HB 655 has been assigned to the House Labor Committee.

HB 701 -- Tuition Tax Credits (Reitz)
Creates a tuition tax credit for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of less than $100,000. The credit would not exceed $500 for amounts spent during the taxable year for the tuition and fees of the taxpayer and any dependent enrolled in full- or part-time undergraduate studies at any public or private college, university, or community college in Illinois. HB 701 has been assigned to the House Revenue Committee.

HB 753 -- Speech Language Pathology Assistants (Hartke)
This bill will be used to advance any agreements between the community college system and the Speech Language Pathologists to create a recognized Speech Language Pathologist Assistant designation in the K-12 system and other entities. Sen. Judy Myers is sponsoring similar legislation (SB 682) in the Senate. HB 753 has been assigned to the House Executive Committee.

HB 815 -- Release from Liability for Snow Removal (Hoffman)
Provides that a local public entity or its employees and agents who remove or attempt to remove snow or ice from a street, sidewalk, or other public way is liable for any injury that results from a condition caused by that undertaking unless the alleged misconduct was willful and wanton. HB 815 has been assigned to the House Judiciary I -- Civil Law Committee.

HB 887 -- Grants for Community Colleges (Erwin)
This is a "shell" (empty) bill initiated by ICCB that can be amended with new legislation later in the session.

HB 914 -- Public Building Commission Bond Refinancing (Moore)
Provides that, as a revenue source for alternate bonds, any unit of local government having a public building commission lease rental base is authorized to levy a public building commission lease rental base alternate tax levy. HB 914 has been assigned to the House Revenue Committee.

HB 921 -- Interior Design Title Act Reauthorization (Pankau)
Reauthorizes the Interior Design Title Act for 10 years. The Act, which sunsets at the end of 2001, is vigorously opposed by architects and others. Several community colleges currently offer programs in interior design. Sen. Brad Burzynski is sponsoring similar legislation (SB 1228) in the Senate. HB 921 has been assigned to the House Registration and Regulation Committee.

HB 975 -- Mandated Ratio of Full-time and Part-time Faculty (Hoffman)
Requires the governing board of each public university and community college to achieve a ratio between full-time and part-time teachers in which at least 75 percent of all full-time equivalent teaching positions are held by full-time faculty members and not more than 25 percent of all FTE teaching positions are held by part-time teachers. HB 975 has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.

HB 981 -- Grants to Increase Number of Full-Time Faculty (Crotty)
Appropriates $10 million to ICCB for a program that awards grants to community college districts to increase the amount of credit hours taught by full-time faculty. HB 981 has been assigned to the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee.

HB 1720 -- Collective Bargaining Rights for Part-Time Faculty (Ryder)
Amends the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act to redefine a "short-term employee." The change -- which provides that the employee must not have a reasonable expectation (instead of a reasonable assurance) that he or she will be rehired -- would permit part-time employees to organize and be recognized as a bargaining unit. ICCTA opposes this legislation because IBHE has not yet completed its General Assembly-mandated study on part-time faculty. B 1720 has been assigned to the House Labor Committee.

HB 1851 -- Increase in Illinois Incentive for Access Grants (Myers)
Increases the Illinois Incentive for Access grants by raising the maximum amount paid per applicant per year from $500 to $1,000. HB 1851 is currently on second reading in the House.

HB 1852 -- Minority Male Teacher Scholarships (Righter)
Provides that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission shall set a goal to award at least 30 percent of its Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarships in each fiscal year to qualified male minority applicants (rather than requiring that 30 percent of these scholarships be awarded to qualified male minority applicants). HB 1852 has been assigned to the House Higher Education Committee.

HB 1871 -- Repeal of Management Rights at City Colleges and Chicago Schools (Delgado)
Repeals provisions added by Public Act 89-15 that establish prohibited subjects of collective bargaining between the City Colleges of Chicago or the Chicago Public Schools system and an exclusive representative of the employees of that educational employer. HB 1871 has been assigned to the House Executive Committee.

HB 1905 -- Reduction of Community College Treasurers Bond (Wirsing)
Changes the amount of the required bond for community college treasurers (outside of Chicago) to equal the rate for K-12 board treasurers. HB 1905 is currently on second reading in the House.

HB 1974 -- Redefinition of Athletic Trainers (Brunsvold)
Changes the definitions of the terms "licensed athletic trainer" and "referral," and permits athletic trainers to perform many of the functions of a physical therapist. HB 1974 has been assigned to the House Registration and Regulation Committee.

Senate Bill 107 -- Certification of Adult Education Teachers (Del Valle)
Provides additional authority to the Illinois Community College Board to develop requirements and adopt rules to establish a system for the credentialing of adult education teachers. SB 107 is currently on second reading in the Senate.

SB 314 & 716 -- Retirees Health Insurance for Part-Time Employees (Cronin)
Permits part-time employees to enroll in the community college retirees health insurance program. SB 314 and SB 716 have been assigned to the Senate Insurance and Pensions Committee.

SB 1394 -- FY 02 Community College Appropriation (Donahue)
Contains the IBHE recommendations for community college funding in FY 2002. SB 1394 has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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

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