Hundreds of bills are introduced in Springfield every session. Here's some of the bills that we'll be supporting or following closely during the spring 2023 session of the 103nd IL General Assembly.
Key legislative initiative
Sunset Invest in Kids voucher program - [Fact Sheet] The Invest in Kids Act created a school voucher program in the form of a tax credit scholarship scheme in 2017. The Act was to sunset after five years, but has already been extended for one year. More than three dozen local, state and national orgs have endorsed letting this program sunset as planned. If no new legislation is passed to amend the act, next school year will be the final year of the program with a sunset date for all provisions of Jan 1, 2025. (As such, there is more than one bill which may move that would implement a sunset or none at all.) Read more about our campaign to end it here.
Other bills we support
Clean Air for Healthy Equitable Schools - HB 3713 [Fact Sheet] Initiative of Illinois Stakeholders for Air Quality in Schools. It will be amended to include not just ventilation verification assessments but the distribution of high-quality HEPA filters and air quality monitors to immediately improve air quality for all children, teachers, and staff in IL public schools.
Racism Free Schools - SB 90/HB 2049 [Fact Sheet] Requires school districts to create and implement a policy on race-related harassment and discrimination and classifies racial harassment as a civil rights violation. Read more details about the bill content here.
Child Tax Credit - SB 1444/HB 3950 [Fact Sheet] Illinois has long had one of the most regressive state tax systems in the country, in part because the Illinois constitution bars the state from levying a graduated income tax, and so Illinois does not have the ability to raise income tax rates for the people who can afford to pay the most. Until the constitution is amended, advocacy orgs from around the state, including IL Families for Public Schools, are partnering with the Cost of Living Refund Coalition to ameliorate the effects of IL’s regressive tax policies with tax credits for lower-income brackets. This session the coalition is supporting a child tax credit; eligible low- and middle-income Illinois families would receive a $700 tax credit for each child under the age of 17. This would benefit half of Illinois households with children.
Minimum Funding Level - HB 2792 Increases the minimum required increase to Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) to $550M instead of the current $350M. State funding for public schools is billions short of what each district needs to adequately educate its students. With an increase to EBF each year of only $350M, we will not reach full funding until 2054. Resetting the minimum to $550M would be a positive step to accelerating the path to fair funding for Illinois' public schools.
No Book Bans - HB 2789 Protects against attempts to ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to books or other materials in the State's public libraries and public school libraries by requiring school and public libraries to adopt policies against censorship and book banning in order to receive grants from the Illinois State Library, including the School District Library Grant. (Many school districts already have existing policies on the books that would meet the requirements of this bill.)