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The Majority Report 04/15/19 - Teacher shortage, fair tax, worker protections. Check, check, check.


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Manar passes teacher shortage solutions

Sens. Andy Manar and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

State Senator Andy Manar advanced two key measures that are expected to help solve the teacher shortage crisis that’s hitting school districts all over Illinois.

Both proposals were approved by the Senate, where they found strong bipartisan support. The first, Senate Bill 1952, would reinstate a 6 percent cap for pay increases to be covered by the state. It also removes a requirement that teachers must pass a basic skills test, permits student teachers to be paid and more.

The second, Senate Bill 10, calls for incrementally increasing to $40,000 the minimum salary that school districts must offer teachers. The state’s current mandated minimum salary for teachers is $10,000 – an amount that has not changed since 1980.

“We have to continue making changes to the things that are detrimental to the teaching profession and are driving would-be teachers to other states,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “I think this package is a necessary step, and I am excited that it contains excellent ideas that originated with teachers on the frontlines in schools throughout the state.”

Read more: Senate greenlights Manar’s teacher shortage package
Read more: Manar passes teacher minimum wage increase

 


Villivalam leads charge against right-to-work laws

Sen. Ran Villivalam

State Senator Ram Villivalam’s legislation to protect workers from local right-to-work laws was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday.

“I am proud to sponsor legislation that would make it crystal clear that local right-to-work zones have no place in the state of Illinois. Workers deserve the right to collectively bargain for living wages and better working conditions in every part of our great state,” Villivalam (D-Chicago) said. “Furthermore, there is no question that the regulation of collective bargaining should be a responsibility of state government.”

Senate Bill 1474 is designed to support economic development, protect the quality of essential services that are provided to the taxpayers of Illinois, and confirm the state’s commitment to maintaining and producing a highly trained workforce. It has bipartisan support. Continue reading.

 


Bush fights for workers affected by harassment

Sen. Melinda Bush

A measure from State Senator Melinda Bush that provides greater protections for private-sector workers who experience sexual harassment and discrimination passed out of the Senate without opposition.

“Right now, Illinois workers who are harassed or discriminated against don’t have the protections they need to seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable,” Bush (D-Grayslake) said. “This bill strengthens workers’ rights and includes reasonable requirements for employers that will create safer workplaces.”

The measure was drafted based on recommendations that were made last year during the Senate sexual harassment task force hearings.

“Preventing sexual harassment and discrimination and ensuring our workplaces are safe is not only good for workers, it’s good for business,” Bush said. Continue reading.

 

 


Illinois inches closer to fair tax

Sen. Don Harmon

Illinois is one step closer to implementing a fair income tax, lawmakers announced last week.

Sponsors of legislation amending the Constitution to allow for a fair tax joined Gov. JB Pritzker to announce that official language has been filed and would be taken up in committee.

The amendment’s chief sponsor, State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) said he has been working with legislators and advocates for almost 10 years to update Illinois’ tax system.

“Our state’s current tax structure is antiquated and gives us little ability to respond to an economic downturn. It puts a greater burden on working families than on the very wealthy,” Harmon said. “The majority of the country has realized that a fair tax structure works well. It’s time for Illinois to join them.” Continue reading.

 

 


Senate OKs Collins’ nursing home accountability plan

Nursing Home Accountability

Responding to staffing levels in Illinois nursing homes that are among the lowest in the nation and at the heart of severe safety issues for residents, State Senator Jacqueline Collins passed a plan out of the Senate to enforce mandatory staffing levels and increase transparency around nursing home practices.

“Reporting by the Chicago Tribune and Kaiser Health News has revealed a clear picture of what many families in Illinois already have seen firsthand: Most nursing homes in Illinois are understaffed and resorting to practices which are unsafe for our elders and the personnel who care for them,” Collins said.

“Bed sores, deadly infections and the administration of psychotropic drugs without clear consent are all recipes for disaster. That disaster is happening right now.”

The legislation requires nursing homes to abide by and enforce the state’s minimum nursing home staffing requirements established by Collins’ legislation in 2010. It also mandates higher transparency of nursing home violations and sets stricter guidelines around the voluntary, informed consent of a resident when nursing home personnel administer psychotropic medication. Continue reading.

 


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