Legislative Affairs

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER

For Immediate Release Friday, August 10, 2018

Contact Elizabeth Tomev Elizabeth.Tomev@illinois.gov

Gov. Rauner signs new law to expand dual credit courses

PEORIA — Gov. Rauner signed legislation today that improves post-secondary education opportunities by allowing high school students to enroll in an unlimited number of dual credit courses in which they can earn both high school and college credits.

The courses, whether taken in class or online, must be taught by instructors who are in compliance with the Dual Credit Quality Act. “This legislation will help give students greater access to higher education,” Rauner said. “Earning college credit in high school may mean completing college in less time and that, in turn, could significantly lessen the financial burden for students and their families. It could also hasten General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) completion and entry to community colleges.”

The new law is another step toward the administration’s objective of improving access to education to help students prepare for the 21st century economy.

Cost is a major deterrent. A 2017 survey by the Institute for Higher Education Policy estimated that 70 percent of U.S. colleges are unaffordable for low- and middle-income families who are unwilling or unable to take out loans. SB 2527 amends the School Code and prohibits a school board from enacting limits to the number of dual credit courses a student may enroll in or the number of credits a student may receive from dual credit courses, provided the courses are taught by Dual Credit Quality Act-compliant instructors, licensed teachers, or community college professors.

With some exceptions, the bill also states that if a school district establishes a dual credit online learning program for students, the school board may not limit which students may participate.

Sen. Chuck Weaver and other proponents of the legislation welcomed the signing of the bill at an event held at Richwoods High School in Peoria.

“Dual credit courses are one of the most cost-effective options for helping students earn a college degree,” said Weaver, R-Peoria. “This new law will help boost degree completion rates and help cut costs for students.” Dual credit programs allow students to get college credit for courses they take while in high school, reducing the amount of time it takes to get a degree, thus decreasing the cost of higher education. It allows students who face time and financial constraints to complete a program.

Community colleges could see a benefit with increased enrollment and General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) certificate completion. The legislation requires that school boards must have their school district’s high schools inform all 11th- and 12thgrade students of dual enrollment and dual credit opportunities available at public community colleges for qualified students.

Under the new law, students have the ability to complete all of their General Education Core Curriculum (GECC) before graduating high school. Studies reflect that students who attain a certification or a degree are more likely to begin paying off student loans earlier than those who do not finish their programs.

The bill, passed unanimously in both Houses, takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

 

Spring 2017 Legislative Update for the 100th General Assembly
(Actions as of March 14, 2018)

Illinois Legislative Report By Leo Welch 

HB0672
LABOR RELATIONS-RIGHT TO WORK
House Sponsors
Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R) Crystal Lake
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act. Removes language requiring employees who are not members of a representing labor organization to pay a proportionate share of the costs of the collective bargaining process, contract administration, and pursuing matters affecting wages, hours, and conditions of employment under a collective bargaining agreement. Provides that employees shall not be required to perform certain acts as a condition of obtaining or continuing public employment. Provides that an agreement, contract, understanding, or practice between or involving a public employer, labor organization, or exclusive representative that requires an employee to perform certain forbidden acts as a condition of obtaining or continuing public employment is unlawful and unenforceable. Removes language concerning fair share agreements in collective bargaining. Removes the term “fair share agreement”. Makes conforming changes.

HB0673
LABOR RELATIONS-INDEP BARGAIN
House Sponsors
Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R) Crystal Lake
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act. Removes language requiring employees who are not members of a representing labor organization to pay a proportionate share of the costs of the collective bargaining process, contract administration, and pursuing matters affecting wages, hours, and conditions of employment under a collective bargaining agreement. Provides that employees shall not be required to perform certain acts as a condition of obtaining or continuing public employment. Provides that public employees shall have the right to bargain independently in their relations with the public employer. Provides that an agreement, contract, understanding, or practice between or involving a public employer, labor organization, or exclusive representative that violates the provisions concerning independent bargaining or requires an employee to perform certain forbidden acts as a condition of obtaining or continuing public employment is unlawful and unenforceable. Removes language concerning fair share agreements in collective bargaining. Provides that public employees who are not members of a labor organization may represent themselves in grievance resolution procedures. Provides that public employees who have chosen to bargain independently may be party to mediation and fact-finding proceedings. Modifies the terms “collective bargaining”, “exclusive representative”, and “labor organization”. Removes the term “fair share agreement”. Defines “independent bargaining” or “to bargain independently”. Makes conforming changes.

HB3498
COMM COLLEGE-FREE TUITION
House Sponsors
Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D) Dolton
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Public Community College Act. Provides that the Illinois Community College Board shall establish and implement a program that provides tuition to the first 1,500 students per year that enroll at each designated community college, which will be paid from the Community College Free Tuition Trust Fund. Provides that 16 community colleges shall be designated for the program for a 2-year period on a rotating schedule determined by the Illinois Community College Board. Creates the Community College Free Tuition Trust Fund as a nonappropriated trust fund to be held outside the State Treasury. Amends the Illinois Banking Act. Requires every bank under the Act to pay into the Trust Fund. Amends the Illinois Credit Union Act. Requires every credit union to pay into the Trust Fund.

HB2939
CAMPUS FREE SPEECH
House Sponsors
Rep. Peter Breen (R) Lombard
Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Campus Free Speech Act. Requires the governing board of each public university and community college to develop and adopt a policy on free expression; sets forth what the policy must contain. Requires the Board of Higher Education to create a Committee on Free Expression to issue an annual report. Requires public institutions of higher education to include in their freshman orientation programs a section describing to all students the policies and rules regarding free expression that are consistent with the Act. Contains provisions concerning rules, construction of the Act, permitted restrictions, and enforcement.

HB0476
SCH BD/COM COL BD-TERM LIMITS
House Sponsors
Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D) Dolton
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the School Code and the Public Community College Act. With respect to school boards of school districts and boards of trustees of community college districts, provides that a person may not serve as a board member for more than 2 terms of office that begin on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act.

HB1776
COM COL-CHICAGO-ELECT BOARD
House Sponsors
Rep. Robert Martwick (D) Norridge, and forty seven other sponsors
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Election Code. Provides for the election of the board of trustees of the City Colleges of Chicago, Illinois Community College District No. 508, at the general primary election in 2018 on a nonpartisan ballot. Provides that a member of the board of trustees shall be elected at each consolidated election thereafter. Makes related changes. Amends the Public Community College Act. Sets forth provisions concerning nominating petitions and ballots. Provides that the City of Chicago shall be subdivided into 20 trustee districts by the General Assembly for seats on the board of trustees, in addition to one at-large trustee. Provides that in the year following each decennial census, the General Assembly shall redistrict the trustee districts to reflect the results of each decennial census. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.

SB1560
CAMPUS FREE EXPRESSION
Senate Sponsors
Sen. Michael Connelly (R) Lisle
Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Campus Free Expression Act. Deems the outdoor areas of campuses of institutions of higher education (both private and public) as traditional public forums. Provides that institutions of higher education may maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions in service of a significant institutional interest only when such restrictions employ clear, published, content-neutral, and viewpoint-neutral criteria and provide for ample alternative means of expression, with any such restrictions allowing for members of the higher education community to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble. Provides that any person who wishes to engage in noncommercial, expressive activity on campus shall be permitted to do so freely, as long as the person’s conduct is not unlawful (subject to an institution’s restrictions). Contains enforcement provisions. Amends the Campus Demonstrations Policy Act to make a corresponding change. Effective immediately.