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The Majority Report 08/30/15 - Key laws for a new school year


Back to school with more safety, opportunities

Back to school with more safety, opportunitiesAs young people are back in school across Illinois, new laws are in place to increase safety and opportunity for students and educators. Student teachers and school bus drivers will be screened more thoroughly before being hired, and charter schools are now required to divulge information on criminal or civil investigations.

Students will have greater access to advanced classes, will learn more about civics and consumer issues including identity theft, college loans and debt. Students with disabilities will get greater resources to succeed at school. Also, high school seniors scoring well on advanced placement courses may earn credit as incoming college freshmen.

Don't miss the bus >



Racial disparities in school discipline

Racial disparities in school disciplineA 2012 study found that Illinois suspends more African-American students than any other state in the U.S. To address this all-too-apparent problem and the overall frequency of out-of-school discipline, a new law will help to ensure that all students are in school and off the streets as much as possible.

"Constantly suspending and expelling the very kids that need to be in school is one of the most counter-productive practices of our education system," said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, sponsor of the successful legislation. "We need to keep young people in school learning how to succeed and off of the street corner learning how best to end up in prison."

Discipline >




Morrison measures close patronage loopholes, boost transparency on political donors)

Morrison measures close patronage loopholes, boost transparency on political donorsA law to prevent future governors from engaging in last-minute patronage took effect last week, and a law to shed more light on political contributions will take effect January 1. Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) introduced the political hiring proposal after former Gov. Pat Quinn appointed a political operative to a $160,000-per-year state job at the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority a month after he lost his election last year. The law limits lame-duck appointees to 60 days before a new governor can select the best qualified person.

Sen. Morrison's transparency measure will let the people see who's really paying for political campaigns, shining a light on those trying to buy influence at the state Capitol.

"The people deserve to know which people and businesses are trying to influence elections and politicians," Morrison said. "They shouldn't be able to hide behind ‘independent spending' and bypass our campaign finance laws."


Kotowski reacts to Rauner rejection of heroin treatment legislation

Kotowski reacts to Rauner rejection of heroin treatment legislationSenator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) issued the statement below in response to Governor Rauner's amendatory veto of House Bill 1. The legislation, passed earlier in the year by Kotowski, creates a multi-faceted approach to stopping heroin and opioid abuse.

"Investing in programs to help individuals struggling with drug addiction - regardless of socio-economic status - gives those people an opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and remain productive members of society. Failing to fund these programs now will cost taxpayers substantially more in the long run."

Addiction treatment vetoed >



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