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Assault allegations by teachers to be reported immediately under plan by Bertino-Tarrant

jbt 041118 2SPRINGFIELD – In response to alarming findings about sexual assault by faculty and staff in schools, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced House Bill 3687 on Tuesday, which requires the State’s Attorneys across the state to immediately notify school officials when a school employee is accused of harassment or assault.

“Our children should be safe at school,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This measure ensures school administrators have all of the facts in order to make decisions in the best interest of students. If an accused school employee or educator has direct contact with students, steps will need to be taken to change that.”

House Bill 3687 requires the State’s Attorney to provide school administrators with a copy of the complaint, indictment, or other information pertaining to the charges.

Last summer, as the Senate’s Education Chair, Bertino-Tarrant called a hearing to address the findings of a Chicago Tribune investigation which detailed improper reporting of sexual misconduct in Chicago schools. The investigation found 72 Chicago Public Schools employees were accused of misconduct over a 10-year period and not properly reported to authorities.

"It is unacceptable that sexual predators were not only near our children, but in positions of trust," Bertino-Tarrant said. "Everyone should be outraged that these abusers were able to prey on students because of insufficient oversight."

The Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance are in support of the measure.

House Bill 3687 passed the Senate’s Education Committee with bipartisan support and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Bertino-Tarrant supports plans to end the teacher shortage crisis

jbt 041118 3SPRINGFIELD – To address Illinois’ teacher shortage, Senate Education Chairwoman Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant announced her support for legislation intended to aid a new generation of teaching students.

“We need to equip our school districts with the tools to recruit the best and brightest to train them,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “To attract that kind of talent, the Senate has recently passed several commonsense reforms that cut red tape, streamline the licensure process and give educators a higher wage. The demands to meet the academic, as well as social and emotional needs of our students, demands a salary to match our expectations."

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is a lead cosponsor on Senate Bill 1952, which removes unnecessary redundant testing, permits K-12 student teachers and early childhood student teachers to receive compensation and allows early childhood student teachers to be paid and receive credit.

“As a former educator, I know Illinois needs to make substantial changes to the way we license our teachers,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 1809, which helps students enter the teaching field by expanding the eligibility of MAP grant recipients to include students who have already received bachelor degrees or have 135 credit hours, if they are seeking to earn their teaching certificate through an educator preparation program. The measure keeps recipients in state by requiring them to stay in Illinois for three of the next five years.

“Teachers are concerned about graduating college with unmanageable student loan debt,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Raising the starting salaries for our educators while promoting need-based grant assistance for those pursuing a teaching degree in the state will help encourage more students to pursue the profession while remaining here in Illinois.”

These two measures that passed the Senate have taken input from educators and administrators in Illinois to help ease the teacher shortage crisis.

“We cannot solve the teacher shortage crisis overnight,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “However these measures are a step in the right direction to give quality educators the opportunity to be successful in Illinois’ classrooms.”

Bertino-Tarrant urges local residents to visit www.SenatorBertinoTarrant.com sign up for her e-newsletter to stay-up-to-date with legislation as it progresses this spring.

Bertino-Tarrant aims to cut new red tape for businesses

Sen. Jennifer Betino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD – State government would be required to study the necessity of new red tape for businesses under a plan by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) passed Senate Bill 1756, which would require the state to assess whether newly proposed regulations on an industry or occupation are necessary for protecting the public.

“Unnecessary red tape makes it harder for companies and job seekers to do business in Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Streamlining the licensure process in our state will promote entrepreneurship in our communities.”

Bertino-Tarrant calls for less pay for short-term appointees

Senator Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD – The temporary appointees who fill vacant seats in the General Assembly and often serve on committees which never meet in the interim period should not be paid an extra stipend, said State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), who passed legislation to that effect on Thursday.

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 112, prohibits short-term appointed lawmakers from receiving taxpayer-funded stipends. It would apply to any member of the General Assembly who is appointed to the House of Representatives or Senate after May 31 of an even-numbered year, and prohibit them from receiving additional salary for service as a chairman or minority spokesman.

“Handing out careless taxpayer-funded stipends is an obvious abuse of vital state funds,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We cannot afford to waste a single dime in our state’s budget. Tax dollars should be directed toward funding vital programs, not lining the pockets of political insiders.”

Bertino-Tarrant was astounded at news that an appointment made to fill a short-term gap for an outgoing senator not only received full pay, but also an extra stipend to serve on a committee that had no meetings scheduled.

“It’s imperative that the legislature work in a bipartisan manner to end financial waste and abuse,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to root out all forms of political insider deals to send a message to those attempting to take advantage of Illinois taxpayers.”

Senate Bill 112 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now heads to the House for consideration.

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Education (Chairperson); Insurance; Labor; Licensed Activities (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR); Subcommittee on Special Issues (ED) (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.

Associated Representatives:
Mark Batinick
Natalie A. Manley