Who Is In Charge

The week at the Capitol – Jan. 22-25

The legislature gets down to real business this week, with a significant number of bills starting to move through committees.

Colorado state flag

EdNews posts a weekly calendar every Sunday (Monday this week, given that the legislature is taking the day off). Updated daily calendars are included in the Capitol eNewsletter on weekday evenings. (If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up here.)

For new readers, and for those a little rusty on legislative folkways, here are some tips on navigating the calendars.

What’s included: Our calendars list only education-related bills and other measures of interest to the education community. All bills are listed for meetings of the House and Senate education committees. Only education-related bills are listed for other committees, whose calendars may include other bills before, after and in-between the ones listed.

How to stay current: Calendars change daily, so this weekly calendar isn’t the last word. Subscribe to the Capitol eNewsletter to get the latest schedule (see above). Or use these links to the full House and Senate calendars. Updated versions are available early in the evening on weekdays.

Use the Education Bill Tracker: Get descriptions of education-related bills, links to full texts and status information in in this exclusive EdNews resource.

Legislative jargon: In addition to committee hearings, every bill goes through three steps, or “readings,” on the floor. First reading is when a bill is formally introduced and assigned to a committee. During second reading the House and Senate meet as what’s called the “committee of the whole” to debate and amend a list of bills. (Second reading is labeled “preliminary consideration” in our calendars.) During third reading the House and Senate take final roll-call votes on bills. (We call that “final consideration.”)

Don’t be fooled: After bills clear committee they’re scheduled for floor debate. But bills frequently are laid over, so just because a measure is on a particular day’s floor calendar doesn’t mean it will be considered.

Timing: Many committees, including House and Senate education on Wednesdays, meet after floor sessions are finished. (That’s what “upon adjournment” means.) That can mean any time from about 9:30 a.m. until noon, depending on how busy things are on the floor. Otherwise, House Education meets at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays, and Senate Education convenes at 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Complicated or controversial measures, and those expected to bring lengthy testimony, usually are scheduled for those afternoon sessions, which can run until late in the afternoon or even early evening.

Follow meetings yourself: Live video of floor sessions is streamed on the legislature’s website, and there’s live audio of all committee meetings. Archives also are available, generally within a few hours after a meeting ends. Get more information and links here.

This week’s calendar

MONDAY

Legislature closed for Martin Luther King holiday

TUESDAY

8:45 a.m. – Capital Development Committee, room 356
– Presentation on BEST program and discussion of possible legislation on oversight

10 a.m. – House preliminary consideration
– House Bill 13-1026 – Technical measure affecting higher ed construction projects

WEDNESDAY

7:45 a.m. – Joint education committees, room 0112
– CDE presentation on early childhood education and full-day kindergarten
– Staff briefing on status of State Education Fund

Upon floor adjournment – Joint education committees, room 0112
– Discussion of budget recommendations and strategic plans for departments of education and higher education

Upon adjournment of joint session – House Education Committee, room 0112
– Vote on budget recommendations and strategic plans for departments of education and higher education

Upon adjournment of joint session – Senate Education Committee, room 356
– Vote on budget recommendations and strategic plans for departments of education and higher education

1:30 p.m. – Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee, room 354
– Senate Bill 13-024 – Labor union membership

1:30 p.m. – House Finance Committee, room LSB-A
– House Bill 13-1040 – Change in calculation of PERA retirement benefits

THURSDAY

1:30 p.m. – Senate Education Committee, room 356
– Briefing on unimplemented audit recommendations for departments of education and higher education
– Senate Bill 13-002 – Designation of BOCES as local education agencies
– Senate Bill 13-033 – ASSET bill for undocumented students

Looking ahead

Some bills already have been put on the calendars for late in the month. Of immediate interest is Senate Bill 13-009, which will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 28.

#GovTest

Where Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker stand on key education issues, from charters to Chicago’s school board

PHOTO: (Rauner) Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images; (Pritzker) Joshua Lott/Getty Images
Our conversations with Gov. Bruce Rauner (left) and challenger J.B. Pritzker will be aired on Oct. 3 on WBEZ 91.5 FM.

The race for Illinois governor is shaping up to be one of the most expensive in U.S. history, and anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock has probably seen or heard one of the barrage of ads for the candidates. There have been puppies, toilets, and plenty of barbs over wealth and taxes — and the back-and-forth has drowned out the discussion over where the candidates stand on education, arguably one of the most crucial policy areas facing the state.

To dig deeper, Chalkbeat Chicago is teaming up with the education team at WBEZ 91.5 Chicago for a WBEZ/Chalkbeat 2018 Election Special: Testing the Candidates. Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker each have agreed to join us for a conversation about where they stand on everything from boosting the state’s profile in early childhood education to stemming the exodus of undergraduates from Illinois.

The interviews will be separate, but will be broadcast back-to-back on WBEZ 91.5 FM on Oct. 3 starting at 8 a.m.  

In advance of the discussion, Chalkbeat and WBEZ asked each candidate for his position on five questions, and we’ve reprinted their answers in their entirety. We’re also soliciting interview suggestions from our readers and listeners. Use this form to submit a question to us, and follow along with the discussion on Oct. 3 using #GovTest.

#GovTest

What would you ask Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker about education?

Chalkbeat Chicago is teaming up with the education team at WBEZ 91.5 Chicago for a WBEZ/Chalkbeat 2018 Election Special: Testing the Candidates. Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker each have agreed to join us for a conversation about where they stand on everything from boosting the state’s profile in early childhood education to stemming the exodus of undergraduates from Illinois.

Use the form below to submit questions for the conversations, which will air back-to-back on Oct. 3 at 8 a.m.