[ Late Night Legislation ] Elected School Board and Guns

More wreckage

Tuesday, Jun 1, 2021



Other issues that failed to take flight included the repeal of a parental notification abortion law, a fix to major delays in obtaining state firearm permits, and creation of an elected Chicago school board, which was a priority of the Chicago Teachers Union that Mayor Lori Lightfoot fought to reshape.

“Count the victories,” House Speaker Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said in talking with reporters after they had adjourned. “Don’t look at the things that didn’t get done yet.”

But whether any of those issues truly were dead remained to be seen because the Illinois Senate gaveled out shortly past 3 a.m. Tuesday with plans to reconvene in Springfield later in the morning. The House’s schedule moving forward was unclear early Tuesday.

* Tribune

Efforts to create an elected school board in Chicago had failed to get the floor of either chamber for a vote. The legislature’s Latino caucus and some city progressives support an all-elected board. But Senate President Don Harmon has focused on trying to find a compromise that would start with a hybrid board of both appointed and elected members before moving to an all-elected panel.

Though she campaigned in support of an elected board, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has backed a hybrid approach that leaves her in control.

The last public iteration of a plan would create a 21-member board, 11 appointed by the mayor including the board president, and 10 elected members starting in 2023. The system would be evaluated in 2025 before a decision was made on whether to move ahead with an all-elected board in 2027. But it appears such a proposal doesn’t satisfy proponents of an all-elected board.

“We’ll have to get with the House and see what we think can pass both chambers,” state Sen. Rob Martwick, the Chicago Democrat who sponsored a bill to create a fully elected 21 member board, said early Tuesday.

The Senate President said that his chamber would either pass a compromise bill or approve the original elected school board bill. Neither happened.

* Hannah Meisel

Over the weekend, Democrats in the House narrowly approved a measure giving the Illinois State Police resources and abilities to clear the state’s massive backlog of Firearm Owner Identification Card applications, a long-running issue exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as gun ownership picked up and the ISP scrambled to figure out a socially distanced workflow. In March, the Illinois State Rifle Association filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to clear the queue.

But the proposal pushed by suburban House Democrats on Saturday includes mandatory fingerprinting for all Illinois gun owners — an approach Democrats in the Senate are not keen on. That legislation was held in the House even after its passage, rendering it unable to move to the Senate.

Instead, with just a few hours of regularly scheduled session to go on Sunday night, Democratic senators passed their competing bill that includes many of the same provisions as the House Democrats’ version, but without compulsory fingerprints for all FOID cardholders — a major sticking point for the influential Gun Violence Prevention PAC. Gun rights organizations, on the other hand, have made it clear they’ll file yet another suit if Gov. JB Pritzker signs a mandatory fingerprinting proposal into law.

Legislative records indicate the measure was being teed up for debate and passage Monday night but the bill was never called.

- Posted by Rich Miller


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