Eight for ‘18
One of Sen. Schimpf’s Eight for ’18 agenda items has passed the Illinois Senate and is now awaiting further action in the House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 2658 allows active duty military and their spouses to acquire provisional educator endorsements for up to three years when they already possess a teaching license in another state and are present in Illinois on military orders.
“By recognizing the teaching certificates that they already have, this bill makes it more likely that military members and their spouses will be willing to take teaching jobs in Illinois,” Schimpf said. “This bill both addresses our teacher shortage and gives military families a reason to stay in Illinois.”
Opposition to New Tax Proposal
Sen. Schimpf also went on the record against proposals to shift Illinois to a graduated income tax system, by cosponsoring Senate Resolution 1590.
“We need to assure families that there are people in Springfield fighting to keep their taxes as low and as consistent as possible,” said Schimpf. “It is ridiculous that some politicians are pushing for new taxes when not even a year has gone by since last summer’s massive tax hike.”
The Illinois Constitution requires a flat income tax, meaning all earners pay an equal percentage of their income to the state. A Constitutional amendment would be needed to allow for a graduated income tax. This would allow the state to set different rates for different levels of income.
Currently, there are several proposed amendments to the Illinois Constitution making their way through the General Assembly that, if passed with a supermajority, would send the question to the ballot box for voters to decide.
Sen. Schimpf is also cosponsoring a proposal to amend the Finance Article of the Illinois Constitution in order to introduce spending caps. Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 21 provides that in no fiscal year shall the rate of growth of General Revenue Fund (GRF) appropriations over the preceding fiscal year exceed the rate of growth of the Illinois economy.
The amendment also provides that if the General Assembly by adoption of a resolution approved by a record vote of a majority of the members of each house finds that an emergency exists and identifies the nature of the emergency, the General Assembly may provide for appropriations in excess of the amount authorized. It goes on to say that the authorized excess amount may not exceed the amount specified in the resolution.
SIU System Lobby Day at the Capitol
Wednesday, April 18, marked SIU Lobby Day at the Capitol. Sen. Schimpf met with students and faculty from the Southern Illinois University system. The SIU system has received recent news coverage on both the rejection by the SIU Board of Trustees of a proposal to transfer of $5.1 million from Carbondale to Edwardsville and from legislation that would split the two universities into separate systems.
“At this time, I believe both universities are better positioned to compete in an increasingly difficult higher education environment when they remain part of a combined system,” Schimpf said. “If we were to separate them, it should only be done through an exhaustive study that carefully examines what is in the best interest of both campuses. The assessment would need to be conducted transparently and in a fair manner.”
IDOC Opens Murphysboro Life-skills Re-Entry Center
The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has opened the Life-Skills Re-entry Center in Murphysboro. The institution is aimed at helping offenders learn skills that will be critical to their success upon release. Offenders who have one to four years left on their sentence qualify for placement.
The first 20 offenders were transferred to the center on Monday, April 16. They will go through an orientation process and get acclimated to the new facility before starting educational, job readiness, and cognitive behavioral therapy courses. They will also learn skills that help them readjust to society—like how to manage a bank account, use the latest technology, and schedule medical appointments.
“This center is working to help offenders build better lives and stronger futures for their families,” said Schimpf. “It will also help the local economy as well as offer job stability for those who work there.”
Sen. Schimpf had the privilege of welcoming several students to the State House this week. The students hailed from Randolph and Jefferson Counties.
Zak Knop and Noah Valleroy from Steeleville High School visited on Wednesday, April 18, and Rachel Beckham and Chase Hollenkamp served as Honorary Pages for the Day in Springfield at the State Capitol on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Both students attend Woodlawn High School. Rachel is in 11th grade while Chase is a 10th grader.
The Honorary Page for a Day Program gives high school students from the Senate District the chance to learn about the legislative process and interact with lawmakers during Legislative Session and in committee hearings. They experience first-hand what it is like to be a legislator on the Illinois Senate Floor.
High school students who are interested in the program should contact Sen. Schimpf’s Mt. Vernon office at 618-242-8115.