Legislative Update -- January 14, 2021
January 14, 2021
The legislative leadership world seems turned on its head this week, with a first-time-in-history second impeachment of a sitting U.S. President, and the stunning news here in Illinois that Speaker of the House Michael Madigan was suspending his campaign to remain such, followed shortly by the election of Representative Chris Welch to the position. Representative Welch is the first African American to hold this position in Illinois.
In Springfield, the final session of the 101st General Assembly wrapped this week, with the 102nd General Assembly inaugurated on January 13. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus multi-pillar agenda was the primary focus of the 101st Assembly’s closing days. Below are a few high-level points about what was passed that will affect libraries and library operations. As we continue to analyze the bills, we will share further information.
Contained within Senate Bill 1480 are new requirements prohibiting employers from not hiring a person solely because one has a previous conviction record or other factors, and provides for procedural steps when an employer does not offer employment to a job applicant solely because of one’s criminal record.
Found within the comprehensive education package, House Bill 2170, is language establishing the Inclusive American History Commission, which is created to “provide assistance to the State Board of Education in revising its social science learning standards.” The commission will be charged with the following:
- Reviewing available resources for use in school districts that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our state and nation;
- Providing guidance for each learning standard developed for educators on how to ensure that instruction and content are not biased to value specific cultures, time periods, and experiences over other cultures, time periods, and experiences; and
- Developing guidance, tools, and support for professional learning on how to locate and utilize resources for non-dominant cultural narratives and sources of historical information.
In a key victory for librarianship, one of the 22 commission members will be a person who represents a statewide organization representing school librarians appointed by the State Superintendent of Education. These bills will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.