bills introduced for consideration this spring. Among them are a number of technical bills that continue to work their way through the legislative process and may later be amended. While a considerable number of bills remain in committee following the deadline for passage, there are several pieces of legislation that remain of interest to us that I would like to highlight briefly this morning. As you know, this is a time in which the status of bills changes very quickly. Placed before you this morning is an updated status report that includes summaries for all of the bills that we’re currently watching as well as their status as of yesterday morning.
“I would like to draw your attention to several bills relating to affordability concerns. Two bills – House Bill 1118 and Senate Bill 10, commonly referred to as the ‘truth in tuition’ bills – propose a four-year guaranteed tuition rate for first-time students at Illinois public universities. If enacted, these bills would implement statewide a tuition plan similar to that currently offered at Western Illinois University. The plans would go into effect beginning in fiscal year 2005. Many of you will recall Mr. Silas Purnell, who worked tirelessly for years to make higher education a reality for inner-city youth. House Bill 1119 proposes to change the name of the Illinois Incentive for Access Program to the Silas Purnell Access Grant in recognition of Mr. Purnell’s work. The bill also doubles the grant for the state’s neediest students, calling for a grant of $1,000. This bill passed out of the House late last week.
“House Bill 2329 as introduced proposed to increase the maximum Monetary Award Program grant consistent with this Board’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2004. Prior to passing out of the House late last week, the bill was amended and it now makes only a technical change. This is a consistent practice that was done with most bills that had monetary implications for this coming year.
“Bills concerning public university management issues continue to receive considerable attention. Senate Bill 89, which would require very detailed line item appropriations for the public universities, moved to Third Reading last Thursday without an amendment. A bill sponsored by Representative Granberg proposes an alternative approach that would implement a system of standard line items that was essentially used prior to fiscal year 1999. Representative Granberg’s bill passed out of the House with overwhelming support late last week. Governor Blagojevich, as you know, has expressed his interest in a return to line item budgeting, so there remains considerable discussion about the differences between these two bills as well as some alternative proposals.
“Legislation calling for public university tuition revenue being appropriated again continues to be held in the House Appropriations Committee, and legislation creating institutional governing boards for the two campuses within the Southern Illinois University system remains on Second Reading in the House.
“Senate Bill 1360, which is on Third Reading in the Senate, would recognize each of the campuses of the University of Illinois as individual entities for purposes of collective bargaining with academic faculty. Another bill concerning collective bargaining rights, this time for community colleges, is House Bill 1457 which has not passed out of the House. If enacted, this bill would permit faculty teaching one course to be among those individuals recognized as members of the bargaining unit. Among other bills pertaining to community colleges is House Bill 2279 which would allow community colleges to provide residential housing for students and faculty. This bill is being sponsored by Senator Rutherford in the Senate after being passed out of the House late last week.
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