04212021CM0185SPRINGFIELD – Veterans and active service members would be able to use social media to connect with their colleges’ support networks under legislation from State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when deans and administrators can be harder to reach, it’s difficult for students to know about all the resources available to them,” Murphy said. “Social media could be instrumental in helping schools get the word out to the veterans and service members in their communities.”

Currently, public colleges and universities must designate one employee to coordinate services for veteran and active military students. The employee’s contact information and a brief summary of their services must be available on the campus’ homepage and promotional mailings for student applications.

Murphy’s measure would require the information to be available on the institution’s social media accounts as well.

“The stress of college can take its toll on students, and especially those with the added weight of serving or having served in the military,” said Murphy. “We must make it as quick and easy as possible for these students to get the support they need.”

Murphy introduced a similar measure last year, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support in March 2020 but was tabled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 641 passed the Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House.

03162021CM0114SPRINGFIELD – To clarify and streamline the annexation process for Elk Grove Village and other local governments across Illinois, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) sponsored legislation to protect and strengthen municipalities’ rights to annex surrounding properties.

“Current laws and recent rulings surrounding annexation have complicated the process and opened local governments up to lawsuits,” Murphy said. “This legislation more clearly outlines the requirements municipalities must follow to annex property legally.”

In 2018, an appellate court in Will County rendered an annexation invalid, even though the annexation appeared to meet all statutory requirements. The ambiguity of this decision has caused problems for municipalities in other areas of the state, including Elk Grove Village in the district Murphy represents, where some property owners have attempted to legally challenge previous annexations meeting all statutory requirements in order to block future annexations.

To resolve this confusion and more clearly define the factors that determine an annexation’s validity, Murphy’s legislation would create clear statutory requirements for municipalities seeking annexation.

“The statutory requirements in place are meant to ensure an annexation decision is in the best interests of the community,” Murphy said. “It’s important that they are clear and concrete, so municipalities can follow them as intended.”

Senate Bill 658 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now heads to the full Senate.

04202021CM0120SPRINGFIELD – To prevent images and videos of children—including elementary and special education students—from falling into the wrong hands, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) has sponsored legislation to remove the video recording requirement from the Illinois edTPA teacher licensing assessment.

“Recording devices can be stolen, accounts can be hacked, and images and videos can end up on the internet without authorization, putting our children at risk,” Murphy said. “Illinois is one of just a handful of states that require this unnecessary step for licensure—there are other ways to assess a student teacher’s performance that don’t threaten kids’ privacy.”

The legislation would establish student teachers cannot be required to videotape themselves or their students in order to earn a license.

Currently, student teachers in Illinois must record themselves and their students on video to pass the edTPA, an assessment required for their teaching license. The video is then uploaded and sent to a third party vendor for evaluation. The edTPA requires just two short segments of video, but student teachers are encouraged to record hours of footage to choose from.

The legislation would still allow teacher education programs to videotape for in-house teaching purposes, and licensed teachers and administrators could still film students in order to gain National Board Certification or for training, sporting events or promotional purposes.

“Images and videos are vulnerable to attack, especially those that are uploaded and sent to third parties,” Murphy said. “With cybersecurity threats on the rise, it’s critical that we take steps to protect our children’s privacy.”

Senate Bill 808 passed the Senate Education Committee Tuesday and now heads to the full Senate.

04132021CM0574SPRINGFIELD – More Illinoisans could qualify for two state property tax relief programs under legislation from State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) to raise the maximum income limitations for the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral and the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption.

“As many households recover from the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic, it’s critical that we offer a hand however we can,” Murphy said. “These programs already provide relief to older residents across the state—it’s time to bump up the income thresholds and allow more people to benefit.”

Starting this year, Murphy’s measure would raise the maximum income limitation for the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption from $65,000 to $75,000 for Illinoisans 65 and older living outside Cook County. Starting next year, the new, higher limit would apply statewide.

The legislation would also raise the income limit for the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act, bringing it in line with the homestead exemption to simplify the process for low- and moderate-income older residents seeking relief.

“The Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral and the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption aim to help the same groups of Illinoisans. It makes sense that if you’re eligible for one program, you should be eligible for the other,” Murphy said.

Senate Bill 2244 passed the Senate Revenue Committee Wednesday and now heads to the Senate for a vote.

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Office Info

Springfield Office:
108E Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3875

District Office:

1645 South River Road, Suite 7
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
 (847) 718-1110