Representative Dan Swanson’s April 26 Capitol News Update


  • Teacher shortage, school safety legislation passes House
  • Thank you to our Capitol Police
  • Welcoming Carl Sandburg, Immaculate Conception students to the Capitol
  • Around the district

Teacher shortage, school safety legislation passes House

I was proud to support House Bill 4662, legislation which will take another step toward addressing our teacher shortage in Illinois.

While many of our school districts, especially in rural areas, have been struggling to find enough teachers in the past few years, state law makes it hard for retired teachers to help fill the gap, if they want to. These retired teachers would face negative impacts on their pensions and benefits if they returned to the classroom.

But a bill we passed last week would extend the sunset date of an existing program that makes it possible for these retired teachers to help out, if they so choose, without putting their benefits at risk. The sunset would be extended to 2029 if the Senate agrees and if the Governor signs the bill into law.

Another bill to protect retiree benefits for those helping our schools also passed when we supported House Bill 5174. This bill allows retired law enforcement officers to serve as school safety officers without endangering their retirement benefits.

Right now, retired law enforcement officers who work 600 hours a year or more can find themselves considered as full-time employees, which would cause their pension benefits to be suspended. Under the bill we passed, these retirees could work up to 999 hours in a year without losing benefits. The bill makes our schools safer and supports the law enforcement officers who step up to take on this important responsibility.

The bill passed unanimously and is now in the Senate.

Thank you to our Capitol Police

After a long week with several late nights, legislators went home for the weekend last Friday night. But the Illinois Capitol Police remained on duty, protecting our historic state Capitol building and all who visit it around the clock every day. On Sunday afternoon, the building had to be locked down for over an hour after receiving a threat. A similar incident occurred on Monday.

Police swept the complex and found the threat not to be credible before re-opening the building. Monday was the third time this spring that Capitol Police have had to lock down the Capitol complex, each time for what turned out not to be a credible threat.

Those of us who work in the Capitol, and the many tourists, school groups and others who visit the Capitol are very appreciative of the Capitol Police, their professionalism, and all they do to keep us safe each and every day.

Welcoming Carl Sandburg, Immaculate Conception students to the Capitol

Last week I was proud to have a group of students from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg visit us in the Capitol. These ten students have distinguished themselves through their work in the classroom and also in the community, serving senior citizens at events, putting together box lunches for seniors or helping individuals with their daily tasks.

Thanks to these students for visiting us and for all that they do for the Galesburg community.

I also had a nice visit with the 8th grade class from Immaculate Conception School in Monmouth as part of their trip to Springfield on Friday.

The students visited the Capitol along with the Lincoln Tomb and the Lincoln Presidential Museum. I always enjoy having students visit the Capitol and see legislation being debated and voted upon.

Around the district

After a long week in Springfield last week, it was great to get back home.

I had the pleasure of being a part of Blake Caulkins’ Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony. Blake’s grandfather was a classmate of mine at AlWood High School. Blake made great strides from Boy Scout to Eagle Scout.

He will graduate from Galesburg High School and plans on going into carpentry.

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