With the spring legislative session ending, hundreds of bills that passed the General Assembly now await the Governor’s signature before officially becoming law. Late last week, the Governor acted on more than 80 of those bills, many of which were initiatives of Senate Republicans. From addressing needs in the education field to helping victims of human trafficking, these new laws seek to improve the lives of Illinois citizens across the state.

Two notable measures that are now law seek to address the teacher shortage that many public schools are facing. House Bill 1297, carried by Senator Erica Harriss, provides teachers with the flexibility to move from the private sector into public schools with the ability to buy back two years of their time in the public retirement system. Senate Bill 1468, filed by Senator Tom Bennett, allows retired teachers to return to the classroom to cover temporary vacancies and serve as substitutes for 120 days or 600 hours in each school year.

Another new law seeks to help victims of human trafficking move forward and establish better lives for themselves. House Bill 2418, sponsored by Senator Erica Harriss, creates a pathway for them to expunge criminal records of crimes in which they were forced to take part.

Senate Bill 1115, filed by Senator Chapin Rose, allows university police to receive the same disability benefits as city police and provides them with benefits based upon 65 percent of their pay if injured in the line of duty.

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