Willis skips state schools committee vote on truancy
State Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Bensenville) was one of seven Democrats who purposely skipped a State House committee vote Wednesday on a measure that will eliminate all penalties for parents who allow their children to repeatedly skip school.
Instead, parents will “complete a parent education course or undergo family counseling,” paid for by the state. The measure passed, 15-8, with five committee members not voting.
Also skipping the vote were Rep. Andy Skoog (D-Peru), Rep. Kate Cloonen (D-Kankakee), Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park), Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg), Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Springfield) and Rep. Carol Sente (D-Buffalo Grove).
All face competitive elections this fall.
House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) routinely substitutes such lawmakers so they can avoid potentially controversial committee votes.
House Bill 4240, sponsored by Chicago Democrats Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago Auburn-Gresham) and Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago Austin), is popular in districts where truancy rates are higher, like Chicago’s, where 27 percent of students are “chronically truant,” according to the Illinois State Board of Education.
In contrast, in Bensenville School District 2, the truancy rate is 1.6 percent. In Addison School District 4, it is 4 percent and in DuPage High School District 88, 7.9 percent. Fenton High School District 100 has a 2.4 percent truancy rate.
Statewide, the average is 8.7 percent.
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Curriculum Policies Committee includes 28 members.
Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora)
Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Port Byron)
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch (D-Hillside)
Rep. Sonya M. Harper (D-Chicago)
Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Chicago)
Rep. Christian I. Mitchell (D-Chicago)
Rep. Elgie R. Sims (D-Chicago)
Rep. Mary E. Flowers (D-Chicago)- Substitute for Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago)
Rep. Patrick Verschoore (D-Rock Island)- Substitute for Cloonen
Rep. William Davis (D-East Hazel Crest)- Substitute for Conroy
Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago)- Substitute for Mussman
Rep. Eddie L. Jackson, Sr. (D-East St. Louis)- Substitute for Sente
Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago)- Substitute for Skoog
Rep. Frances Hurley (D-Chicago)-Substitute for Willis
Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago)- Substitute for Scherer
Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield)
Rep. Charles Meier (R-Highland)
Rep. Thomas M. Bennett (R-Pontiac)
Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem)
Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood)
Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Sycamore)
Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford)
Rep. Randy Frese (R-Quincy)
Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago)
Rep. Sheri Jesiel (R-Antioch)
Rep. Donald L. Moffitt (R-Galesburg)
Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove)
Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake)