In 2014, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) sponsored a bill (H.B. 4268) that would have provided transparency to the collective bargaining process between school districts and their union employees. The bill was co-sponsored by 3 of McHenry County’s representatives: Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), Dave McSweeney (R-Barrington) and Barb Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake). Notably absent from the list of McHenry County co-sponsors of the bill was Jack Franks (D-Marengo). The bill provided that:
“[O]nce an agreement is reached between a public or educational employer and its employees regarding all of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, the agreement shall be reduced to writing and published on the website of the public or educational employer…Requires the public or educational employer, not less than 14 days after publishing such an agreement, to hold an open public meeting on the ratification of that agreement.”
In its February 4, 2014 editorial, the Northwest Herald strongly endorsed passage of the bill.
It was all to no avail, however. After several amendments, the bill wound its way through various committees, but on March 8, 2014, was sent to the Rules Committee, where all good bills go to die, which it did when the House adjourned with no further action being taken.
Not to be deterred, Rep. Ives has re-introduced her bill (H.B. 3134) in the current session. At this point, she’s the only sponsor, but it must be hoped that as the bill works its way through the process, it’ll pick up the support of members who want to see transparency in the bargaining process. If you care about knowing what comes out of those closed door meetings before you have to pay for it, I urge you to click on your House member’s link above and contact your representative to voice your support for this bill.