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CHICAGO – Mayor Lightfoot met with the Black Caucus on Tuesday in hopes of convincing the group to hold off on voting for an elected Chicago Public Schools Board. The bill, which was already expected to pass, cleared the Illinois House 70-41.

The bill, which passed the state Senate, is expected to be signed by Governor JB Pritzker once it gets to his desk. A procedural hold has been issued, meaning that the bill is not yet headed to Pritzker’s desk.

Under the plan, the CPS board would grow from 7 to 21 members. In 2024, voters would pick 10 members and the mayor would appoint 11 people to a hybrid board which would begin in 2025.

Come 2026, voters would then pick the remaining members before the fully elected board is established in 2027. 

Chicago remains the lone locality in Illinois without an elected school board, but Mayor Lightfoot remains firm in her opposition to one. Among Lightfoot’ss concerns – the costs of school board races.

The legislation also includes a moratorium on school closures.

Another action at the Capitol on Wednesday saw the House send Governor JB Pritzker gun legislation, which mandates background checks for all gun sales, removes guns from people with revoked Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards and makes fingerprinting optional for FOID cardholders.  

Before the vote, however, a spirited debate.

“It is a public safety piece of legislation because the first time in Illinois, we’re going to have background checks on all gun transfers,” said State Rep. Jay Hoffman-(D-Belleville).

“I think some people would say that there are some good aspects to this, but I see a lot of bad aspects, and I cannot be supporting it,” said State Rep. Randy Frese (R-Quincy).

“This bill has been called a fix the FOID bill. It’s not going to fix the outstanding problems that people are experiencing when it comes to getting their FOID cards,” said State Rep. Deanne M. Mazzochi (R-Westmont).

Despite some opposition, the bill, which would allow gun owners to carry electronic FOID cards, easily passed 75 to 40.

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