Latest News

This week Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation that protects civil liberties and Second Amendment rights, while providing law enforcement and family with tools to temporarily remove firearms from unstable individuals who would use guns to harm themselves or others. Reick was one of the lead Republican negotiators of the bipartisan bill, and ensured that the final product preserved the rights of lawful gun owners and included due process for any individual who would have their guns temporarily seized.
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) joined Governor Bruce Rauner today for the signing of legislation that will help prevent people who are a threat to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing guns. HB 2354, which received bipartisan support in the House and Senate, was signed in Chicago at a ceremony attended by Democrat and Republican lawmakers and representatives from several branches of law enforcement. Reick was a Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

“The legislation signed into law today addresses the growing problem of unstable people using guns to cause harm, while also protecting gun owners’ rights,” said Reick. “The firearms restraining order bill that was sent to us by the Senate represented an extreme overreach into the civil liberties and Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners. It also lacked adequate due process for the individuals from whom firearms would be removed. I was pleased to work with the Chief sponsor of the bill to create language that helps remove guns from mentally unstable individuals without trampling on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Through HB 2354, family members or law enforcement can petition the court for an emergency firearms restraining order. There then must be a hearing as soon as possible but no later than 14 days requesting a six-month restraining order at which time the respondent will have the right to attend and respond. The standard of proof for an emergency order is probable cause that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing injury to themselves or others by owning or having access to firearms. If probable cause is found, the court will issue an emergency firearms restraining order and shall issue a warrant directing law enforcement to search the respondent’s property and seize his/her firearms. At that point, the Illinois State Police (ISP) will have the authority to suspend the respondent’s Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) Card and concealed carry license. 

If an emergency firearms order of protection is issued, the respondent is guaranteed the right to a full hearing, at which time it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a danger to him/herself or others. If the allegations are not proven at the full hearing, the record of the case is expunged, so as not to do any harm to an innocent respondent. Strict penalties are also written into the bill that provide for penalties of perjury for any individual who would falsely swear out a petition for a firearms restraining order.

“I believe this negotiated bill is the best of its kind in the nation,” said Reick. “It is already being viewed as a national model.”
At a recent joint meeting of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, a former Walter Payton College Preparatory student testified that the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) teacher who sexually abused her at school when she was 14 is now collecting a taxpayer-funded pension. Outraged by her testimony, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) has filed legislation that would strip teachers who molest school children of their public pensions.

“I was shocked to learn that there was no provision in Illinois law to take these child predators’ pensions away,” said Reick. “School is a place where students should feel safe, and we’ve learned of numerous instances where the teachers charged with protecting kids have actually been sexually abusing them. And this is not just limited to CPS. There are cases right here in McHenry and Kane Counties alleging sexual misconduct by teachers toward students. It’s sickening.”

HB 5929, filed July 9 in Springfield, would amend the Chicago and Downstate Articles of the Pension Code to allow the forfeiture of pension benefits of any teacher who is found through an administrative hearing to have sexually abused a student. “This legislation puts Illinois teachers on notice that when they sign up for a public pension, they do so knowing that the benefit will be taken away if they violate a child,” Reick said. “It’s a real shame that we even need to legislate this. In the case of former Walter Payton College Prep student Morgan Aranda, it’s as though her abuser was rewarded for his despicable acts.”

While Reick said he would have preferred to write legislation that would retroactively remove pensions from child abusers, the pension guarantee written into the Illinois Constitution prohibits it. His bill would apply to any teacher hired after the effective date of the bill. Reick expects wide, bipartisan support of his legislation and hopes it will be heard during the legislature’s upcoming fall veto session. If passed and signed into law, the provisions of HB 5929 would take effect immediately.
Legislation championed by State Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) that will help ease Illinois’ teacher shortage has been signed into law. HB 5627 (now Public Act 100-0596), for which Reick served as Chief Co-Sponsor, removes red tape that is keeping well-trained educators out of Illinois classrooms.

“This is common sense legislation that ensures that quality teachers are in Illinois classrooms,” said Reick. “My office was working with a retired teacher from Woodstock who was named one of the top ten educators in the state during his tenure. This individual found the process to become a substitute teacher to be tedious and extremely expensive. I was pleased to help pass legislation that addressed this and other issues that have made it difficult for schools to find and retain an excellent workforce.”

According to Reick, the new law provides for the following:
  • Full reciprocity of out-of-state applicants for an Illinois Professional Educator License, which would allow out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois without meeting additional requirements 
  • Makes numerous changes to the Substitute Teaching License law to ease the process for out-of-state licensed teachers and retired teachers with lapsed licenses to work as substitute teachers 
  • Eases requirements for the timing of completion of professional development 
  • Retired educators could work in school districts through June 30, 2020 a total of 120 paid days or 600 paid hours each school year without infringing on earned pension benefits 
  • A short-term substitute teaching license would be established for individuals who hold an associate’s degree or have earned at least 60 hours toward a degree from an accredited institution of higher education 
“These are excellent changes that should ease the process for those who would like to teach in Illinois schools,” said Reick. “The standards remain high for the caliber of individual we would entrust to our public school classrooms, but much of the red tape and expense is removed.”

The provisions of the new law took effect on July 1.
A recent Chicago Tribune investigative report uncovered 523 cases of sexual violence committed against students who attended Chicago Public Schools (CPS) between 2008-2017. In many instances, school officials who were required by law to report the suspected or alleged abuse, failed to do so. Today, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) filed legislation that would provide for the immediate suspension or revocation of the license of any Illinois educator or other school district employee who negligently fails to report an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect.

While the statutes already provide for dismissal of a school employee who willfully fails to report suspected abuse, through HB 5923, acts of negligent failure to report would be added to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.

“In cases when abuse is suspected in a school, teachers and other employees are mandatory reporters,” said Reick, who sits on the Illinois House of Representative’s Elementary & Secondary Education- Curriculum & Policies Committee. “Current laws only provide a path for removal of those who willfully make a choice not to report suspected abuse. My bill expands the ability to remove an employee to also include those displaying simple negligence. Whether the failure to report is willful or not, it is inexcusable, and school boards need broad tools at their disposal to dismiss those who fail to fulfill their responsibilities as mandatory reporters.”

During a June 20 joint hearing before the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, Reick asked Stephanie Jones, General Council for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), if adding “negligent failure to report” to the list of reasons why an employee could have their license suspended or revoked would be beneficial. Jones said it would be extremely helpful.

“We don’t want these child predators to get off the hook due to a technicality,” Reick said. “Failure to report is a criminal offense, and this complete failure to protect the children in their care should lead to an immediate suspension or firing. I have no doubt that these horrific crimes against children are not limited to CPS. My bill would grant broader dismissal authority statewide when mandatory reporting requirements are ignored.”

Reick expects the bill to be heard during the November veto session. If approved and signed, its provisions would take effect immediately.
Today in Chicago, a joint committee of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees began gathering information and testimony about ongoing instances of sexual abuse against students who attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The subject matter hearing was prompted by a recent Chicago Tribune investigative report that unveiled 523 instances of sexual abuse against CPS students over the last ten years.

State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), who sits on the House K-12 Education- Curriculum and Policies Committee, grilled representatives from CPS about ongoing abuse that has been highlighted in newspaper articles that span more than 30 years, and the lack of corrective measures that have been implemented. “I am outraged,” said Reick. “Not by the fact that we don’t have the policies and procedures in place, but by the fact that your people, and people going back 32 years, did nothing. You shoved it under the rug. You took those young ladies and told them that ‘it’s your fault.’ You let those teachers resign instead of holding them accountable and taking away their pensions.”

Reick went on to say, “I want to see in any piece of legislation that comes out of this that anybody who is accused of doing this and there’s any reason to suspect that they actually did it, those people are going to lose their pensions if I have anything to say about it.”

Committee members heard from several panels during the 6 1/2-hour hearing. The first to testify was a panel of two victims of sexual abuse from CPS teachers. Lawmakers also heard testimony from CPS, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

In questioning an attorney for CPS, Reick said, “I cannot believe that (CPS schools CEO) Janice Jackson is not sitting there right here, right now taking responsibility for her part in this because she’s been in CPS for a long time,” Reick said. “I cannot believe that the people who have been in CPS all these years haven’t known what’s going on.”

The joint committee chairs said their goal is to use the testimony to help craft new public policy to improve protections for students, and strengthen accountability measures within school districts where sexual abuse charges are brought forward by students or families. Click here to watch a segment of Reick’s questioning of CPS representatives.