February 8, 2019 Update

Governor’s Highlights:

  • Under Executive Order 19-08 – the eighth that Governor Pritzker has signed – Illinois will invest in programs and services to end HIV epidemic. The order takes effect immediately. This includes prevention measures (discontinued by previous administration) that include: funding for increased HIV testing, PrEP, the African American HIV/AIDS Response Act and other public health initiatives. Also, people living with HIV along with their healthcare providers will be supported in achieving undetectable viral loads. The Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, in conjunction with the contracted Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MMCOs) have 90 days to deliver a report to the Governor containing a plan for the MMCOs to share data with the State in accordance with all laws and regulations governing health privacy. This will include a viral load metric in order for the State to monitor progress to ensure Illinoisans living with HIV have access to required healthcare to keep their viral loads at zero. 
  • $28.9 million in grants for 89 local projects were announced by the Governor’s office to help communities acquire open space and develop and improve recreational facilities throughout Illinois. The Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and will provide more than $28 million to support 87 projects. Two projects will be funded through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. When combined with local matching funds, the program will support more than $56 million in local park development projects and land acquisitions statewide. Grant programs can provide up to one-half of a project’s funds.
  • State of the State address will be combined with the Budget Address in a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, February 20.

101st General Assembly:
Both chambers stand adjourned following this week’s session. Tuesday, Feb. 12 is a State Holiday honoring President Lincoln’s birthday. The House will return to session on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The Senate is not in session next week. Friday, Feb. 15 is deadline to introduce legislation for consideration during the spring session. **Several hundred pieces of legislation are expected to be introduced in the next week.

  • Minimum wage hike is on a fast track. Democrat leaders and the Governor are working to pass a minimum wage hike before the Budget Address on Feb. 20. The bill (SB 1/Lightford) will phase in an increase to the minimum wage to $15 (currently $8.25) by January 1, 2025. For the first year only, employers with 50 or fewer employees will receive a 25 percent tax credit on the difference between pre-increase and post-increase wages. Then the credit drops by four percentage points every year until it reaches five percent and is then eventually phased out for most employers. The bill also includes a tip credit for restaurant employees. Economic and geographical differences are not currently addressed in this legislation. The bill passed the Senate 39-18 and now heads to the House for consideration.
  • Progressive income tax filed: Senator Harmon filed a constitutional amendment, SJRCA1 , to change the state’s constitution. The constitutional amendment does not detail specific tax rates that would be implemented, rather it allows for the state to impose a higher income tax rate on those who earn more. If voters approve the measure, rates would be established in statute. If passed by the General Assembly, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the November 2020 ballot.
  • Tobacco 21 advances: The Senate Public Health Committee approved legislation to raise the legal smoking age – SB21   (Morrison). Now heads to full Senate for consideration.

NEWLY FILED LEGISLATION OF INTEREST House Majority Leader Greg Harris, Senator Heather Steans, Representative Will Guzzardi and Senator Omar Aquino joined leaders with Fair Economy Illinois in Springfield to announce a People and Planet First Agenda for the new legislative session. The agenda includes: HB282 is a transparency bill giving Illinois residents the right to know whether an oil or gas well transects their property, possibly polluting drinking water. State Senator David Koehler (46) and State Rep. Robyn Gabel (18) are primary sponsors in their respective chambers.
HB2085/SB1115 revises offshore tax “sheltering” and is estimated to generate $318 million annually in revenue for the Illinois General Fund. Majority Leader Rep. Greg Harris (13) and State Senator Heather Steans (7) are primary sponsors in their respective chambers.
HB2079/SB1132 amends what proponents call the “Retailers’ Discount” tax break, to gain back $115 million in consumer-paid sales taxes retained by retailers. State Rep. Will Guzzardi (39) and State Senator Omar Aquino (2) are primary sponsors in their respective chambers.
Several bipartisan measures were introduced by Senator Landek and Representative Spain to consolidate local pension funds:
SB 1106/HB 1566: Consolidation into IMRF, with IMRF Formula for New Hires
Consolidates all downstate public safety pension funds into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) and requires the regular IMRF pension formula to apply to all newly hired public safety employees after a certain date. Local pension boards would be abolished following consolidation.
SB 1107/HB 1567: Consolidation into IMRF, with Retained Police and Firefighter Formulas
Consolidates all downstate public safety pension funds into IMRF. Allows for the benefit characteristics of these funds to stay the same, but be under the management and administration of IMRF. Local pension boards would be abolished following consolidation.
SB 1108/HB 1568: Consolidation with IMRF, for Investment Funds Only
Consolidates the investments (only) of all local pension funds by the transfer of assets and investment authority into IMRF and maintains local pension boards for each fund to administer pension determinations.
SB 1109/HB 1569: Consolidation Creating a Single Downstate Police Pension Fund
Consolidates all downstate police pension funds into a single downstate police pension fund. The fund would have one statewide board to carry out all aspects of the fund’s management, thereby eliminating the local pension boards.
SB 1110/HB 1570: Consolidation Creating a Single Downstate Firefighter Pension Fund
Consolidates all downstate firefighters pension funds into a single downstate firefighter pension fund. The fund would have one statewide board to carry out all aspects of the fund’s management, thereby eliminating the local pension boards.
SB 1111/HB 1571: Consolidation with IMRF, for Investment Funds Only, By City Council Action, Maintaining Local Pension Boards
Allows municipal officials to direct local pension fund board to transfer and consolidate its investment funds into a single statewide fund. Allows local pension boards to maintain all other authority, such as pension awards and disability determinations. Participating communities would see their property tax levies for pensions be exempted from the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).
SB 1112/HB 1572: Extend the Amortization Period and Reduce the Funded Ratio Target
Maintains all characteristics of each local pension fund (i.e., no consolidation), extends the amortization period from 2040 to 2050 and reduces required funding ratio target from 90% to 80%. Also directs a comprehensive study to examine costs and benefits of full consolidation.
Comptroller Mendoza is pushing two bills to increase Medicaid Managed Care transparency. HB 2117 /SB 1238 requires MCOs to publish provider payment information every quarter on their websites. The information posted would include:  

  • Total number of claims received by the MCO for that quarter; 
  • Number and amounts paid to providers;
  • When payments were made;
  • When claims for those payments were received; and 
  • When service the payment is for was rendered.

Key Session Dates:February 15- DEADLINE for introduction of Substantive Senate and House Bills.February 20- State of the State/Governor’s Budget Address.February 26- Consolidated Primary Election.March 22- DEADLINE for substantive Senate Bills out of Senate Committee.March 29 – DEADLINE for substantive House Bills out of House Committee.April 2- Consolidated Election.April 12- DEADLINE for third reading of Substantive Senate Bills and Substantive House Bills.May 10- DEADLINE for Substantive Bills out of Committee in 2nd chamber.May 24- DEADLINE for third reading of Substantive Bills in 2nd chamber.May 31- ADJOURNMENT.