COVID-19 Update: On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,059 new confirmed cases of COVID0-19 in Illinois, including 32 additional deaths. In total, the Department is reporting 310,700 cases, including 8,910 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate from October 1st – October 7th is 3.7%. Within the past 24 hours, labs have reported 72,491 tests. As of Wednesday night, 1,755 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 392 patients were in the ICU and 163 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
As of Friday, October 2nd twenty-eight Illinois counties are considered to be at a warning level for COIVD-19 – Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fayette, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Massac, Monroe, Morgan, Pulaski, Putnam, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Wabash, Washington, and Winnebago.
Governor Pritzker issued two additional Executive Orders.·Executive Order 2020-56 – institutes public health restrictions and mitigations for Region 1 – which includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties, – for restaurants and bars, meetings and social events, gaming and casinos and for all workplaces, effective October 3, 2020. The order is in response to the region experiencing a consecutive three-day virus positivity rate above 8%.
· Executive Order 2020-57 – suspends the requirement that a medical or adult use cannabis cultivation center agent must have a completed background check when applying for an agent identification card. Also suspends the requirement that the Department must approve or deny an application for a medical or adult use cannabis cultivation center agent identification card within a certain amount of days.
Criminal Justice Reforms:
Governor Pritzker outlined seven guiding principles to reform and modernize the state’s criminal justice system. Pritzker prioritized criminal justice reform in his January State of the State Address, but the legislative agenda was sidelined when the pandemic hit and the General Assembly truncated the spring legislative session. The seven principles that will guide the discussion and proposal development are:
• End the use of the cash bail system and limit pretrial detention to only those who are a threat to public safety. • Modernize sentencing laws on theft and drug offenses and use a public health approach to address mental health and addiction.
• Reduce excessive lengths of stay in prison by providing pathways for people to earn opportunities for rehabilitation. • Prioritize rehabilitation and reduce the risk of recidivism by increasing access to housing and healthcare for returning residents. • Increase police accountability and transparency for police officers and police departments. • Update and strengthen statewide standards for use of force by police officers. • Improve interactions with police by decriminalizing minor non-violent offenses, improving police response to crowd control, and increasing language and disability access.
More information on the Governor’s announcement is here.
Graduated Income Tax Amendment:
In November, Illinois voters will decide if Illinois will change from a flat income tax to a graduated income tax. This week, the Illinois Policy Institute, along with three Cook County retirees, filed a lawsuit in Cook County Court alleging that the explanation of the proposed constitutional amendment and the arguments in favor of the amendment in an explanation to voters are misleading. Absentee and early voting have already begun in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Human Services is partnering with the Chicago Community Trust to launch a new grant program, the Healing Illinois initiative, in response to the racial disparities highlighted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Healing Illinois initiative will provide an opportunity for residents of communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to engage in meaningful dialogue.
IDHS is working with the Trust to distribute $4.5 million in state-funded grants to organizations statewide to facilitate racial healing activities. Healing Illinois grants will be awarded in two rounds. The application deadline for the first round is Oct. 14; the deadline for the final round is Oct. 30. Organizations can apply once, and all grant applicants must be a 501(c)(3) in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State and Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) certified. Organizations that are not GATA-certified, may be eligible to work with an intermediary. Healing Illinois has identified intermediaries across the state. Additional information on how to apply for grants is available here.
Grants will fund conversations to build understanding and empathy; activities that bring people together in person or virtually to connect and act together on a project or idea; activities designed to build or enhance knowledge; and racial healing circles, peace circles, or restorative justice activities.
101st General Assembly:
The House Special Investigating Committee will not meet until after the general election. Chairman Welch announced plans for the committee to reconvene on November 5th.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability published their September Briefing and Wagering in Illinois reports. View the reports here and here.
Hearings related to the four pillars of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Senate agenda to eliminate systemic racism continue. This week, the Senate Labor committee held a joint virtual hearing with the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee, the Senate Executive Committee and the Senate Financial Institutions Committee to discuss entrepreneurship and small business development. In addition, the Senate Public Health Committee held a joint virtual hearing with the Senate Human Services Committee to discuss social determinants and influencers of health and health disparities.
The Senate Higher Education Committee will hold a joint virtual hearing with the Senate Education Committee on October 14th at noon to discuss graduation requirements and mental health resources and recovery.
The Senate Criminal Law Committee and the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety have scheduled a series of joint virtual hearings: · October 13th at 1pm to discuss prison reform in the areas of diversion and re-entry programs; prison conditions; prison gerrymandering and mandatory supervised release reform. · October 20th at 1 pm to discuss bail reform and police reform, specifically abolishing monetary bail and alternatives to police response/co-responder models.· October 27th at 1pm to discuss police reform in the areas of body cameras, data collection and transparency, issues related to officer-involved shootings; residency requirements; and official misconduct.· November 5th at 1pm to discuss the Uniform Peace Officers’ Disciplinary Act, qualified immunity and officer liability.· November 10th at 1pm to discuss police reform in the areas of decertification and licensure. All hearings will be broadcast at www.ilga.gov and witness slips and testimony may be submitted electronically in advance of the hearings.
Key Dates:November 3rd: General ElectionNovember 17th -19th: Veto SessionDecember 1st – 3rd: Veto Session