April 15, 2022 Update

GOVERNOR’S HIGHLIGHTS: Governor Pritzker joined Democratic legislators this week to highlight the FY 23 budget’s investment in youth development programs. Read more about youth development funding here. Housing Assistance: Homeowners who have fallen behind on monthly mortgage payments and/or related housing expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for financial assistance through the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund.  Struggling homeowners will be eligible for up to $30,000 in free assistance to pay past due mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, and delinquent homeowner and/or condo association fees. Homeowners in need of assistance can find more information on program eligibility and begin an application at www.illinoishousinghelp.org. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

Broadband: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the second cohort of the Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program. Through Broadband READY, five regional entities have been selected to receive a total of $250,000 to support planning, research, and data collection as they work to eliminate the digital divide.  Broadband READY grants empower regions to explore opportunities for equitable advances in the areas of broadband access, adoption, and utilization. Each grantee will create deliverables that provide a comprehensive assessment of the broadband landscape in their respective region, which will guide program integration and resource investment to close gaps in broadband equity and inclusion. Five institutions were each awarded $50,000 to conduct research and outreach on digital equity:·       

 Bloomington-Normal EDC (North Central Region)·        

Chicago State University (Northeast Region)·        

Northern Illinois University (Northwest Region)·       

 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Southwest Region)·        

Western Illinois University (West Central Region)

COVID-19 Update: On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued a warning that COVID-19 case rates are slowly rising in many areas of the state and cautioned the public to pay close attention to conditions in their local communities and stay up-to-date on their vaccinations.The Illinois Department of Public Health adopted new federal guidelines for tracking COVID-19 at the community level. The new CDC guidelines emphasize the case rate and hospitalizations in order to better track the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities. As a result of these new guidelines, testing providers will no longer be required to report some negative tests and IDPH will therefore no longer report test and case positivity.
In addition to adopting new CDC guidelines, IDPH is bolstering the data on its COVID-19 dashboard to provide additional information to help communities respond to changes in the course of the virus.
Among the new data that has been or will be shared on the IDPH COVID-19 dashboard are:
• Updated data on vaccination rates to reflect the full population eligible as eligibility continues to evolve.• The number of people admitted to the hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis.• More detailed data on hospitalizations, including information about vaccination status in those who are hospitalized.
102nd Illinois General Assembly:
Following a marathon week of session last week, the Illinois General Assembly stands adjourned to the call of the Senate President and Speaker of the House. In total, the General Assembly passed 407 bills (231 House Bills/176 Senate Bills) during the 2022 spring session. The chamber of origin has 30 days from the date of passage to advance bills to the Governor’s desk. The Governor has 60 days to act on the legislation once it reaches his desk. If he fails to act within that time frame, the legislation will automatically become law. 
The dates for the fall Veto Session are not yet set. Traditionally, both chambers release their fall veto session calendars at the conclusion of the spring session, but leaders broke with that tradition this year. We will continue to monitor for its release, but expect veto session to occur after the November 8th General Election. 
Both the budget (HB0900) and the budget implementation Bill (HB4700) have officially been forwarded to the Governor’s desk. 
The House Tourism Committee will hold a hearing on April 20, 2000 at 1:00 pm to discuss the Ticket Sale and Resale Act and HB5444 (Zalewski).