GOVERNOR’S HIGHLIGHTS: Budget Update: Governor Pritzker signed a trio of bills to implement the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. The package includes the operating and capital budget (HB900), the budget implementation bill (HB4700), and the revenue package ( SB157). The Governor provides highlights of the budget here. Capital News offers more coverage here and here.
On Thursday, Moody’s once again upgraded Illinois’ credit rating. The rating’s agency credited Illinois “solid tax revenue growth over the past year” which they say expanded the state’s ability to rebuild financial reserves and increase payments toward unfunded liabilities. Moody’s noted that Illinois is “on track to close the current fiscal 2022 with its strongest fund balance in over a decade.” Moody’s also noted the state’s progress in repaying its debts, in addition to its increased pension contributions, as an indication of the state’s commitment to paying its pension debt.
Moody’s upgraded Illinois’ rating on its General Obligation bonds to Baa1 stable outlook from Baa2 stable outlook, and also upgraded Build Illinois sales tax bonds to Baa1 from Baa2 while maintaining their stable outlook. Moody’s affirmed the Baa3 rating and stable outlook on outstanding Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority bonds that are partially paid with state appropriations.
COVID-19 Update: To align with the ending of the enforcement of the federal mask mandate on public transportation following a federal court ruling, Governor Pritzker revised Illinois’ Covid mitigations, Executive Order 2022-11, lifting masking requirements for public transportation in the State of Illinois. As a result, masks will no longer be required on public transit, in public transit hubs, or in airports. Local municipalities retain the right to establish their own mitigations, including masking requirements on public transportation.
Election Update: As expected, Democratic State Senators Steve Landeck and Tony Munoz withdrew from their reelection campaign this week. Landeck’s former chief of staff and close associate, Mike Porfirio, filed petitions to run against Landeck on the last day of petition filing. Likewise, Munoz’s son-in-law Javier Loera Cervantes filed to run in Munoz’s district.
Yesterday, the Illinois State Board of Elections ruled that Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan has enough valid petition signatures to remain on the ballot. The Board also ruled that Republican Gubernatorial candidate Emily Johnson be removed from the ballot because of “fatally defective” petitions. The decision removes Johnson and the entire Trump supporting We Are The People Illinois! slate of candidates with whom she was running. The slate includes Johnson and her running mate Brett Mahlen, secretary of state candidate Michelle Turney, comptroller candidate Michael Kinney, treasurer candidate Patrice McDermand and U.S. Senate candidate MaryAnn Mahlen.
Constitutional Amendment: This Fall voters will consider amending the Illinois Constitution to provide that employees have the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively for the purpose of negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work. But on Thursday, the Liberty Justice Center and Illinois Policy Institute filed a complaint in Sangamon County Court on behalf of several Chicago Public Schools parents and members in the hopes of preventing the proposed amendment from ever appearing on the November ballot. NPR offers more on the lawsuit here.
Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults Program: The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services launched the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program to provide health care coverage to undocumented immigrant adults and certain legal permanent residents aged 55 to 64. Covered services include doctor and hospital visits, lab tests, physical and occupational therapy, mental health, substance abuse disorder services, dental and vision services, and prescription drugs. The Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program will expand further to include eligible adults aged 42 to 54, effective July 1.Individuals are eligible for coverage through this program if they meet these requirements:
- They are between the ages of 55-64.
- They are either an undocumented immigrant or a legal permanent resident of the United States for less than five years.
- Annual household income is at or below $18,754 for one person; $25,268 for two people. The income limit is equal to the ACA Adult program.
Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor made the following appointments:
· Patrick Devaney will serve as a Member of the Energy Transition Workforce Commission·
Michael Strautmanis will serve as a Member of the Illinois Finance Authority·
Jeffrey Mears will serve as a Member of the Labor Relations Board·
Brian Sullivan will serve as a Member of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission·
Rodger Heaton will serve as a Member of the Prisoner Review Board·
Robin Shoffner will serve as a Member of the Prisoner Review Board·
Roderick Bashir will serve as a Member of the Illinois Secure Savings Choice Board
Bird Flu: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources recommends the use of bird feeders and bird baths cease until May 31st to avoid further spread of the highly contagious bird flu. IDNR further recommends cleaning and rinsing bird feeders and baths with diluted beach solution, removing any bird seed at the base of bird feeders to discourage large gatherings of birds, and avoiding feeding wild birds in close proximity to domestic flocks.
102nd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
No word yet on the Fall Veto Session dates. The Illinois General Assembly remains adjourned until the call of the Senate President and House Speaker.