April 23, 2021 Update


 The Illinois General Assembly was in session Tuesday through Friday of this week considering legislation for final passage. But despite the legislature’s long days — with sessions and committees running late into the night — many legislators did not have enough time to finish negotiating final language on their bills. The result is an unusually large number of bills that passed out of both chambers with sponsors promising continued work on their bills in the opposite chamber. Today is the deadline to pass substantive legislation out of the chamber of origin. It is likely that deadlines may be extended on some legislation on a case-by-case basis.
The Illinois House unanimously approved legislationHB 642 (DeLuca), which imposes leadership term limits for the legislative leaders. Under the bill, the Speaker of the House, Senate President and Minority Leaders in both chambers would be limited to serving 10 consecutive years in their leadership position. HB 642 heads to the Senate.  
The Senate Ethics Committee approved an amendment to SB 4 (Gillespie) which represents an omnibus ethics bill. Many of the bill’s provisions were debated, but not approved, during the January lame duck session. The amendment makes several changes to ethics laws including: streamlining statements of economic interest, prohibiting members of the General Assembly from lobbying other entities of government, allowing the Legislative Inspector General to open an investigation without approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, prorating the salaries of members of the General Assembly and making the provisions of the Lobbyist Registration Act applicable to municipalities and counties. The amendment is now pending adoption by the full Senate.  The Illinois House unanimously approved legislation to reform the practice of prior authorization in Illinois HB 711 (Harris). Amendments were adopted to remove opposition. HB 711 now heads to the Senate.  
The Illinois Senate unanimously approved SB 1360 (Fowler) which requires evidence of a project labor agreement in the license application process for the Southern Illinois casino. SB 1360 heads to the House for consideration.
The Illinois House approved HB 2379 (Walsh) which extends the Small Cell Wireless statute. The sponsor indicated that negotiations on the bill will continue in the Senate. HB 2379 heads to the Senate for consideration.  
The Illinois House approved HB 653 (Avelar) which increases the fees for permitted facilities accepting clean construction debris or uncontaminated soil. The increased fees are targeted towards inspection efforts. The legislation, as amended, represents an agreement with stakeholders in an effort to protect soil and groundwater. HB 653 heads to the Senate.
HB 2775 (Ford) narrowly passed the House by a vote of 62-48-2. The bill creates additional legal defenses for renters, provides protections against discrimination based on source of income, and prevents renters from being subjected to certain administrative requirements when applying for housing assistance. Under the bill, protected sources of income include various types of income including emergency housing assistance, social security, disability support, and federal Section 8 housing vouchers. HB 2775 heads to the Senate for consideration.
The Senate Executive Committee approved HB 2877 (Ramirez/Aquino) which creates the COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act. The bill makes several changes including: the sealing of a court file in a residential eviction action; emergency sealing of a court file in a residential eviction action during the COVID-19 emergency and economic recovery period; and a temporary COVID-19 stay of certain foreclosure proceedings and filing. HB 2877 is now pending before the full Senate.
The House Housing Committee approved an amendment to HB 116 (Guzzardi) which would allow local governments to opt out of the Rent Control ban by passing a binding referendum. HB 116 is pending before the full House. 
The Illinois House approved HB 3739 (Robinson) which creates the Lead Services Line Replacement Act to replace and eliminate lead services lines. Critics of the measure focused on the cost of the legislation and who will pay for the replacement of the lead lines. The sponsor promised to continue working on the legislation in the Senate.  HB 3739 now heads to the Senate.
The Illinois Senate approved SB 820 (Lightford) which is a trailer bill to the Black Caucus education and workforce development pillar passed during the lame duck session. SB 820 moves to the House for consideration. 
The Illinois House approved HB 2553 (Williams) which creates the Protecting Household Privacy Act which places parameters on the collection and use of household electronic data by law enforcement. HB 2553 now heads the Senate. 
The Illinois Senate unanimously approved HB 2746 (Stuart) creating the Know Before You Owe Act to stop unnecessary borrowing on behalf of students enrolled in institutions of higher education. The sponsor noted that an amendment is being drafted for adoption in the Senate which represents an agreement with the Community Bankers Association of Illinois and the Attorney General’s Office. HB 2746 heads to the Senate for consideration.
The House Executive Committee will hold a hearing on April 30th at 10 a.m. to discuss pending cannabis proposals. Amendments to address social equity in cannabis licenses were filed to HB 1443 (Ford). The amendments are pending before the House Executive Committee.
The House Executive Committee will hold a hearing on April 28th at 9:30 a.m. and April 30th at 10 a.m. in virtual room 1 to discuss various gaming proposals pending before thecommittee. Also note, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released the RFP for the Chicago casino. The RFP can be found here. 


 Today, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that the state had 3,369 new cases of COVID-19, including 22 additional deaths. As of Thursday evening, Illinois hospitals had 2,112 patients with COVID, of which 506 patients were in the ICU and 230 were on ventilators. Overall, the preliminary seven-day case positivity rate is 3.6% across the state. 
With respect to COVID vaccines, Illinois has a total of 10,802,0755 doses; 8,610,478 have been administered. Taken as a rolling seven-day average, Illinois administers 118,741 doses daily. For April 22, the state reported 136,525 vaccines being given. 
A total of four COVID-19 variants have been discovered so far in Illinois — 1,286 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant; 106 cases of the B.1.427/B.1.429 variant; 367 cases of the P.1 variant; and 21 cases of the B.1.351 variant.
Illinois community colleges will offer the University of Illinois’ saliva-based COVID-19 test at no cost to their own students and staff as well as any state resident who wants one. There are currently five active SHIELD Illinois community college testing sites – Black Hawk College, Heartland Community College, Lincoln Land Community College, Oakton Community College, and Sauk Valley Community College – with more expected to come online soon.
DePaul University and Loyola University, both located in Chicago, announced they will require all students to have a COVID-19 vaccine for attendance in the Fall of 2021.  Vaccine availability continues to expand in Illinois. This week, Chicago joined the rest of the state in making the COVID vaccine available to anyone over the age of 16. Starting today, all Chicago mass vaccination sites are accepting walk-ins. 
In an attempt to reverse concerning COVID-19 trends, state support is being directed to various counties via the Rural Vaccination program and Rapid Response vaccination teams. The rural counties have shown an uptick in case numbers and hospitalizations. In total, eight counties are slated to receive more vaccine assistance from the state: Boone, Carroll, Fayette, Jefferson, Marion, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside. 

Early Childhood Education: Governor JB Pritzker announced $1.6 billion in federal aid — including $140 million in direct grants for child care providers — is being allocated to expand access to early childhood education and child care for children and families in Illinois. A new network of statewide early childhood planning councils — tasked with ensuring all communities have access to the early childhood services they need — is also being created. Working with Northern Illinois University, the Early Childhood Transformation Team will help implement recommendations from the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding Commission and a network of local councils (with the latter representing children, families, providers, and communities). In addition, the new Division of Early Childhood in the Illinois Department of Human Services will strengthen and centralize the state’s existing childcare, home visiting and early intervention services within the agency.
Executive Orders:

 Executive Order 2021-07 Temporarily suspends, until June 30,2021, two provisions of the Illinois Energy Assistance Act. The order expands the use of available emergency relief dollars for Illinois utility customers currently at risk of service disconnections following the end of the winter moratorium, and maximizes the number of households eligible for relief.
Executive Order 2021-08 Ensures future vehicles purchased or leased by the State of Illinois will be low-emission and zero-emission vehicles. The order establishes the State Fleet Working Group to lead the effort and encourage the use of electric vehicles. The Department of Central Management Services (CMS) will develop a plan to install electric vehicle chargers on State property for employees and public-use. Directs the Illinois State Board of Education to collaborate with the Department of Transportation and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop tools and provide information to assist school districts in assessing the benefits and costs of zero emission bus options when replacing school buses.The Governor’s press release is here.

Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker made the following appointments:
·        Gary Johnson will Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board,·        Dr. Sekile M. Nzinga will serve as Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of the Governor. COGFA March Report:  Three main aspects were addressed in the March report of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability: the FY 2022 State Employees Group Insurance Plan Summary; the March 2021 bond sale; and a FY2021 revenue update. A copy of the full report is here.

Keying in on the revenue update, the report notes that March base general funds grew by $422 million – bolstered by personal and corporate income taxes and vibrant sales tax revenues. Those encouraging performances were muted, however, by weaker than normal federal revenue sources and lower transfers. Looking at some specifics: the Cook County IGT was up $94 million; inheritance taxes climbed by $58 million; corporate franchise taxes saw a boost of $33 million; an uptick of $31 million was seen in insurance taxes; public utility taxes increased by $2 million; and a $1 million jump was seen in both liquor taxes and vehicle use taxes.  March downturns did occur though. Cigarette taxes fell by $15 million; other sources decreased by $31 million; and interest income dropped by $4 million. Also adding to the month’s woes were a drop of $36 million in the transfers into the state’s general funds and a $42 million decline in other miscellaneous transfers (thus quickly offsetting the $10 million increase in Lottery transfers). Also offering up a disappointing performance was the sale of the 10th casino license (off by $4 million). The southward trend continued in federal source revenues, down $73 million.