August 10, 2020 Update

New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed SB471 (Lightford/Gordon-Booth) which amends the Public Employee Disability Act to create a temporary 60-day extension of paid disability leave if an employee is injured in the line of duty. The bill also enacts labor relations provisions for “racinos”. Finally, the bill increases charges from battery to aggravated battery if the battery occurs when a retailer or retail employee is giving public health directions during a public health emergency. This is the final bill to be signed from the 2020 spring legislative session.
COVID-19 Update: On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 13 counties in Illinois are at a warning level for COIVD-19. A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators increase. The counties currently at warning level are: Cass, Coles, Grundy, Iroquois, Jackson, Monroe, Perry, Saline, St. Clair, Tazewell, Union, Williamson, Winnebago.
COVID-19 continues to surge in Illinois. On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 2,084 new confirmed cases of the virus in Illinois, including 21 additional deaths. In total, IDPH is reporting 190,508 cases, including 7,613 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 31 – August 6 is 4.1%. As of Thursday, 1,486 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 333 patients were in the ICU and 125 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
The Illinois Department of Public Health filed a new emergency rule on Friday that would apply to businesses, schools, and child care establishments regarding the use of face coverings and the size of gatherings. Under the new rule:

  1. Businesses will be given a warning and encouraged to voluntarily comply with public health guidance.
  2. Businesses that do not voluntarily comply will be given an order to have some or all of their patrons leave the premises as needed to comply with public health guidance and reduce risks.
  3. If the business continues to refuse to comply, the business can receive a class A misdemeanor and be subject to a fine ranging from $75 to $2,500.

According to the Governor, these rules do not apply to individuals and penalties will not exceed a misdemeanor the above mentioned fine. Enforcement falls to local authorities. A full copy of the emergency rule is here.The emergency rule will be considered at a hearing on Tuesday before the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. While its fate is unknown, the rule faces significant opposition. Previous emergency rules regarding enforcement of public health guidelines during the pandemic were withdrawn in May following objections by legislators in both parties. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin has asked the Governor to abandon the rule and work with the Legislature on the issue. 
Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker appointed the following:·      Danielle Perry will serve as Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer.·      Tracey B. Fleming will serve as the Executive Director of the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
101st General Assembly:
The Senate Transportation will hold a virtual committee hearing on August 13th at 10:00 AM to accept testimony regarding transparency and equity in construction contracting at the Illinois Tollway Authority. The hearing will be conducted remotely via Zoom and be broadcast live on the General Assembly website. Members of the public may submit electronic testimony or electronic witness slips via the General Assembly website in advance of the hearing. More information is here.
Representative Flowers filed HB5817 which creates a list of nonfiction, fiction, and children’s books about racism that shall be required reading for students in every public elementary and secondary school beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. Requires that the instruction in the material presented by each book be age appropriate and taught at the appropriate grade level.
Representative Mazzochi filed HB5818 which amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may propose that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 feet (rather than 100 feet) of the proposed collocation. In provisions prohibiting an authority from requiring an application, approval, or permit or requiring any fees or other charges from a communications service provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way for the replacement of wireless facilities with wireless facilities that are substantially similar, clarifies when changes are not “substantially similar”. Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities. Adds provisions concerning radio frequency compliance.
Representative Welch filed HB5819 which creates the Illinois Amateur Sports Commission Act. Provides that the purpose of the Commission is to advise and to make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding the promotion, development, expansion, and fostering of amateur sports, amateur sports programs, and amateur sporting events throughout the State.