August 13, 2021 Update

Governor’s Highlights:
New Laws: Governor Pritzker continues to sign new laws. View the latest here.
Family Leave Law: Governor Pritzker signed HB12 (Howard/Villivalam) which expands access to family and medical leave for educational support staff in school districts, public universities, and community colleges. View his press release here.
First Responders: The Governor signed a package of legislation aimed at protecting the physical and mental health of first responders. The legislation strengthens Scott’s Law to help keep first responders safe on the roads and improves mental health resources.
HB3656 (Hurley/Munoz) further clarifies a driver’s duty for how to respond to an emergency scene on the road, so that the protections of Scott’s Law can be wielded to their fullest extent. It also establishes the Move Over Early Warning Task Force, which will study how to use 21st century technology to better help drivers safely navigate an emergency zone. Findings are due to the General Assembly in early 2023. Finally, the legislation adds that it is a factor in aggravation if a person commits a Scott’s Law violation while using a handheld cell phone.SB1913 (Morrison/Yang Rohr) allows courts to order community service as a form of punishment for violating Scott’s Law, in addition to other penalties.
SB1575 (Marwick/LaPointe) requires the creation of an online resource page with a comprehensive collection of mental health resources specifically geared toward first responders. It will include crisis services, wellness, trauma information, nutrition, stress reduction, anxiety, depression, violence prevention, suicide prevention and substance use. The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health will lead the effort to build this resource, with a target launch date of January 2022.
COVID-19 Update: In Illinois, 89 of the state’s 102 counties now meet the CDC’s metrics for “high” transmission. The remaining 13 counties are considered areas of “substantial” transmission. The latest surge is fueled primarily by the highly contagious Delta variant. 
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,114 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 additional deaths. At present 1,608 individuals are hospitalized with the virus. The 7-day case positivity rate is 5.8%. As more employers, businesses and others are requiring proof of vaccination, the Illinois Department of Public Health created a new online immunization portal, Vax Verify, that will allow Illinois residents 18 years and older to confirm their COVID-19 vaccination record online. Vax Verify can be accessed here
AFSCME, the state’s largest employee union, opposes the new vaccine mandate for state employees who work in congregate facilities. In addition to opposing the mandate, AFSME promised to fight for continued COVID paid time off for workers who contract COVID — rather than requiring employees to use their own sick days. The union will negotiate the conditions of the new vaccine mandate with CMS and are prioritizing the paid time off as part of that negotiation process.
The Superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education wrote a letter to Illinois’ school superintendents outlining the enforcement of the mask mandate in schools. Her letter reiterates that the mask mandate has the force of law and individual districts do not have the authority to disregard the mandate. Read the letter here.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago joins a growing list of hospitals in Illinois that will require that all employees, students, contractors, badged vendors, and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, 2021.
Back to Business Grant Program: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the $250 million Back to Business (B2B) grant program to support the continued recovery of small businesses across Illinois. B2B will offer small businesses access to funds that can help offset losses due to COVID-19, bring back workers, and take continued steps to rebuild amid the fallout from the pandemic. More information is here.
Illinois Workers Pre-Apprenticeship Program: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is launching the new Illinois Works Pre-Apprenticeship Program which will leverage $10 million in state funds to provide additional training programs designed to boost diversity within the construction industry and building trades. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) released by the DCEO Illinois Works Office aims to expand access to training programs that will prepare residents for jobs in the trades – with plans to focus on reducing barriers to entry and increasing representation of women and people of color in these fields.More information is here.
Tourism Grants: The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity announced a new $10 million grant program aimed at revitalizing the tourism industry by bringing back new and returning tourism attractions and festivals. The Tourism Attractions and Festivals Grant program is made possible with support of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act. Tourism and festival businesses and entities can apply for grants of up to $1 million that may be used to establish and enhance tourism attractions or festivals planned for this year or next. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted with awards made quarterly.  The Department will have the ability to fund applications most closely aligned to eligibility criteria approved for immediate funding. The NOFO is here.  More information is here.
102nd General Assembly:
Senate Democrats indicated that they may return to session later this month to tackle clean energy legislation. There is still no deal between the stakeholders and Governor Pritzker is urging legislators to call his bill for a vote. Negotiations are ongoing. No word yet on plans for the House to return to session. 
The House Higher Education and the Appropriations Higher Education Committees will hold a subject matter hearing on August 23rd at 10:00 am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago to discuss trade schools. 
The Senate Criminal Law: Criminal Law- Clear Compliance Subcommittee will hold a subject hearing on August 25th at 10:00 am to discuss HB1975 (Mussman/Bennett). 
Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability July 2021 Report: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issued its July report which details the continued impact of the pandemic on Illinois’s casino industry as well as providing an update on the state’s revenue.The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reports that the adjusted gross receipts from Illinois’ 10 operating casinos fell 4.8% in FY 2021. That drop follows a 30% decline in FY 2020. Admissions to Illinois casinos fell by 23.3% in FY 2021, following a 29.6% drop in FY 2020. Combined over the last two fiscal years, AGR levels have fallen 33.4% and admissions have fallen 46%.  More information is here.
For the month of July, base general funds revenues fell $880 million overall, fueled primarily by the loss of $1.2 billion in income tax receipts related to last year’s delayed tax filing deadline. Much of this drop was offset by comparatively better sales tax receipting, combined with higher transfers into general funds and a strong month for federal sources.Gross person income taxes fell $1.151 billion, or $997 billion net. Gross corporate income taxes also fell $246 million or $198 million net. Insurance taxes dropped $62 million, corporate franchise taxes dropped $32 million, interest earnings fell $21 million, other sources fell $11 million, cigarette taxes dropped $ 5 million and public utility taxes dropped $1 million.
Sales tax receipts grew $154 million gross, or $166 million net. Estate taxes grew $17 million, liquor taxes grew $4 million and vehicle use tax posted a $1 million gain. With respect to transfers, overall transfers into GRF grew $82 million. Lottery transfers were down $15 million but that was offset by a $97 million in other miscellaneous transfers. Federal sources also grew by $177 million.