New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed numerous bills into law this week. More on the laws is here, here, here, here, and here. There is only one bill remaining on the Governor’s desk and he is scheduled to sign that legislation later this morning.
Vetoes: Governor Pritzker Vetoed the following legislation:
· SB76 removes the moratorium on new construction of nuclear power plants to allow for the construction of both advanced and traditional large-scale nuclear reactors in Illinois.
From the Veto Message: The bill is vetoed because the vague definitions in the bill, including the overly broad definition of advanced reactors, will open the door to the proliferation of large-scale nuclear reactors that are so costly to build that they will cause exorbitant ratepayer-funded bailouts. Additionally, it provides no regulatory protections or updates to address the health and safety of Illinois residents who would live and work around these new reactors.
· HB3643 requires the Illinois State Board of Education to enter into a statewide education master contract to provide religious dietary options to all Illinois school districts.
From the Veto Message: The bill is vetoed because it requires the Illinois State Board of Education to enter into a master contract they cannot execute because this is a local school district responsibility. Local school districts, not the Illinois State Board of Education, have the expertise and understanding of local needs required to enter into food service contracts based on federal USDA nutrition guidelines. The bill would restrict the capability that local school districts have to contract meal vendors based on their students’ unique local and cultural needs.
· HB2507 is an omnibus property tax bill.
From the Veto Message: The Governor has issued an Amendatory Veto due to a change that was added to give private nursing homeowners in Cook County a property tax break. That break passes the tax burden to Suburban Cook County homeowners and small businesses, with the most impact felt in the South Suburbs. That change to property taxes on homeowners’ risks driving up costs for residents and threatens local school funding.
· HB2878 is an omnibus procurement bill.
From the Veto Message: Through the Amendatory Veto the Governor has removed a provision that allows for the creation of public private partnerships (P3s) with counties, municipalities, and any other unit of local government without proper oversight in place. The provisions that create a local pathway for private industry to enter P3 agreements skirts transparency and anti-corruption requirements established in state statute, including ethics, BEP, campaign finance, and procurement laws. It also puts the state at greater risk of project failure by decreasing competition and reducing the opportunity for public input currently required under state law during the P3 project planning and implementation process.
· HB 3445 is an omnibus energy bill that makes changes to the Adjustable Block Grant program to make it more available to public schools, requires IPA to conduct a study evaluating several policy proposals, amends existing law regarding siting for renewable energy projects, requires the Illinois Commerce Commission to conduct a thermal energy network workshop, and gives incumbent utility providers the right of first refusal over new transmission projects in the MISO region.
From the Veto Message: The Governor has issued an Amendatory Veto due to the right of first refusal language inserted by Senate Amendment 4 that will raise costs for rate payers by giving incumbent utility providers in the MISO region a monopoly over new transmission lines. Eliminating competition will cause rates to increase in the MISO region, where there is currently over $3.6 billion in planned transmission construction in the Ameren service territory. Without competition, Ameren ratepayers will pay for these transmission projects at a much higher cost, putting corporate profits over consumers.
Megasite Development Awards: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity today announced the recipients of the Megasites Investment Program funded through Rebuild Illinois Capital Funds. Through the program, the state will leverage $23 million in grants to generate $144 million total investments in 9 projects across the state. Read more here.
Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor made the following appointments:
· Shad Etchason will serve as a Member on the Energy Transition Workforce Commission.
· Michael Schmidt will serve as a Member on the Illinois Racing Board.
103rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
Representative Lakesia Collins was appointed by local Democrats to replace Senator Patricia Van Pelt in the 5th Senate District. Representative Jawaharial “Omar” Williams also sought the appointment. Local Democrats now have one month to select a replacement for Collins in the House.
The House Personnel and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on August 23 at 10am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago to discuss Articles 3 and 4 and HB 4098 (Buyout Expansions and DROP Plan).
Speaker Welch appointed Representative Abdelnasser Rashid to serve as co-chair of the state’s new artificial intelligence (AI) task force. The task force will consist of legislators, technology experts, educators and other stakeholders and will provide policy recommendations to the legislature. The group will study the impact of AI on schools, the economy, and civil liberties.
2024 Election Update: McLean County Board District 10 representative Chuck Erickson announced his candidacy for the 88th House District to replace retiring Representative Dan Caulkins. Erickson will face fellow Republican Regan Deering in the primary.
Dan Wozniczka, an epidemiologist who worked for the CDC during the pandemic, is challenging Congressman Mike Quigley in the 5th Congressional District Democratic primary.
Gun Manufacturer Liability: The National Shooting Sports Foundation filed a federal lawsuit Monday to stop the enforcement of a new law that makes gun retailers or manufacturers subject to civil liabilities if they are found to have engaged in marketing ploys that endanger the public. Capitol News offers more on the lawsuit here.
Chicago Public Health Department: Dr. Allison Arwady, who served as the Director for the Chicago Public Health Department for the past 8 years, was terminated by newly elected Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson last Friday. Her replacement has not been named.
Chicago Police Department: Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appointed Larry Snelling as the city’s new police superintendent. Snelling was previously chief of the bureau of counterterrorism.
Kia/Hyundai Settlement: Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with seven attorneys general, is urging a federal court to strengthen a private, consumer class-action settlement with Hyundai and Kia by requiring the companies to recall or buy back the theft-prone vehicles and equip them with engine-immobilizer technology.
In a letter to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Raoul and the coalition argue that the current proposed settlement requirements are insufficient and will not resolve the ongoing Hyundai and Kia thefts that continue to jeopardize public safety in Illinois and across the country. While Illinois is not part of this settlement, Raoul signed onto the letter because in 2022, there were over 7,000 Hyundai and Kia thefts in Chicago, which account for 10% of all registered Kia vehicles and 7% of all registered Hyundai vehicles in the city.