103rd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois General Assembly will begin the 2024 Spring Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 16.
Republican Representative Mike Marron will resign by the end of the year. Marron will serve as the President & CEO of Vermilion Advantage, a local economic development organization. Marron announced earlier that he is not seeking reelection and called his new position “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Representative Kam Buckner is reportedly considering filing legislation that will require outbound trains on the South Shore Line to pick up riders at all stops. Buckner sent a letter to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and Metra Metropolitan Rail urging transportation officials to modernize procedures so that riders on Metra Electric trains can also use South Shore trains.
2024 Key Dates and Session Deadlines:
January 19: House and Senate LRB Request Deadline
January 19 – February 9: LRB Blackout Period – No Requests Will Be Accepted
February 9: Senate and House Bill Filing Deadline and LRB Amendment Requests Begin
February 21: Governor’s Budget and State of the State Address
March 15: Senate Committee Deadline for Senate Bills
March 19: Primary Election
April 5: House Committee Deadline for House Bills
April 12: Senate Third Reading Deadline
April 19: House Third Reading Deadline
May 3: Committee Deadline for Bills in the Opposite Chamber
May 17: House and Senate Third Reading Deadline for Bills in the Opposite Chamber
May 24: Adjournment
May 25 – 31: Contingent Session Days
New Laws: The Governor signed the following into law:
· HB 351 (Tarver/Harmon) creates the Task Force to Review Eligibility to Hold Public Office and exempts notaries from logging notarial acts on specific documents filed by or on behalf of a candidate for public office.
· HB 1358 (Burke/Glowiak Hilton) represents a sunset extension and effective date package.
· HB 3641 (Burke/Cunningham) represents a State government omnibus package. Provides numerous technical cleanup remedies for State agencies and programs.
· SB 690 (Castro/Didech) makes changes to the community mental health public questions process and amends the appointment process of a community mental health board in qualifying municipalities.
· SB 765 (Harris/Jones) eliminates the Unlimited Catastrophic Aggregate Coverage provision of the Farm Mutual Act for 5 years.
Equitable Energy Future Grants Program: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity launched a $25.5 million Equitable Energy Future Grants Program — part of a larger strategy to equitably grow the clean energy workforce in Illinois. By zeroing in on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in low-income and historically disadvantaged communities, the program seeks to grow and diversify the clean energy ecosystem across the state. Grantees will be selected through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) process. Read more here.
IDOT Receives Federal Grant: Using a just-awarded $4.5 million Federal Highway Administration grant, the Illinois Department of Transportation will develop a digital system to bolster efficiencies and safety, and upgrade how future construction projects are administered. The grant is one of 10 awarded to 35 states that applied. Read more here.
Revised GOMB Revenue and Spending Projections: A revised revenue and spending forecast from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget gives an uptick in FY24 revenues of $1.046 billion — with most of that expected to be one-time in nature. With spending also being revised upward by $969 million, it yields a $422 million net surplus for the current fiscal year. Some of the new expenses will be one-offs (ex.: covering delayed FEMA reimbursements to HFS for COVID-related nursing staff support costs for hospitals) while other expenses will be ongoing (ex.: increased caseloads at the Dept. on Aging; outstanding bills at the Dept. of Information Technology; and rising costs for state employee group insurance).
Looking ahead to FY25, GOMB revised its revenue projections to reflect a $480 million downturn over its original FY24 estimate. That dip – in tandem with increased spending – prompted GOMB to project a deficit next fiscal year of $891 million. It’s a situation that’s expected to trend in successive fiscal years; a deficit of $1.4 billion is expected in FY26, followed by a $1.66 billion shortfall in FY27. Capitol News offers more here. Read the full report here.
Rainy Day Fund Tops $2 Billion: Last week Comptroller Mendoza deposited $11.5 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the total to $2.005 billion.
State Begins Work on Two New Shelter Sites for Asylum Seekers: As temperatures plummeted into the single digits early this week, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Human Services announced construction will being this week on two new shelter sites. The sites, a base camp in Brighton Park and a brick-and-mortar site in Little Village, will house up to 2,200 asylum seekers. The City of Chicago identified the locations of the shelters and will operate them as part of its shelter system. Both the construction and operation costs will be drawn from a recently-announced $160 million investment to improve the asylum seeker pipeline, as well as the $478 million in State funding earmarked for asylum seeker response over FY23 and FY24. Read more here.
IDPH Encourages Residents to Vaccinate for Respiratory Viruses: With hospitalizations for COVID-19 rising ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday, the Illinois Department of Public Health is urging Illinoisans to monitor conditions in their area and to get fully protected from the range of seasonal viruses. Read more here.
IDOT Offering Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Workshops: Tools to help Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms enhance skills, enjoy growth, and bid on state projects will be the focus of free virtual workshops hosted by IDOT this month. The offerings are part of the department’s Building Blocks for Success series. Participation is encouraged by new and existing DBEs, as well as firms interested in becoming certified in the program. More info here.
Solid Waste Planning Grants Available: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is offering another funding opportunity to assist counties and other units of local government in implementing their solid waste planning obligations under the Illinois Solid Waste Planning and Recycling Act (SWPRA). A Notice of Funding Opportunity has been posted to the Illinois EPA website. Applications for the County Solid Waste Planning Grants will be accepted through 5:00 pm on January 20, 2024. Applicants may not apply for a grant until they are pre-qualified through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal. Read more here.
Job Training and Economic Development Program: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity if offering an additional $13 million in grants for the Job Training and Economic Development Program (JTED) for workforce training and wrap-around services that will bolster equitable workforce recovery for Illinoisans struggling to gain meaningful employment. As part of Illinois’ workforce recovery efforts, JTED grants focus on helping increase employment among workers and industries hardest hit by COVID-19. Grantees will be selected through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity process. Eligible entities can apply for grants between $250,000 to $750,000. Applications will be accepted until January 10 at 5:00 p.m. To view the NOFO and apply for the grant, please visit the DCEO website. Read more here.
IDNR Award Pheasant Fund Project Grants: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announces the latest recipients of grants for projects through the State Pheasant Fund Special Wildlife Funds grant program. Read more here.
IDNR Awards for Recreational Trail Development: Also announced by IDNR is the awarding of more than $3.7 million to 19 communities to help them meet the growing demand for improved trails and outdoor recreation facilities. Read more here.
IDOL Subpoenas US Steel Corporation: The Illinois Department of Labor issued a subpoena to US Steel to investigate its compliance with the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Under the Act, employers with 75 or more full-time employees must give workers – as well as state and local officials — 60 days advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff.
On November 28, 2023, IDOL learned that Granite City Works was planning a mass layoff. The action comes on the heels of September layoffs (although US Steel characterized those as temporary at the time). More than 1,000 workers will have lost their jobs at the conclusion of the layoffs.
IDPH Hosts Illinois Minority Health Conference: On Dec. 4 and 5, IDPH will convene a gathering at Illinois State University on minority health. Among the wide-ranging topics to be addressed: health disparities and social justice issues; building competencies among healthcare professionals; and developing collaborations with service providers and community partners.
Illinois State Police Create Online Reporting for Public Corruption: A new initiative will allow the public to use an online form to report suspected corruption directly to ISP. To be used only for suspected public corruption allegations, the form helps cut through the confusing maze the public can encounter in trying to report suspicious activities. ISP expects the streamlined process to quicken response times as it will triage the online submissions and direct them to the appropriate agency. Public corruption can take an array of forms, ISP says, including elected officials steering contracts to friends in exchange for a monetary kickback, overbilling a contractor and embezzling the money, personally benefiting from federal/state-funded programs, wire fraud, and money laundering. The link to report suspected corruption is here.
Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor appointed the following:
· Daniel Robles will serve as a Member of the Clean Energy Jobs and Justice Fund.
· Monique Green will serve as a Member of the Clean Energy Jobs and Justice Fund.
· Yiran Zhang will serve as a Member of the Climate Jobs Advisory Council.
· Karen Nunn will serve as a Member of the Governors State University Board of Trustees.
· Robert Sprague will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois Court of Claims.
· King Harris will continue to serve as Chair of the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
· Sonia Berg will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
· Roderick Hawkins will serve as a Member on the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority.
· Roger Poole will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois Finance Authority.
· Mona Naser will serve as a Member of the State Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.
2024 Election Update: Candidates for state and local offices began filing their nominating petitions on Monday, November 27. The petition filing period closes at 5 pm on Monday, December 4. Monday, December 11 is the last day to file objections to nominating petitions. The primary election is March 19. The general election is November 5.
In addition to voting for President, Illinois voters will elect 21 of the 59 state Senate seats and all 118 seats in the Illinois House. Two Illinois Supreme Court seats are also up for election; appointed incumbent Justices Joy Cunningham and Lisa Holder White will face their first election to the state’s highest court.
Illinois voters will also elect 17 congressional seats. Neither of Illinois’ two U.S. senators are up for re-election this year.
The State Board of Elections list of candidate filings is here. Next week’s report will include a detailed listing of filed candidates for state and local offices.
Migrant Housing: Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration is partnering with 17 parishes in the Chicagoland area to provide housing and other services to migrants. Each parish will take in 20 asylum seekers funded by a $350,000 donation from Fish Potter Bolaños law firm. Read more here.
Illinois Supreme Court Rules on FOID Card FOIA: The Illinois Supreme Court ruled this week that individuals cannot obtain their own FOID card information via the Freedom of Information Act. Read the full opinion here.
Assault Weapons Ban: Gun rights advocates filed an emergency application Wednesday with the United States Supreme Court asking for an injunction to block Protect Illinois Communities law pending further appeals, including asking the full 7th Circuit to reconsider the panel decision. They argue that the federal appeals court ignored Supreme Court precedents when it refused to issue an injunction earlier this month. Read more here.
Illinois Supreme Court Issues Ruling on BIPA Cases: On Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of two Illinois hospitals in a pair of class action lawsuits brought by two suburban nurses who allege their employers – and the company who makes medicine cabinets – violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act by requiring the use of fingerprint scanners to open medicine cabinets. The plaintiffs argued that the hospitals did not provide information about how the biometrics would be stored or eventually destroyed and they did not collect written consent to allow use of the data.
The Court ruled the Act excludes from its protections the biometric information of health care workers where that information is collected, used, or stored for health care treatment, payment, or operations, as those functions are defined by HIPAA. A health care worker’s biometric information, used to permit access to medication dispensing stations for patient care, falls under “information collected, used, or stored for health care treatment, payment, or operations under HIPAA” and is exempt from the Act’s protections pursuant to section 10 of the Act. Read the full opinion here.