December 13, 2019

Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters this week that his legislative priorities for the 2020 spring legislative session include “tackling” pensions, early child education, criminal justice reform and health care next year as well as helping address legislative changes for a Chicago casino. The General Assembly returns Jan. 28th for the start of the next legislative session.Gov. Pritzker signed the following legislation of interest this week:

  • SB222 (Munoz/Rita) allows the Illinois Gaming Board and Illinois State Police to submit fingerprints of sports wagering applicants to the FBI for review.
  • SB670 (Munoz/Jones) requires corporate governance reporting for insurers.
  • SB177 (Harris/Davis) establishes the Illinois Works Jobs Program, which makes $25 million available to community-based organizations to recruiht new apprentices to work on construction projects. Under the new law, apprentices will comprise 10% of the labor force on all projects costing $500,000 or more. Funding for the Illinois Works Jobs Program will come from the $45 billion capital plan.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation created a new program designed to encourage innovation in financial product development in both the banking and fintech sectors.
The Office of Innovation is tasked with monitoring and responding to emerging marketplace trends and to help make Illinois an ideal destination for innovation. The Office will serve as a point of contact for innovators of financial products to receive feedback and technical assistance from the Department, as well as to educate industry sectors as a whole. The Office will be overseen by the newly-crafted position of Regulatory Innovation Officer.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Energy has announced up to $1 million of grant funding available for energy efficiency upgrades at public wastewater treatment plants. Under the Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Efficiency Program, grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 will aim to reduce energy usage for Illinois municipalities. Application materials are available at Illinois EPA’s Office of Energy webpage. The application period closes at midnight on February 28, 2020.

Cannabis Roundup:
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation filed emergency rules for licensees to be selected by lot when there are two or more applicants with tied high scores for the last remaining license or licenses in a particular Bureau of Labor Statistics region. The rules also confirm that an unsuccessful applicant does not have a right to administrative review of that result. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act directs IDFPR to award up to 75 conditional adult use dispensing organization licenses by May 1, 2020. A set number of licenses will be awarded to each BLS region. The emergency rules can be found here.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced four additional “Same Site” adult use cannabis licenses, which will allow existing medical cannabis dispensaries to obtain an adult use dispensing license.
The medical dispensaries who received early approval adult use licenses this week are:

Midway Dispensary
5648 S. Archer Ave.
Chicago, IL 60638

Seven Point
1132 Lake St.
Oak Park, IL 60301

Zen Leaf Chicago
6428 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60631

Zen Leaf St. Charles
3714 Illinois Ave.
St. Charles, IL 60174

Additionally, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is holding several workshops throughout the state to answer questions for prospective social equity applicants in advance of the Jan. 2, 2020 deadline to file applications. Details on the workshops can be found here.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has approved two more cultivation centers to grow cannabis for adult-use which becomes legal in Illinois on January 1, 2020.

Ataraxia in Albion and Shelby County Community Services in Shelbyville are now approved to grow cannabis for adult use, bringing the number of cultivation centers in Illinois to 16.In addition to Ataraxia and Shelby County Community Services, the 14 other cultivation centers that have been licensed for adult-use growth include:

* Compass Ventures, Inc.- Litchfield
* Cresco Labs, LLC- Lincoln
* Cresco Labs, LLC- Kankakee
* Cresco Labs, LLC- Joliet
* Curative Health Cultivation, LLC- Aurora
* GTI Oglesby, LLC- Oglesby
* GTI Rock Island, LLC- Rock Island
* IESO, LLC- Carbondale
* Nature’s Grace and Wellness, LLC- Vermont
* PharmaCann, LLC- Dwight
* PharmaCann, LLC- Hillcrest
* Revolution Cannabis, LLC (DBA Ascend Illinois)- Barry
* Revolution Cannabis, LLC- Delavan
* Wellness Group Pharms, LLC- Anna

Illinois Attorney General Raoul announced a lawsuit against JUUL Labs. Raoul filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against California-based JUUL, alleging the company intentionally marketed its harmful nicotine products to minors, misrepresented the potency of nicotine in its products and misrepresented JUUL’s products as smoking cessation devices.  

Rep. Batinick filed legislation, HB3987, which revokes certain aspects of the comprehensive state energy bill passed in 2016. HB 3987 provides that notwithstanding anything to the contrary, certain provisions of the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997 relating to the recovery of costs associated with the purchase of zero emission credits do not apply to any retail customers of an electric utility that serves more than 3,000,000 retail customers in the State. The sponsor intends to retain the green energy components of the original law. Heads to House Rules.
Rep. Skillicorn filed legislation , HB3985, which prohibits a legislator from receiving any income derived from his or her ownership of any gaming-related interest, or otherwise receiving compensation for services provided to or on behalf of any gaming-related interest. Requires any legislator holding ownership in a gaming-related interest from which he or she may derive income to divest himself or herself of that interest. Heads to House Rules. Sen. Plummer reportedly filed similar legislation in the Senate although the bill has not officially been read into the record.

The Senate Special Committee on Opioid Crisis Abatement will hold a hearing on Jan. 16th at 12:30 PM at Chestnut Health Systems, 50 Northgate Industrial Drive in Granite City to discuss the state’s opioid action plan implementation report.

The Illinois Senate will convene on Sunday, January 19th at noon to formally elect a new Senate President to replace President John Cullerton who is retiring. The 101st General Assembly will reconvene for the 2020 Spring Legislative Session on January 28th, 2020.