December 8, 2023 Update

103rd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Illinois General Assembly convenes for the start of the 2024 Spring Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 16. Note that January 19 is the deadline to request a substantive bill be drafted for consideration during the spring session.
The Legislative Reference Bureau is making changes to the bill drafting process. Read more about the changes here and here. 
State Representative John Egofske announced he is stepping down today. Egofske announced last month that he would not seek election to the House, after having been appointed in February to replace former House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Local Republicans will meet in the coming weeks to appoint his replacement. Watch for Republican Nicole La Ha, the only Republican who has filed to run for this seat, to be named as his replacement in the 82nd House District. 
Representative Buckner this week filed two pieces of legislation in response to the allegations of hazing and abuse involving athletic teams and other organizations at Northwestern University – HB 4252 and HB 4253.  Both bills are assigned to the House Rules Committee.Representative Kelly filed HB 4256 which creates the Health Care Funding Act and establishes the Health Care Funding Association. The Association will set and collect assessments for the cost of immunizations and health care information lines in the State that are not covered by other federal or State funding. Assessed entities will be required to pay a specified quarterly assessment to the Association. HB 4256 is assigned to the House Rules Committee. 
2024 Key Dates and Session Deadlines:
January 19: House and Senate LRB Request DeadlineJanuary 19 – February 9: LRB Blackout Period – No Requests Will Be AcceptedFebruary 9: Senate and House Bill Filing Deadline and LRB Amendment Requests BeginFebruary 21: Governor’s Budget and State of the State AddressMarch 15: Senate Committee Deadline for Senate BillsMarch 19: Primary ElectionApril 5: House Committee Deadline for House BillsApril 12: Senate Third Reading DeadlineApril 19: House Third Reading DeadlineMay 3: Committee Deadline for Bills in the Opposite ChamberMay 17: House and Senate Third Reading Deadline for Bills in the Opposite ChamberMay 24: AdjournmentMay 25 – 31: Contingent Session Days GOVERNOR’S HIGHLIGHTS: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is offering $2,909,890 in grants for the development of local strategic energy plans, energy efficiency audits and local government building upgrades. Under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, grant awards ranging from $200,000 to $249,900 will aim to create long-term sustainability and energy reduction roadmaps and reduce energy usage for Illinois municipalities and counties. Read more here. Nutrient Loss Strategy Biennial Report: The 2023 Biennial Report of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Strategy is now available. The report was developed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois Department of Agriculture , and the University of Illinois Extension. Read more here.
Utility Assistance:  All income-eligible families are encouraged to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which provides utility bill assistance for natural gas, propane and electricity. Income-eligible families can apply by visiting or by visiting their local agency (a list of partners throughout the State can be found here).
Food Assistance for Asylum Seekers: The Illinois Department of Human Services is partnering with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to provide an additional $4 million to provide meals to asylum seekers through the end of the calendar year. This additional state investment will be matched by philanthropy through the Food Depository. Read more here.
Early Childhood: The Early Childhood Education and Care Transition Advisory Committee will be composed of the following members:Makisha Binns, owner of Kiddos CareKatie Cobb, Principal/Director of Early Childhood Programs at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center in Peoria Public School District 150Johnna Darragh-Ernst, Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood Education at Heartland Community CollegeShontae Fennoy, early childhood teacher in East St. Louis school District 189Tonya Frehner, Regional Council Manager (Region21) at Birth to Five IllinoisRochelle Golliday, Executive Director and Owner of Cuddle Care, IncKesha Harris, parentLaKeesha James-Smith, parentMarcy Mendenhall, President and Chief Executive Officer of SAL Community ServicesJanice Moenster, Director of Early Childhood Services at BrightpointDara Munson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family FocusMariana Osoria, First Deputy of Human Services, City of ChicagoAngel Powell-Muldrow, Principal in District 148Edgar Ramirez, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago CommonsRobin Steans, President of Advance IllinoisRebecca Vonderlack-Navarro, Vice President of Education Policy & Research at the Latino Policy ForumSarah Ziemba, Chief Executive Officer of Shine Therapy ServicesRead more about the Advisory Committee and the Governor’s plans to move child care programs into a single agency here.
Migrant Housing: Citing environmental concerns, the Governor’s administration halted construction of a migrant tent camp in Brighton Park. Read more here. The Governor’s press release is here.
IDOT Receives Federal Funding for Rail Enhancements: The Illinois Department of Transportation received $95.1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration to invest in passenger rail. In addition to making Union Station more accessible to riders with disabilities, the grants will renovate the building’s outdated ventilation system as well as repurpose, renovate and expand station platforms to increase capacity for the nearly 120,000 riders that use Amtrak and Metra trains daily. Read more here. OTHER NEWS:
COGFA Pension Briefing: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issued its Pension Briefing which details the status of the state’s pension systems. Read the full report here. 
November Revenue Report: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability also issued its November Revenue Report which shows that revenues deposited into the state’s General Revenue Fund dropped $243 million in November. But despite that dip, according to the Commission, FY 2024 revenues through November continue to be ahead of last fiscal year’s pace increasing by $368 million. Read the full report here.  
Illinois Gaming Board: The Illinois Gaming Board met this week. Here is a summary of the action taken during the meeting.Illinois Supreme Court Rules: The Illinois Supreme Court announced amendments to Supreme Court Rule 315 as well as clarifying language amendments to Rules 46 and 604, 605, and 606. The changes are intended to expediate pretrial appeals before the Court. Read the announcement here.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.