Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered the first official State of the State address of his term to a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday. Pritzker, who was sworn into office on Jan. 14, 2019, used his inaugural address in lieu of delivering a separate State of the State address. During the ceremonial speech, Pritzker highlighted his many first-year achievements and briefly touched on his 2020 legislative agenda. More detail is expected in the coming weeks as Pritzker unveils his Fiscal Year 2021 budget and formalizes his priorities in legislation. Pritzker’s speech was positive in tone and he assured legislators that Illinois is growing stronger every day.
Ethics reform tops Pritzker’s 2020 agenda. He called for an end to the practice of allowing legislators to serve as paid lobbyists. He also wants disclosure of conflicts of interest and to institute a revolving door provision to prevent legislators from immediately lobbying their former colleagues. A Joint Commission on Ethics Reform continues to meet and their recommendations are due by the end of March.
Pritzker also prioritized criminal justice reform, asking legislators to phase out the cash bail system and follow recommendations made by the bipartisan criminal justice reform commission. He also called for property tax relief, but fell short of identifying specific ways to reduce the property tax burden. Instead, he called on legislators to consider allowing voters to consolidate local governments and reduce property taxes in a way that “supports local governments.”
Pritzker emphasized the need for clean energy legislation but cautioned that he would not sign legislation that was drafted by “utility companies.” Pritzker said he wants clean energy legislation that reduces carbon pollution, promotes renewable energy, and accelerates electrification of our transportation sector. Finally, the Governor called for legislators to recommit to bringing prosperity and opportunity to all communities through a fairer tax system, job creation, education and job training programs, child care and pre-school and a focus on tools of success such as high-speed internet.
Governor Pritzker will deliver his budget address on February 19th.
Opportunity Zones: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced a new initiative to invest $12 million to support investment in the state’s opportunity zones. The agency will be issuing a competitive notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) in the coming days.
DCEO will invite communities, nonprofits, developers, and other stakeholders to compete for capital grants to support projects in Opportunity Zones. These capital grants will offer matching funds for infrastructure, utility, remediation and other site preparedness related costs for affordable housing, community development, and commercial real estate projects that will create jobs and growth. Once the NOFO is posted, interested parties will have 90 days to prepare and submit grant applications.
In scoring grant applications, DCEO will consider criteria such as job creation, community support, project readiness and viability, the availability of matching financing, alignment of the project with the Governor’s 5-Year Economic Plan, and ability of the project to have a positive economic impact in communities of need. Applicants are encouraged to work with nonprofits, community organizations, elected officials, and other stakeholders to obtain letters that demonstrate local and regional support.
Executive Order – Opioids: Gov. Pritzker issued Executive_Order_2020-02Â to establish the Governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Recovery Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is charged with guiding the work of the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, serving as the liaison between stakeholders and the Governor’s Office and overseeing the ongoing implementation of the Statewide Opioid Action Plan.
Pritzker also announced the allocation of $4.1 million state dollars to expand recovery and prevention services for individuals with opioid use disorder. Pritzker pledged to invest $550,000 to encourage doctors to prescribe medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder. Another $2.75 million will be invested in overdose prevention. This includes investments in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to ensure that first responders and treatment providers can respond in real time when there is a spike in overdoses in a community. This response will include overdose prevention training, local public awareness messages, and the purchase of 50,000 doses of naloxone to put directly in the hands of community residents.
101st GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois General Assembly adjourned until Tuesday, Feb. 4th at noon. Both chambers canceled session for Thursday, Jan. 30th. The week was highlighted by the Governor’s State of the State Address and bill filings. Committee hearings on substantive legislation will start next week.
The Illinois Senate has reorganized for business under newly elected Senate President Don Harmon.
Harmon’s Senate Democratic leadership team is as follows:
|Kimberly Lightford||Majority Leader|
|Bill Cunningham||President Pro Tempore and Assistant Majority Leader|
|Laura Murphy||Deputy Majority Leader|
|Linda Holmes||Assistant Majority Leader|
|Dave Koehler||Assistant Majority Leader|
|Iris Martinez||Assistant Majority Leader|
|Tony Munoz||Assistant Majority Leader|
|Mattie Hunter||Caucus Chair|
|Jacqueline Collins||Deputy Majority Conference Chair|
|Omar Aquino||Majority Whip|
|Michael Hastings||Majority Whip|
|Napoleon Harris||Majority Whip|
Below is a comprehensive listing of the Senate Democratic committee membership and chairman changes: Agriculture
- Senator Patrick Joyce to fill the vacancy created by Senator Bill Cunningham
- Senator Sara Feigenholtz to fill the vacancy created by Senator Laura Murphy
- Senator Celina Villanueva as a member
- Senator Bill Cunningham, Vice-Chair, to replace the vacancy created by President Don Harmon
- Senator Laura Murphy to replace the vacancy created by Senator Terry Link
Commerce and Economic Development
- Senator Linda Homes to be Chair, replacing Senator Laura Murphy
- Senator Laura Murphy to remain as a member
Energy and Public Utilities
- Senator Michael Hastings to be Chair, replacing Senator Bill Cunningham
- Senator Laura Ellman to be Vice-Chair, replacing Senator Mattie Hunter
- Senator Patrick Joyce to replace the vacancy created by President Don Harmon
- Senator Bill Cunningham and Senator Mattie Hunter to remain as members
- Senator Mattie Hunter to be Chair, replacing Senator Michael Hastings
- Senator Bill Cunningham to be Vice-Chair, replacing President Don Harmon and replacing Martin Sandoval as a member
- Senator Laura Murphy to replace the vacancy created by Senator Toi Hutchinson
- President Don Harmon and Senator Michael Hastings to remain as members
- Senator Celina Villanueva to be Vice-Chair replacing Senator Laura Ellman and replacing Martin Sandoval as member
- Senator Laura Ellman to remain as a member
- Senator Sara Feigenholtz as a member
- Senator Emil Jones to be Vice-Chair and member, replacing Senator Robert Marwick
- Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe to be Chair, replacing President Don Harmon
- Senator Elgie Sims, Jr. to be Vice-Chair
- President Don Harmon to remain as a member
- Senator Patrick Joyce to replace the vacancy created by President Don Harmon
- Senator Laura Murphy to be Chair and member, replacing Senator Linda Holmes
- Senator Linda Holmes to be Vice-Chair and member, replacing Senator Robert Peters
- Senator Patrick Joyce to be a member
- Senator Cristina Castro to be Chair, replacing Senator Iris Martinez
- Senator Iris Martinez to be Vice-Chair, replacing Senator Cristina Castro
- Senator Robert Martwick to replace President Don Harmon as a member
- Removing Senator Bill Cunningham as a member
- Senator Ram Villivalam to be Chair, replacing Senator Mattie Hunter
- Senator Mattie Hunter to be Vice-Chair, replacing Senator Ram Villivalam
- Senator Celina Villanueva to fill the vacancy created by Senator Martin Sandoval
Corporate Incentives: Sen. Villivalam and Rep. Morgan filed legislation to form a multi-state compact in which each member state would vow not to use company-specific tax incentives to lure businesses away from another member state. The companion bills are HB4138 and SB2502. Both bills are awaiting assignment to a standing committee. Similar bills have been filed in New York, Florida, New Hampshire, Hawaii, West Virginia, Iowa and Maryland. Hazardous Workforce Legislation:Legislation to create the Illinois Hazardous Materials Workforce Training Act, SB1407 (Hastings/Walsh), has been reassigned to the order of Third Reading in the House. The bill stalled at the end of session last year.An amendment was filed this week in the House to SB 2140 (Hastings/Walsh) seeking to further define and clarify terminology should SB 1407 become law. SB 2140 is on 2nd Reading in the House. Clean Energy: HB3624 (Williams) which creates the Clean Jobs Workforce Hubs Act, the Expanding Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Act, the Community Energy and Climate Planning Act, and the Clean Energy Empowerment Zones Act to reduce emissions, promote renewable energy sources, improve energy efficiency, and reduce carbon pollution related to transportation has been reassigned to the order of Third Reading in the House. The bill stalled at the end of session last year. Gov. Pritzker prioritized passage of clean energy legislation this spring.
The General Assembly returns to session Feb 4th – 6th. Friday, Feb. 14th is the deadline to file substantive legislation. Numerous committees are scheduled to debate legislation at the committee level next week.
Note, the Senate Special Committee on Oversight of Medicaid Managed Care and the Senate Human Services Committees will hold a joint hearing on Feb. 4th at 10:30 AM in room 212 of the Capitol to discuss the transition of DCFS youth to managed care.