January 21, 2022 Update

COVID-19 Update: Illinois has reached its peak with the omicron variant according to Governor Pritzker and the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. While the news is encouraging, the Governor warned Illinoisans to continue to take precautions to avoid catching and spreading the highly contagious virus. While new cases and hospitalizations are trending downward, the Governor warned that hospitals remain overburdened with the sheer volume of patients.  
As of Wednesday night, 6,258 individuals were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19, which is down 15.2% from a week ago. Of those 1,033 are in the ICU. Health officials also reported 23,246 new cases and another 198 deaths from the virus. The 7-day case positivity rate is down to 11.2%.
The federal government granted Illinois’ request for medical staffing assistance for two Illinois hospitals. Under the first agreement, a 22-person team including clinical staff from a Healthcare Medical Task Force will be deployed to support health care staff at Javon Bae Hospital – Riverside, located in Rockford Illinois.  This surge staffing will be available for 14-days to help reduce the strain on the hospital’s Emergency Department and help other hospitals in the region who may transfer patients to Javon Bae Hospital-Riverside.
The federal government also granted the state’s request for medical staffing assistance for UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial Hospital. Under the agreement, a 26-person National Disaster Medical System team, including physicians, pharmacists, nurses, paramedics, and other specialists have been deployed to support UChicago Medicine Ingalls doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 patients and other patients in Harvey. This federal surge team will be available for 14-days to help reduce the strain on the region’s hospitals. 
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s Springfield and Chicago offices will be closed for in-person transactions until January 31, 2022.
State Senator Jason Barickman announced this week that he is recovering from COVID. 

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin will seek the Republican nomination for Governor to challenge first-term Democratic Governor JB Pritzker. Representative Avery Bourne will run with Irvin for Lt. Governor. Irvin and Bourne join a slate of candidates backed by billionaire Ken Griffin. Also slated are Steve Kim who is running for Attorney General, John Milhiser who is running for Secretary of State, McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi who is running for Comptroller and Representative Tom Demmer who is running for Treasurer. 
State Senator Brian Stewart will not seek reelection to the 45th Senate District. 
State Representative Andrew Chesney will run to replace Stewart in the Senate. 
Former State Representative John Cabello will run to replace Chesney in the 90th House District.  Cabello lost to Representative Dave Vella in 2020.
Republican Wayne Rosenthal announced his candidacy in the 108th House District to replace Republican Representative Avery Bourn who is running for Lt. Governor. Rosenthal, who previously served in the Illinois House, was appointed Director of the Department of Natural Resources by then Governor Bruce Rauner. Bourne was appointed to replace Rosenthal.
Jesse Reising is seeking the Republican nomination for the 13th Congressional District. Reising is a former federal prosecutor and founded a veteran’s service organization.
Democratic State Representative Daniel Didech is seeking a third term representing the 59th House District.
Michele Hunter of Arlington Heights will seek the Republican nomination for the 54th House District.
Republican Michael Robert Walters is running for the 55th House District seat currently represented by Democrat Representative Marty Moylan.
Democrat Anthony Ortiz will challenge Representative Anna Moeller in the Democratic primary.
Republican Scott Greene will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democrat Representative Larry Walsh.
Republican Kenneth Yerkes will challenge Democrat Representative Mary Flowers. 
Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. is seeking the Republican nomination in the 74th District to replace Representative Tom Demmer who is running for Treasurer. 
Democrat Representative Sue Scherer is running for reelection in the 96th House District.
Republican Dr. Bill Hauter is running in the 87th District to replace Representative Keith Sommer who is not seeking reelection. Hauter is an emergency physician and anesthesiologist as well as a member of the Tazewell County Board.
Representative Ryan Spain will seek reelection.

102nd General Assembly: 
In-person session for this week was canceled. Work continued at the committee level via the virtual platform. Speaker Welch also canceled in-person session for next week; the Senate was not scheduled to be in session. 
Today is the deadline to file substantive bills in the Senate.Speaker Welch appointed a House Budget Negotiation Team to shadow Majority Leader Greg Harris this session.   Leader Harris, who is not seeking reelection, said he will share his knowledge and experience of the budget process with the newly formed team to “pass the mantle.” The Team is composed of Representatives Will Davis, Elizabeth Hernandez, Mike Zalewski and Robyn Gabel. 
Redistricting Update: 
The Madison County Board voted to allow their state’s attorney to file a lawsuit against the new judicial subcircuit maps alleging that “the legislation violates basic norms of fairness and equality, undermines the bedrock expectation that our Judiciary should be free from partisanship, violates basic tenets of separation of powers, and was passed without adequate input and with an immediate effect in Madison County that unfairly and illegally changes the rules for two previously certified upcoming at-large judicial elections.”
Friday, January 28th is the House deadline to introduce substantive House Bills. The Governor will deliver his combined State of the State and Budget Address on February 2nd.  Committees will continue to meet virtually next week