July 28, 2023 Update


New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed HB 2204 which establishes a tax credit for users of clean hydrogen in the state of Illinois. This new law creates a tax credit of $10 million per year in 2026 and 2027 for users of clean hydrogen. At the conclusion of the tax credit, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a comprehensive study to evaluate both the emissions impact of the tax credit and the national landscape to recommend additional policy measures to ensure Illinois remains competitive in the clean hydrogen economy and meets the clean energy goals outlined in the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

The Governor also signed HB 2381  which codifies the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness and the Community Advisory Council on Homelessness which were initially established by the Governor via executive order in 2021. This new law codifies the interagency collaboration to move Illinois to “functional zero” homelessness by enhancing the safety net, targeting high-risk populations, expanding affordable housing, securing financial stability for unhoused individuals, and closing the mortality gap.

The Governor signed SB 1909 – the Deceptive Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers Act. This law bars “crisis pregnancy centers” from using “misinformation, deceptive practices, or misrepresentation” in order to interfere with access to abortion services or emergency contraception. The law allows the Illinois Attorney General to investigate complaints against centers using such tactics and strengthens the Attorney General’s power to prosecute incidences of consumer fraud.

Shortly after SB 1909 was signed, Thomas More Society attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, seeking to stop him from enforcing the new law. The Thomas More Society is representing NIFLA, a national pregnancy help center network, along with several Illinois pregnancy help centers and pro-life organizations. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division, seeks a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction against SB 1909. If temporary and preliminary injunctions are granted, they would prevent the law from being enforced while the case makes its way through the court system.

AFSCME Contract Ratified: Members of AFSCME Council 31—the largest union of state employees—announced the ratification of a new contract. The agreement provides for a 4.0% pay increase retroactive to July 1. In all, base wages will rise 17.95% over four years. Other provisions include expanded parental leave to 12 weeks and new joint efforts to improve workplace safety.

The agreement also includes several actions to expedite the filling of vacancies and improve strategies to recruit, hire, and retain workers, such as:

• Modernizing how vacancies with State agencies are filled by updating the contract language to reflect the state’s transition to an electronic hiring process.

• A commitment to work together to streamline the State’s hiring process to improve the pace at which vacancies are filled.

• Increasing hiring and retention of current employees by forming a joint labor-management committee that will meet to identify roadblocks to hiring.

• Implementing a pilot program for recruitment bonuses for positions that have high vacancy rates.

• Ensuring that employees on Parental Leave may still bid on vacancies during their leave.

According to the Governor’s Office, the estimated impact of contract ratification stipends and cost-of-living adjustments over four years is roughly $625 million — including $204 million for the first year which began July 1.

Illinois Gaming Board: The Illinois Gaming Board met this week and considered several regulatory matters including approval of a sportsbook at the Hard Rock Casino in Rockford. A full list of the Board’s action is here.

CEJA Workforce Hubs: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is awarding $37.9 million in funding for the Illinois Clean Jobs Workforce Network Program or “CEJA Workforce Hubs.” The organizations that will run CEJA Workforce Hubs will be selected through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) process. Qualified entities can apply for grants, with awards ranging from $1 million to $5 million. Applications will be accepted until September 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. To view the NOFO and apply for the grant, please visit the DCEO website. Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to CEO.GrantHelp@illinois.gov for application assistance.

Qualified entities include community-based organizations such as non-profits, community colleges, and local governments that provide employment skills, training or related services located in the 13 geographic areas designated as hub locations by statute: Alton, Aurora, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago (South Side), Chicago (Southwest and West Sides), Danville, Decatur, East St. Louis, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford and Waukegan. DCEO anticipates identifying at least one grantee to administer the program in each of the 13 locations.

Disaster Proclamation Expanded: Gov. JB Pritzker expanded his original Disaster Proclamation to include an additional 13 counties based on the severe weather, tornadoes, and derecho that affected communities across the state from June 29th through July 4th.

Taxpayers in these additional counties may also request waivers of penalties and interest on state taxes if they cannot file their returns or make payments on time. They are eligible to request a waiver of penalties and interest for income, withholding, sales, specialty, and excise taxes.

The original disaster proclamation included Coles, Cook, Edgar, Hancock, McDonough, Morgan, Sangamon, and Washington Counties and now has been expanded to include Calhoun, Christian, Clark, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Logan, Macon, Monroe, Moultrie, Pike, Scott, and Vermillion Counties.

Air Pollution Action Day Program Expanding Statewide for Air Quality Alerts: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health have established new Illinois-specific guidelines for issuing air quality messages to the public to provide additional guidance for public health measures. These air quality messages are a call to action for residents to protect their health and for residents and businesses to reduce local contribution to air pollution. The move follows as a result of Canadian wildfire smoke expanding across Illinois causing Illinois to experience air quality conditions at levels we have not seen in recent decades. Read more here.

Smart Start Illinois: The Department of Human Services is offering Early Intervention Incentive Payments in an effort to recognize the value of early intervention service providers in Illinois who deliver therapies to infants and toddlers in support of their healthy growth and development. The initiative – part of the Smart Start Illinois Program – is administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services. The Agency will provide one-time bonus payments to Early Intervention service providers and service coordinators of up to $1,300 between August and October of 2023. Read more here.

OSLAD Grants: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for Open Space Land Acquisition and Development, or OSLAD, grants through August 31.

OSLAD is a matching program that provides an advance payment (for development projects only) of 50% of the grant award amount shortly after the grant agreement is executed. The local agency must demonstrate and possess the ability to finance the remaining cost of an approved project prior to receipt of the remaining grant funds. The program offers state-financed funding assistance to local governmental agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and outdoor recreation areas.

A total of $56 million is available for this round of OSLAD grants. In addition, IDNR will once again provide funding to cover 100% of eligible projects located in economically distressed communities. In the most recent round of OSLAD awards announced in March, 22 underserved locations received grants for local park projects. A list of communities that are considered economically distressed is here.

Green Infrastructure Projects to Improve Water Quality: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is offering a $10 million in grant funding – through the Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities (GIGO) Program – for projects that will improve water quality in Illinois. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is posted here.

The GIGO Program provides funding for projects to construct green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) that prevent, eliminate, or reduce water quality impairments by decreasing stormwater runoff into Illinois’ rivers, streams, and lakes. Projects that implement treatment trains (multiple BMPs in series) and/or multiple BMPs within the same watershed may be more effective and efficient than a single large green infrastructure BMP.

For GIGO, green infrastructure means any stormwater management technique or practice employed with the primary goal to preserve, restore, mimic, or enhance natural hydrology. Green infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, methods of using soil and vegetation to promote soil percolation, evapotranspiration, and filtering or the harvesting and reuse of precipitation.

Applications for the GIGO Program are due by noon on October 18, 2023. A Technical Assistance Session will be held on August 15, 2023, at 1:30 PM CST. Conference information and registration will be available here. Applicants must apply for GIGO through the GATA Grantee Portal.

Illinois Department of Employment Security: A newly released audit of the Illinois Department of Employment Security found $5.24 billion in overpayments. Overpayments (which include fraud, non-fraud, and identity theft) were an issue in both the regular UI and PUA programs. IDES reported overpayments for FY20 to FY22 that totaled $5.24 billion; regular UI accounted for $2.04 billion and PUA accounted for $3.20 billion. IDES noted stopped or recovered payments of $150.36 million and $361.34 million for the regular UI and PUA programs respectively. Read more here.

Safe to School Routes: The Illinois Department of Transportation is accepting applications for the Safe Routes to School program. The program helps to support projects that make walking, biking and rolling to school a safe option for students. The deadline to apply is Oct. 2, with awards to be announced in the spring. For more information on the program, including selection criteria and details on how to register for webinars to assist in the application process, visit the Safe Routes to School homepage at https://idot.click/SRTS or email DOT.SafeRoutes@illinois.gov.

New REV Incentive Package: Governor JB Pritzker, Prysmian Group, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced a new Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois (REV Illinois) agreement. With the agreement, Prysmian Group is expanding its Southern Illinois facility to enable the company to increase cable manufacturing for the renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors.

Prysmian Group plans to invest $63.8 million and create 80 new high-paying jobs while retaining 225 jobs in Southern Illinois – solidifying its position as one of the largest employers in Perry County. The expansion paves the way for increased renewable cable production in Illinois, adding over 100,000 square feet of new manufacturing space and seven major pieces of equipment, including a two-line expansion for renewable cable production. The expansion will also help modernize the existing infrastructure and implement an Energy Management System within the facility. Read more here.

IDNR Agricultural Leases: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will accept sealed bids this fall for about 40 agricultural lease contracts for crop years 2024 through 2027. IDNR utilizes agricultural leases as a tool to support wildlife populations and recreational opportunities at sites owned or managed by the agency. The leases developed under this program will promote ecologically sound agricultural practices to improve soil health, minimize soil erosion, improve water quality, and reduce chemical impacts to benefit wildlife populations and their habitats.

Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker appointed the following:

·        Doug Pryor will serve as a Member on the Enterprise Zone Board.

·        Radhika Lohia will serve as a Member on the Illinois State Medical Board.

·        Laura Gonzalez will serve as a Member of the Illinois State Board of Education.

·        Michael Mankoswki will serve as a Member of the Pollution Control Board.

·        Linda J. Cantrell will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Raychel Wesley will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Bradley Gillespie will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Jeanne AuBuchon will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Gerald Napleton will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Charles Watts will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Rachael Sinnen will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Paul Seal will continue to serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        James Byrnes will serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

·        Jennifer Bae will serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.


Senator Van Pelt announced she will retire effective August 1 at 5:00 p.m. Local Democrats will meet to appoint her replacement. Van Pelt chairs the Senate Local Government Committee.

Republican Senator Tom Bennett announced he plans to retire at the completion of his current term. Senator Bennett was appointed to the Senate this year when Senator Jason Barickman stepped down. Bennett served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2015 until 2023 when he was appointed to the State Senate.

Senate President Don Harmon appointed Senator Michael Hastings to chair the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

Representative Margaret Croke filed HB 4112 which requires health insurance providing coverage for more than 25 employees that provides pregnancy related benefits must contain coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. HB 4112 now heads to the House Rules Committee.

The House Personnel & Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on August 9 at 10:00 am in the Bilandic Building and Virtual Room 1 to discuss Tier II – Safe Harbor.

The House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee and the House Insurance Committee will hold a hearing on August 8 at 10:00 am in the Bilandic Building and Virtual Room 1 to discuss IDOC health services.


2024 Election Update: The Illinois State Board of Elections announced the following key 2024 election deadlines for candidates:

·        September 5, 2023: Petition Circulation Begins for General Primary Election

·        October 7, 2023: Petition Circulation Begins for President and Delegate Candidates

·        November 27, 2023: First Day to File Nominating Petitions for the General Primary Election

·        December 4, 2023: Last Day to File Nominating Petitions for the General Primary Election

·        December 11, 2023: Last Day to File Objections to Nomination Papers for General Primary Election

·        December 18, 2023: Last Day to File Petitions for Questions of Public Policy for the General Primary Election

Nick Raftopoulos of Granite City will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Representative Amy Elik, R-Alton, for Illinois’ 111th House District in 2024.

As expected, Graciela Guzman officially filed paperwork to challenge newly appointed Senator Natalie Toro for the 20th District state Senate seat in the 2024 Democratic primary.

Kouri Marshall joins a growing field of candidates who are challenging longtime Congressman Danny Davis in the 7th Congressional District Democratic primary.

Democratic National Convention: Chicago continues to gear up to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention. This week, major Chicago unions signed a Labor Peace Agreement, pledging not to strike during the Democratic National Convention.