New Laws: Governor Pritzker continues to review legislation passed during the spring legislative session. Listings of the latest bill signings are here and here.
LGBTQ+ Laws:New laws adding protections for LGBTQ+:· HB3709 (Croke/Fine) which updates the state’s existing infertility insurance law to include LGBTQ+ families and single parent in addition to reducing the wait time for women over 35.· HB2590 (Williams/Fiegenholtz) which creates a uniform standard for name changes on marriage certificates.· HB1063 (Ammons/Peters) which repeals Illinois’ HIV criminalization law.· SB139 (Fiegenholtz/Williams) which establishes a process for individuals to correct the gendered language on their marriage certificates.
Special Education:Governor Pritzker signed two bills expanding access for special education for those aging out of the program. HB40 (Hurley/Cunningham) allows special education students to continue attending school through the end of the school year in which they turn 22, rather than leave school the day they turn 22.
HB2748 (Ness/Koehler) allows special education students to remain eligible for services up to the end of the regular 2021-2022 school year if a student reached the age of 22 during the time in which the student’s in-person instruction, services, or activities were suspended for a period of 3 months or more during the school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elected Chicago School Board:Governor Pritzker signed HB2908 (Ramirez/Martwick) which transitions to a 21-member elected Chicago School Board. More information on the new law is here.
Early Childhood Workforce:Governor Pritzker also signed HB2878 (Stuart/Pacione-Zayas) which creates the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity to help strengthen childcare workers’ career trajectory. The bill authorizes the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board to create the Consortium to help child care workers earn advanced degrees and strengthen the pipeline of early childhood educators.The state is investing $200 million in federal funds to provide additional training, mentorships, and scholarships to pursue advanced credentials for the childcare workforce over the next two years. The early childhood consortium will direct the funds. Roughly $150 million in funding will be directed towards resources for child care workers and nearly $120 million will go towards financial support — including scholarships — to encourage child care workers to pursue advanced credentials. An additional $30 million will provide coaches, mentors, and navigators the tools needed to help child care workers pursue their degrees. This allotment of federal funding has the potential to assist about 20 percent of those in need, or about 5,600 child care workers, who may not be able to otherwise complete a postsecondary degree by 2024.
Affordable Housing: The Governor signed SB265 (Hastings/Hernandez) which prioritizes access to the state’s Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for families with young children and expands access to undocumented residents.
HB2621 (Guzzardi/Hunter) is now law. The new law directs the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to create a COVID-19 Affordable Housing Grant Program to support the construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing in areas most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program directs $75 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to multifamily development costs to help keep rent affordable for low-income households. The program will supplement properties that qualify for federal low-income housing tax credits and is expected to fund the development and preservation of up to 3,500 affordable rental homes and apartments by the end of 2024.
The law also extends the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit through 2026. The program provides a one-time state of Illinois income tax credit equal to 50% of the value of qualified donations to affordable housing developments.In addition, HB2621 will create two separate property tax incentives to support the preservation of affordable housing, including a provision that encourages owners of multifamily buildings with 7 or more units to invest in their properties and keep rents affordable by providing reductions in post-improvement assessed value. The legislation also strengthens existing state law requiring communities with limited stock of affordable housing to create plans to address their local housing needs.
Cannabis Lottery: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced the results of the Qualifying Applicant Lottery for 55 Conditional Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary Licenses. The lottery pool consisted of 626 applicants who scored 85 percent or greater in their applications.Two additional lotteries are scheduled in the coming weeks for 130 additional Conditional Licenses. More information on the lottery is here.
COVID-19 Update:Illinois adopted the latest CDC guidance including recommendations for schools. The CDC recommends that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high transmission. The CDC is also recommending universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health said, “We know masking can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 and its variants. Until more people are vaccinated, we join CDC in recommending everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial and high transmissions, and in K-12 schools.” Areas of substantial transmission are considered by CDC to be those with 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. Areas of high transmission are considered to be those with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period. The community level of transmission can be found here.The Illinois State Board of Education is expected to revisit its guidance for school districts following this announcement. The Board had previously issued guidance recommending, but not requiring, masking in K-12 schools. Many schools in Illinois begin session in August.Effective today, face coverings are now required in all State facilities for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Secretary of State Jesse White announced that anyone entering a property under the Secretary’s control — including, the Statehouse, all driver’s service facilities, or offices of the Secretary of State — will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status beginning Monday, August 2nd.Illinois health officials report 169 fully vaccinated people have died and 644 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 breakthrough cases in Illinois since the beginning of the year. Just this past week, there were 10 deaths and 51 hospitalizations in individuals in Illinois who are fully vaccinated.
Cook, DuPage and McHenry Counties issued new mask guidance suggesting everyone wear a mask indoors. The University of Illinois will once again require masks on campus beginning Friday, July 30th.
Rush hospital is the latest health system to mandate vaccines for its workers. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is negotiating mandatory vaccinations or routine COVID testing with city unions.
Opioid Fight: The Illinois Department of Human Services is allocating roughly $13 million to expand access to Naloxone. More information on the Department’s efforts ishere.
Executive Order:Executive Order 2021-15 reissues most of the Governor’s Executive Orders, extending most of the provisions through August 21st.
COMING UP:The House Health Care Availability & Accessibility Committee will hold a hearing on August 9th at 10:30 am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago to discuss a COVID-19 vaccination update and the delta variant. The House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee will hold a hearing on August 12th at 10:00 am in Virtual Room 2 to discuss evidence-based efforts to reduce suspensions and expulsions.
The House Tourism Committee will hold a hearing on August 13th at 11:00 am in the Bilandic Building to discuss COVID recovery in the tourism industry.