June 20, 2020 Update

COVID-19: On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 593 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 55 additional deaths. To date, the Department is reporting a total of 134,778 cases, including 6,537 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 25,504 tests. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate from June 11–June 17 is 3%.The Illinois Republican party filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Pritzker alleging the Governor’s executive orders which limit gatherings over 10 people violate the First Amendment. A copy of the lawsuit is here.

Bill Signings:  Governor Pritzker signed two election bills this week.  SB1863 (Morrison/Burke) is an omnibus election bill that expands vote by mail for the 2020 General Election due to the COVID pandemic. The sponsor indicated the legislation tries to balance public health while allowing for robust voter participation. SB 1863 creates the Conduct of the 2020 General Election Article in the Code. For the 2020 general election, provides for changes to vote by mail, first time registrants and changes of address for registrants, the public dissemination of information for the 2020 general election, early voting and election day requirements, judges of election, electronic service of objections, additional duties of election authorities and the State Board of Elections. Establishes November 3, 2020 as a State holiday for schools and certain university employees so that they may be used as polling places. Provides that all government offices (with the exception of election authorities) shall be closed unless authorized to be used as a location for election day services or as a polling place. Provides the State Board of Elections with emergency rulemaking authority. Repeals the Article on January 1, 2021.
HB2238 (Burke/Martinez) is a trailer bill to SB 1863 and makes various changes to how many election judges are needed to determine the validity of certain mail in ballots and adds a provision that lock boxes for drop off ballots must be secured with a lock. 
The Governor also signed SB1569 (Rezin/Davis) which makes K-12 and higher education related changes in response the pandemic. This bill addresses remote learning days, student teacher requirements, graduation requirements and other education related items. At the higher education level, the bill addresses AIM High and articulation with respect to pass/fail classes. In essence, the bill codifies many of the education emergency rules put into effect in response to the pandemic. 

State Fair: Governor Pritzker officially canceled the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin State Fair for 2020.   Grants: Governor Pritzker announced a package of state grant programs to support communities and businesses impacted by the pandemic and recent civil unrest.  The package includes more than $900 million across more than ten programs and four state agencies to help working families and small businesses who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19’s economic impacts, which was compounded by recent property damage and civil unrest. Grants are available for emergency rental assistance, emergency mortgage assistance, business interruption, a distressed capital program and poverty alleviation strategies. More information about the grants is here.

101st General Assembly: Rep. DeLuca filed HB5802 which establishes a process for defunding municipal police departments including requirements for public hearings. HB 5802 will be referred to the Rules Committee.Rep. Buckner filed HB5803 which makes changes to the use of deadly force by police officers. HB 5803 will be referred to the Rules Committee.