March 10, 2023 Update


The Illinois General Assembly was in session four days this week – Tuesday through Friday. The Illinois House convenes again on Tuesday, March 14 at noon for three days. The Illinois Senate is off next week.

Today is the deadline to pass substantive legislation out of committee in the chamber of origin. Thousands of bills were scheduled for committee hearings this week in both chambers (roughly 817 Senate Bills and 1,157 House Bills) making for long committee hearings and long days. We will monitor both chambers for any deadline extensions.

Some of the bills that passed committee this week include:

·        HB 1342 (Delgado) which authorizes various transit boards to adopt ordinances, rules or regulations concerning the suspension of riding privileges or confiscation of fare media. Passed the House Transportation Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee 16 – 0.

·        HB 2118 (Mussman) authorizes any supplier to sell any amount of sterile hypodermic syringes or needles to a person who is at least 18 years of age. Under current law, only pharmacists are allowed to sell up to 100 needles at a time. Passed the House Healthcare Availability and Accessibility Committee by a vote of 6-3.

·        HB 2188 (Crespo) moves the Medicaid Fraud Unit from the Illinois State Police to the Office of the Attorney General. Passed the House Judiciary Committee 14-0.  Identical legislation – SB 1613 (Joyce) passed the Senate State Government Committee 9-0.  

·        HB 2132 (Evans) which creates the Rust Belt to Green Belt Pilot Project to authorize new utility-scale offshore wind project. Passed the House Public Utilities Committee 14-8. The Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee held a subject matter hearing on identical legislation SB 193 (Peters). No vote was taken on the Senate Bill. 

·        HB 2202 (Hoffman) which creates the Underground Carbon Dioxide Storage Act. Passed the House Energy and Environment Committee 17-10.

·        HB 3119 (Williams) which creates the Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Protections Act. Passed the House Energy and Environment Committee 19-10.

·        HB 2719 (Avelar) which requires hospitals to screen each uninsured patient for eligibility in State and federal health insurance programs, financial assistance offered by the hospital, and other public programs that may assist with health care costs and provide information about those programs. Also requires hospitals to screen insured patients for discounted care in certain circumstances. Passed the House Healthcare Availability and Accessibility Committee 6-3.

·        HB 2842 (Jones) prevents auto insurance comprehensive coverage from excluding theft coverage for lack of evidence of forcible entry or for the insured leaving the vehicle unlocked or leaving a key or key fob in the motor vehicle. Passed the House Insurance Committee 9-5.

·        HB 2874 (Avelar) which creates the Packaging and Paper Products Stewardship Act. Passed the House Energy and Environment Committee 19-10. Identical legislation, SB 1555 (Koehler), passed the Senate Energy and Environment Committee 6-3. The sponsors committed to continuing negotiations with stakeholders.

·        HB 3128 (Moeller) provides that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency shall establish a take-back program for local fire departments and fire protection districts that use and store firefighting foam containing PFAS. Passed the House Energy and Environment Committee 19-10.

·        SB 347 (Loughran Cappel) allows for Crest Hill to construct a Lake Michigan water receiving station to ensure residents have clean drinking water. Passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-0.

·        SB 1769 (Ventura) which, as amended, creates the Government Zero Emission Vehicle Act to require all government passenger vehicles purchased by a governmental unit after 2025 to be zero emission vehicles. Passed the Senate Environment Committee 6-2.

·        HB 1110 (Buckner) authorizes the issuance of digital driver’s licenses. Passed the House Transportation Vehicles and Safety Committee 11-0.

·        SB 1508 (Cunningham) which requires online sports wagering operators to show a pop-up message directing customers to a website with resources for gambling addiction assistance after every 10 wagers placed. Passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee 9-0. 

·        SB 1561 (Morrison) which, as amended, bans the use of electronic cigarettes in indoor public spaces. Passed the Senate Executive Committee 10-4.  

·        HB 2547 (Olickal) which creates the Warehouse Worker Protection Act. Passed the House Labor Committee 18-10. Identical legislation, SB 1908 (Villanueva) was postponed in the Senate Executive Committee.

·        SB 76 (Rezin) which would end the state’s moratorium on building new nuclear reactors.  Passed the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee 15-1.

Representative Thaddeus Jones was seriously injured in a multi-vehicle crash the evening of March 2. Reports indicate that it will be several weeks before he can return to session in Springfield. Jones, who has served in the House since 2011, is chair of the House Insurance Committee.

The Senate Transportation will hold a subject matter hearing on March 14 at 11:00 am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago to discuss accessibility, affordability, equity, safety, and funding for public transportation in the RTA service area.

COGFA Revenue Update: This week, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability increased the revenue estimate for the current fiscal year by $575 million. The latest revision anticipates revenues for the fiscal year that ends June 30 to exceed original estimates by $5.5 billion bringing the total revenue project to $51.9 billion. Much of the anticipated revenue has already been allocated. Approximately $3.6 billion was appropriated in a supplemental spending package in the January lame duck session; and the Governor’s budget proposal anticipates spending another $490 million by the end of the fiscal year. Next fiscal year’s revenue projections were also readjusted upward and are now $465 million above the governor’s budget office forecast from last month. Read more here.

COGFA February Revenue Report: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issued its Revenue Report for the month of February. From the report: “For the ninth consecutive month, including all eight months so far in FY 2023, General Funds revenues have increased compared to the same month of the prior fiscal year. The last drop occurred in May of 2022. February 2023 revenues were $256 million higher than last year, mainly on the strength of income tax revenues. February had the same number of receipting days as last year.

After experiencing a slight setback in January, Individual Income Tax revenues bounced back strongly

in February with a gross gain of $252 million. When removing the non-general fund distributions to

the Refund Fund and the Local Government Distributive Fund, the net increase was $213 million.

Corporate Income Tax revenues continued their positive performance for the fiscal year with an increase of $29 million or $24 million net. Similarly, Sales Tax revenues had another strong month, growing $99 million with a net gain of $58 million.

The remaining State sources had mixed results, but still managed to combine for a $50 million gain.

The growth was led by Interest Income, which again benefitted from the recent interest rate hikes,

prompting another sizeable increase of $52 million. More modest increases came from Insurance

Taxes [+$6 million], Public Utility Taxes [+$3 million], and miscellaneous State sources [+$2

million]. The growth from these lines helped offset revenue declines from the Inheritance Tax [-$10

million], the Corporate Franchise Tax [-$2 million], and the Cigarette Tax [-$1 million].

Transfers In combined to fall $15 million in February. Relatively small increases in Lottery Transfers

[+$3 million] and Gaming Transfers [+$3 million] were more than offset by year-over-year declines

in miscellaneous transfers [-$20 million] and Cannabis Transfers [-$1 million]. Federal Sources also

fell in February, with revenues $74 million below the monthly total from last year.” 

Read the full report here.

2023 Key Dates: 

March 10:          Deadline – Substantive Bills Out of Committee in both chambers 

March 24:          Deadline – Third Reading Deadline – Substantive House Bills in the House 

March 31:          Deadline – Third Reading Deadline – Substantive Senate Bills in the Senate 

April 4:               Consolidated Election 

April 28:             Deadline – Substantive Bills Out of Committee in both chambers 

May 11:              Deadline – Third Reading Substantive House Bills in Senate 

May 12:              Deadline – Third Reading Substantive Senate Bills in House 

May 19:              Adjournment 


Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center: Illinois launched a new Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center which is designed to increase the state’s capacity to recruit, educate, and retain behavioral health professionals.  The Center, which will be housed at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine, was created in partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Jane Addams College of Social Work, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS).

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will serve as the primary administrative hub in Springfield, providing coordination and support for building the behavioral health workforce pipeline and increasing entry into the field. The UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work will serve as the secondary hub, supporting specific data collection and training initiatives. Public and independent universities, as well as community colleges in ten regions, will be invited to participate as partners to increase the statewide impact.

SIU SOM, UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work, and all consortium members will coordinate programs and oversee initiatives to increase the behavioral healthcare workforce and its capacity to provide high-quality behavioral health services across the state.

The Center will receive a $5 million annual investment from the Department of Human Services to help both rural and urban areas of our state address the behavioral healthcare crisis to increase access to effective services.

Lead Service Line Replacement: The Illinois Environmental Protection announced a second funding opportunity to assist communities in meeting the requirements outlined in the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act (LSLRN Act). The Lead Service Line Inventory (LSLI) Grant Program offers grants to local government units ranging from $20,000 – $50,000 to fund the creation of a complete lead service line inventory. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has been posted to the Illinois EPA website.

The latest LSLI NOFO, and all required forms and information is here. Applications for the LSLI Grant Program will be accepted March 3, 2023, through 1:00 PM (CST) on April 25, 2023.

All applicants must pre-qualify through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal.

New Teacher Pipeline: A new teacher pipeline initiative is aimed at addressing chronic shortages in the state’s most understaffed districts. The proposed Teacher Pipeline Grant Program will direct $70 million per year over the next three years to the 170 school districts with the greatest need to fill teaching positions.

The Teacher Pipeline Grant Program will allow districts maximum flexibility to use the funds in innovative, creative, and evidenced-based ways, such as offering signing bonuses, housing stipends, down-payment assistance, or loan repayments; paying tuition and fees or providing residencies or apprenticeships; and sustaining current teachers by providing materials, supplies, coaching, and school culture supports.

ISBE will also utilize $6 million in federal funds to procure a multimedia advertising and marketing firm to develop and implement a statewide teacher recruitment campaign.

Gubernatorial Appointments: 

Governor Pritzker appointed the following: 

  • Donna Leak will continue to serve as a Member of the Illinois State Board of Education.
  • Jason Lesniewicz will continue to serve as a Trustee on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Board of Trustees.
  • Cherita Ellens will serve as a Member of the Labor Advisory Board
  • Mary Huffman will serve as a Member of the Illinois State Medical Board.

Department of Corrections: Illinois Department of Corrections Director Rob Jeffreys is stepping down from his position, effective April 1, 2023. IDOC Chief of Staff Latoya J. Hughes will serve as Acting Director in the interim.

Fire District Grants: The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal named the recipients of the 2023 Small Equipment Grant Program. A total of $1.5 million was awarded to 64 fire departments/districts and EMS providers across the state. The program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 each for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. Read more here.

Energy Transition Community Grants: More than 50 localities and municipal entities will receive Energy Transition Community Grants – an initiative under the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that provides funding for communities that have been impacted by fossil fuel plant or coal mine closures or significant reductions. Communities in 22 areas impacted by recent or impending plant or mine closures or reductions were eligible to apply for the program. Read more here.

Capital Program Website Launched: The Illinois Department of Transportation unveiled a new webpage dedicated to keeping the public informed of the progress of the Rebuild Illinois capital program. The online dashboard offers up-to-date cumulative data on accomplishments for improving roads and bridges since the 2019 passage of Rebuild Illinois.

Via the dashboard, the public can find information on the number of projects awarded, miles and bridges improved and safety improvements completed, as well as the total amount of investment that has been made. The page will be updated on a quarterly basis, adding accomplishments as the year progresses. Click here to access the dashboard.

Executive Order: Executive Order 2023-05 reissues previous Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic through April 1, 2023.


Evidenced Based Funding: The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability released a report reviewing the Evidenced Based school funding formula. The report concludes “The Evidence Based Funding for Student Success Act, or EBF has worked towards its promise of closing Illinois’ drastic funding and achievement gaps between schools in property-rich and property-poor districts, as well as between schools in predominantly white communities and schools that serve predominantly students of color.” Read the report here.

Assault Weapons Ban: The Illinois Supreme Court granted an expedited appeal of a Macon County judges recently ruling on the state’s newly enacted assault weapons ban. Capitol News offers more here.

BCBS Fined by Illinois Department of Insurance: The Illinois Department of Insurance levied a $605,000 fine for Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, for violating the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act.

Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) paid the fine and agreed to take corrective action based on the exam findings. The Department will conduct follow up exams to ensure the company remains in compliance. The Market Conduct Exam Final Report can be found here.

The final report found that BCBS:

• Failed to properly apply maximum time and distance standards to reflect proper availability of providers.

• Failed to audit for each network plan at least 25% of its provider directories to verify

the accuracies of the provider directories.

• Failed to list all available specialty providers for HMO plans in its provider directories

or notate that authorization may be required to access some providers.

• Failed to make its provider directories clear for consumers to determine which directory applies to which plans.

• Failed to provide a written response to written inquiries and complaints within 21 days

of receipt.

• Failed to provide accurate and most up-to-date network adequacy information in its SERFF filings to the state.

• Failed to maintain provider information on its website to reflect the current status of its providers.