March 13, 2020 Update

Gov. J. B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation, Illinois’ version of a state of emergency, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The proclamation formalizes emergency procedures across state government by activating the State Emergency Operations Center, physically bringing together decision-makers from every state agency and the state’s mutual aid network to deploy resources as necessary.
A disaster proclamation does the following:

  • Allows federal reimbursement for state response costs.
  • Allows use of the State Disaster Relief Fund, covering direct state costs and reimbursements to Illinois National Guard and mutual aid groups.
  • Allows use of the state’s mutual aid network, groups of public safety response professionals, including hundreds of health care providers and management professionals, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians and disaster response professionals, that is available to deploy to areas of shortage.
  • Authorizes the Governor to activate Illinois National Guard reservists, some of whom may be doctors and nurses.
  • Allows expedited procurement should it be necessary.
  • Authorizes additional executive authorities to protect public health and safety.

 Gov. Pritzker also asked all election authorities to extend the deadline to allow voters to vote by mail. Tuesday, March 17th is Illinois’ Primary Election. An increase in mail in ballots has the potential to delay final results in some close races. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has asked all Illinois businesses to restrict unnecessary travel and to review sick leave policies. The Department of Employment Security will file emergency rules regarding unemployment for workers unable to work due to COVID-19. Pritzker further ordered a stop to gatherings of more than 1,000 people, encouraged companies to let their employees work from home, and restricted public access to the James R. Thompson Center. All major sporting events in Chicago are cancelled until at least May1st. Illinois’ schools and the Chicago Transit Authority will remain open “for now”. The Governor went one step further to recommend that community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled or postponed until May 1st, including personal and social events. Rebuild Illinois: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced that $80 million in Rebuild Illinois funds is now available to invest in public infrastructure and economic development. These funds will support local governments as well as other entities on projects that will help create jobs, expand economic opportunity, and improve the infrastructure communities rely on to thrive.
This week, DCEO will issue a competitive notice of funding opportunity that will allow communities and stakeholders to apply for these funds. 
Public infrastructure ($50 million).  Units of local government are eligible to apply for public infrastructure grants of up to $5 million by June 30th.  Funds can be used to support investment in publicly-owned infrastructure such as water and sewer main replacement, improvements to rail, air, or water ports; repair, or extension; gas and utility extensions; improving publicly owned industrial and commercial sites; upgrading water purification and waste disposal systems; water tower maintenance; and dredging waterways, among other public uses. 
Regional Economic Development ($16.5 million).  Local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million on a rolling basis.  Funds can be used to support a range of activities including architectural planning and engineering design, land and building acquisition, demolition, costs related to site selection and preparation, utility work, and new construction, among other uses. 
Shovel-Ready Sites ($13 million).  Local governments, economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, and private companies will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million for most projects and $1 million for brownfield rehabilitation on a rolling basis.  These funds will support investment in sites with great economic development potential that require additional investment in order to become shovel-ready. This includes costs such as site acquisition; environmental site assessment; architectural planning and engineering design; demolition; utility work; and other construction work related to site preparation and improvement. For additional information on these funds, prospective applicants can visit DCEO’s website here
Adult Use Cannabis:In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker issued an executive order that directs the Department of Agriculture to accept all cannabis craft grower, infuser and transporter license applications via mail rather than accept them in-person. The deadline to submit applications for Adult Use Cannabis Craft Grower, Infuser, and Transporter licenses has been extended to March 30, 2020. All applications received after 5pm Central today must be submitted via United States Postal Service certified mail. Submissions via UPS, FedEx, or other mail delivery services will not be accepted.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced one more “Same Site” adult use cannabis license was awarded to:
The Green Solution
501 W. Northtown Rd.
Normal, IL 61761 

The General Assembly was on break this week to allow legislators time to be home in their districts ahead of the March 17th Primary Election. Both chambers cancelled session for the week of March 18th due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, both chambers are scheduled to return to session on March 24th, but that is subject to change. All previously scheduled committee hearings are being canceled as well. President Harmon noted that leaders are monitoring the situation closely. There is no word yet on how this cancelation may impact legislative deadlines.The Secretary of State, who oversees the Capitol Complex, has cancelled all upcoming “lobby days” and Capitol building tours until further notice.