March 15, 2024 Update


The Illinois General Assembly adjourned for the week. The Senate cancelled today’s session. Following Tuesday’s primary election, both chambers are scheduled to be in session Wednesday, March 20 through Friday, March 22. Today is the deadline to pass substantive legislation out of Senate Committees. As in years past, deadline extensions are likely.

On Tuesday, the Secretary of State Police received notice of a threat involving the State Capitol. Out of an abundance of caution, a building lockdown order was issued, and Secretary of State Police and Springfield Police conducted a sweep of the capitol grounds, which revealed no evidence of a credible threat and no imminent danger was identified. The lockdown was lifted at approximately 3 p.m. 

Highlights from this week at the Capitol:

By a vote of 6 – 3, the House Consumer Protection Committee approved HB 4629 (Morgan, targeting surprise “junk fees.” The legislation – which now heads to the full house – mandates upfront disclosures of the total price of goods or services and authorizes the Attorney General to enforce the provisions. The Senate Judiciary Committee considered companion junk fee legislation on SB 3331  (Aquino). The Senate sponsor committed to working on an amendment to narrow the scope of the legislation. SB 3331 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, as amended, by a vote of 6-2 and goes to the full Senate. Read more here.

Part of Governor Pritzker’s birth equity initiative is contained in HB 5142 (Gabel) and passed by a vote of 6-4 out of the House Healthcare Availability and Accessibility Committee. Requiring private insurance to pay for the same birth coverage – before, during and after birth – as Medicaid, the bill  now heads to the full House. Meanwhile, the Senate Insurance Committee held a subject matter hearing on companion legislation –  SB 3665 (Collins); it remains in Committee.

Winning approval 6-3 in the Senate Judiciary Committee was SB 2979 (Cunningham) which addresses the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. Specifically, the legislation defines “electronic signature” and provides that “written release” includes an electronic signature. It also provides that it is a single violation – not multiple violations – when a private entity more than once collects or discloses a person’s biometric data from the same person. A coalition of business groups oppose the legislation primarily because it is not retroactive and prevents businesses from deploying proven and reliable technology for security and protection purposes. The coalition consists of: the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Railroad Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Trucking Association, and the National Federation of Independent Business Illinois. SB 2979 now heads to the full Senate.

The House Human Services Committee held a lengthy subject matter hearing on HCA # 1 to HB 5395 (Moeller) which creates the Health Care Consumer Access and Protection Act. The legislation, which is an initiative of Governor Pritzker, seeks to: ban step therapy entirely, ban prior authorization for in-patient mental health care,0 establish statewide standards on clinical criteria when performing utilization review; prohibit insurance companies from selling Short Term Limited Duration Plans; require insurers to publicly list all treatments that require prior authorization; and prevent insurance companies from unfairly increasing rates on consumers.   Chair Moeller indicated the legislation will be considered at next week’s House Human Services Committee. Companion legislation, SB 3739 (Peters), is in the Senate Insurance Committee. SCA # 1 to SB 3739 remains in the Senate Committee on Assignments. Governor Pritzker and advocates held a Wednesday press conference to promote the legislation. Read the full press release here.  Capitol News offers more here.

The Senate Public Health Committee approved, by a vote of 6 -2, SB 3751 (Simmons) which creates the Equitable Health Outcomes Act. The Act creates the Health Outcomes Review Board to provide annual data to the Illinois Department of Public Health, healthcare providers, and the General Assembly. Now before the full Senate, the legislation “ … is modeled after health boards that were just created in California, Florida, Vermont and a number of other states,” said sponsor Simmons. “Really, it’s for communities that have historically been underserved and lack access to equitable healthcare and have greater risk of succumbing to sickness and disease.” 

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 3325 (Edly-Allen) to protect artists and music labels from third-party creation of music using AI and replication of their voices without permission. The legislation now heads to the full Senate; read more here. Companion legislation — HB 4875 (Gong Gershowitz)– was approved 11-3 in the House Judiciary Committee and will be considered by the full House.

The Senate Executive Committee unanimously approved SFA 2 to SB 1 (Lightford) creating the Department of Early Childhood to be the lead agency for early childhood education and care programs and services to families. The legislation contains a two-year phase out from the lead agency to the new agency.  AFSCME and IFT oppose the legislation as drafted as it does not include the types of employee protections the unions typically see with agency consolidations.  Leader Lightford pledged to work with the unions to reach acceptable language. SFA # 2 is now on the Senate Floor.

Unanimous approval was granted by the Senate Judiciary Committee to  SB 3652 (Peters). The measure requires the Illinois Department of Human Rights to create a summary outlining the rights and courses of action for tenants and their household members who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence. This includes the right to: end a lease early; change locks for safety reasons; and access relevant housing protections. SB 3652 now heads to the full Senate.

SB 2639 (Hastings) passed out of the Senate Insurance Committee unanimously and now goes before the full Senate. The legislation requires insurance companies to cover infertility treatments that are recommended by a physician without requiring a patient to complete treatments that were deemed ineffective by their doctor.

The use of artificial intelligence in healthcare was the topic of this week’s joint subject matter hearing of the House Insurance and Health Care Licenses Committees — the first such hearing in Illinois. The Department of Insurance testified that it’s their responsibility to protect consumers and that it recognizes the benefits of AI, but also acknowledged that they cannot let insurance companies use AI unchecked. The Department said that it has joined some five other states in adopting and issuing the NAIC AI Bulletin. Representatives of the insurance industry and providers also testified. Central to the discussions was the benefits of AI in healthcare while meeting the challenge of its being deployed safely and preventing abuse without stifling innovation.  

Representative Hoffman filed HFA # 1 to HB 569 which establishes a regulatory framework to advance carbon capture and storage projects in Illinois. Aspects addressed include landowner protections, support for local first responders, and numerous safety and accountability provisions. The proposal reflects months of negotiations with stakeholders and is supported by a coalition of business, labor and agriculture groups. This week, supporters held a press conference advocating for the legislation.  HFA # 1 is assigned to the House Energy and Environment Committee. A shell bill was filed in the Senate on SB 3311 (Cunningham); it remains in the Committee on Assignments. Read more here and here.

Opponents to SB 3499 (Holmes), which authorizes physician assisted suicide in Illinois for people who have less than six months to live, held a press conference at the Capitol this week. Access Living expressed concerns that this legislation might negatively impact people with disabilities, particularly in the area of coercion and physician misunderstanding the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Concerns were also noted about the difficulty to predict end of life timeframes – hospice patients often outlive their projected life expectancy. While acknowledging that the scope of the Illinois legislation may be narrow now, there is the risk that the scope could be easily amended and expanded in the future. Opponents also criticized legislation for not requiring a mental health assessment, arguing that its absence legitimizes and encourages suicide. Opponents noted they would rather advocate for additional mental health, palliative care and hospice options.

Changes to state law to safeguard women’s reproductive health and fertility treatment information are being urged by Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Iris Martinez and former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The Women’s Right to Privacy Act would automatically seal or redact details about an individual’s reproductive health in court documents. The push comes as more states are restricting access to abortion and threaten to prosecute those who travel to obtain reproductive healthcare. Information such as whether a person had an abortion; underwent fertility treatment; was sexually assaulted; experienced a miscarriage; or used birth control could be redacted. If enacted, Illinois would be the first state to adopt such a law. No legislation has been filed at this time. Read more here.

2024 Key Dates and Session Deadlines:

March 15: Senate Committee Deadline for Senate Bills

March 19: Primary Election

April 5: House Committee Deadline for House Bills

April 12: Senate Third Reading Deadline

April 19: House Third Reading Deadline

May 3: Committee Deadline for Bills in the Opposite Chamber

May 17: House and Senate Third Reading Deadline for Bills in the Opposite Chamber

May 24: Adjournment

May 25 – 31: Contingent Session Days


Health Benefits for Immigrants: The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will begin annual redeterminations – also known as eligibility verifications – for Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) program enrollees. It will mirror the redetermination process used in traditional Medicaid.  HFS has filed amended emergency rules to implement the changes, projecting that they will impact about 6,000 current enrollees and will save about $13 million. Read more here.  The Chicago Tribune offers more here. 

Innovation Voucher Program: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is offering $3 million in grant funding through the Innovation Voucher Program, teaming up Illinois companies engaged in research with Illinois universities. The program zeroes in on small- and mid-sized businesses and higher education institutions. The Innovation Voucher Program seeks to accelerate the commercial application of cutting-edge technology and create jobs across the state.  Qualified entities can apply for competitive grants, with awards up to $75,000. Read more here.

EV Charging Station Funding Opportunity: The Illinois Department of Transportation is offering up to $50 million in a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the construction of 46 charging stations. Funding comes under the Illinois National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program. The application deadline is May 7 at 5 p.m. More information is here.

Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Grants: The Illinois EPA is offering $4.75 million to address nonpoint source pollution through two Section 319(h) Grant Program Notices of Funding Opportunity. The funds can be used to develop, update, and implement watershed-based management plans — including information and education programs and the installation of best management practices.

Find the NOFO and more info on Illinois EPA’s Nonpoint Source Grants webpage. Applications for the Section 319(h) Grant program will be accepted through noon on May 1, 2024; they must be submitted through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal.

Local Tourism Grants Awarded: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded $4.6 million in grant funding to 20 local tourism organizations. The monies are through the Tourism Private Sector Grant Program, aimed at boosting tourism and welcoming more visitors to Illinois. A list of recipients is here.

Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker appointed Morgan Winters as the State-Based Marketplace Director within the Illinois Department of Insurance.


Election Update: Next Tuesday, March 19, is the primary election in Illinois. Election results will be provided next week in a special election edition report.

Chicago Bears: Instead of building a new stadium at the site of the former Arlington Park Racetrack, the Chicago Bears are touting a new plan to invest $2 billion to build a new domed stadium as well as public owned park space in Chicago’s Museum campus area. The plan, which would increase open space by almost 20%, would include all-season free and accessible plazas, paths, landscaped and planted areas, and provide access to the lakefront. Read more here.

Measles Reported in Chicago Migrant Shelter: Several migrants at the city’s largest migrant shelter have contracted measles, prompting the health department to screen and vaccinate shelter residents. A team from the CDC arrived Tuesday to help with the response. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Human Services are quarantining individuals at a Chicago are hotel. As of Thursday, 26 households comprised of 98 family members, 48 of which are children are quarantining at the hotel. Amid the public health concerns, several a0ldermen are calling on Mayor Johnson to pause the 60-day shelter stay policy. Saturday is the first eviction deadline. Read more here.

COGFA Revenue Estimates: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability increased its General Funds revenue estimate from the FY 2024 Enacted Budget’s assumed revenue figure of $50.611 billion to $52.590 billion, an increase of $1.979 billion. A significant portion of this increase comes from $981 million in one-time revenues.  Note the Commission’s estimate for FY24 revenues is $374 million more than the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimates.

The Commission notes, “The Personal Income Tax revenue estimate is not being adjusted at this time as the Commission will monitor the volatile final tax payment season before making any upward adjustment. While revenues from the Corporate Income Tax and the Sales Tax have trended lower throughout much of FY 2024, their year-to-date performance is slightly above original expectations, resulting in modest net increases of $267 million and $72 million, respectively. The largest revenue increases come from a $575 million upward adjustment in All Other State Sources, mainly due to increases in Interest on State Funds & Investments and Inheritance Tax projections because of YTD performance. Transfers In is also being revised up $392 million thanks to a higher-than-anticipated Income Tax Refund Fund Transfer. The Commission will adopt GOMB’s Federal Source (Base) estimate, and its -$208 million downward adjustment.”

Projecting into FY25, COGFA estimates that General Funds revenues will total approximately $52.077 billion – a figure that is $513 million below COGFA’s revised FY24 forecast of $52.590 billion. This decline is due to the absence of $881 million in one-time revenues that were receipted in FY 2024 and will not repeat in FY 2025. Once these non-base sources are removed from the equation, base revenues are expected to have a modest gain of $368 million in FY25.

The Commission notes “Although employment and wage growth is expected to wane in FY25, Personal Income Tax net revenues are projected to still rise $847 million in FY 2025. Another notable “true-up” is expected to boost PIT revenues in FY 2025, helping to offset the impacts of weaker growth in taxable income. A significant falloff in Corporate Income Tax revenues of $545 million (net) is anticipated in FY 2025. This reduction is due to several factors: corporate profits are expected to slow from its recent strong levels due to a growing trend of stagnant sales; the Net Operating Loss (NOL) deduction returns without a cap, which means built up losses from past years will be able to be deducted in FY 2025; another “true-up” reallocation of businesses-related income tax payments is expected in FY 2025, which will negatively impact CIT revenues.”

Read the full report here. Capitol News offers a breakdown here.

IEA State of Education Poll Released: The Illinois Education Association released its sixth annual State of Education Report. The poll results show Illinoisans believe all students have a right to a public education and support public schools, but they also acknowledge teaching has grown even more difficult and support solutions to address the problems.

“It’s abundantly clear that the people of Illinois see the hard work our educators are doing and they deeply value public education,” said IEA President Al Llorens. “We can look at the results of this poll over the last several years and clearly see a trend: people have a growing appreciation for their teachers, education support staff and our higher education faculty and staff. But they also know teachers and support staff jobs have gotten much more difficult, and that they’re still underpaid and undervalued.”.

The poll, conducted by both a Democrat polling firm, Normington Petts, and a Republican pollster, Next Generation Strategies, surveyed 1,000 Illinoisans Jan. 22-25. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent with 95 percent confidence. Read the report here.

Climate Ready Chicago: A new report issued by the Urban Land Institute Chicago says the city should limit emissions from certain buildings. Emissions limits would be phased in over time with the ultimate goal of reaching clean energy. Read more here.