GOVERNOR’S HIGHLIGHTS:Adult-Use Cannabis Update: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is filing rules to simplify the cannabis dispensary license application process, remove barriers for social equity applicants and expand opportunities to target the communities most impacted by the war on drugs. IDFPR is required by statute to issue at least 50 new adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses by the end of the year. More information is here.
SECRETARY OF STATE UPDATE: Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits are being extended until July 31, 2022. The previous extension was set to end on March 31, 2022. This extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and CDL learner’s permits.
102nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Illinois House was in session this week, March 15 – 17. The House focused primarily on considering legislation at the committee level. The Illinois Senate was not in session this week, however several appropriations subcommittees held virtual hearings to review agency budget requests. The Appropriations committees in the House and Senate finished the task of examining agency budget requests this week. Both chambers will now begin the process of identifying and prioritizing changes they would like to see to the Governor’s introduced budget and then work together to see how those priorities align. The goal remains to pass a budget by April 8th.
Legislators are also wrestling with how to allocate the remaining $3.5 billion in ARPA funds and how much of those funds should be kept in reserve. Leader Harris said budget makers are receiving worthy requests from numerous sectors such as hotels, the hospitality industry, arts, culture, museums, other business groups, and affordable housing providers. Right now, $2 billion in ARPA funds are being targeted to address the shortfall in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund although Harris said that figure could change pending the outcome of negotiations.
Legislation to address the shortfall in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, SB 2803 (Holmes/Harris), passed the House Executive Committee by a vote of 9-5 and is now pending before the full House. As currently drafted, the bill appropriates $2 billion of ARPA funds to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund – an amount which only partially addresses the $4 billion shortfall. Leader Harris noted this week that the $2 billion appropriation represents 25% of Illinois’ ARPA funds and is consistent with the amount other states are allocating from the federal funds. Negotiations continue on how to address the remaining $2.5 billion shortfall. Options on the table include bonding the remaining portion of the debt. Negotiators hope to reach a solution that will restore a surplus to the Trust Fund. Legislation to create the Manufacturing Illinois Chips for Real Opportunity (MICRO) Act, SB 3917 (Glowiak Hilton/Halpin), was the subject of a hearing before the House Revenue Committee this week. The bill creates incentives for companies to relocate or expand microchip operations in Illinois. SB 3917 is scheduled for another hearing in the House Revenue Committee next week.
House Democrats unveiled legislation this week that they say represents Illinois’ response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. House Amendment # 1 to HB1293 (LaPointe) creates the Money Laundering in Real Estate Task Force to assess the exposure of real estate sectors in Illinois to illicit Russian money. The amendment further grants the Department of Human Services emergency rulemaking authority to create a Ukraine Refugee Resettlement Program to provide resettlement services, including health care services, mental health services, and English language services, to certain Ukrainian nationals. The amendment also prohibits the investment of State monies in certain investments or institutions tied to Russia or Belarus. The amendment is pending in the House Rules committee. HB 1293 is on 2nd Reading in the House.
COMING UP: The Illinois House and Senate are both scheduled to be in session March 22 – March 25. Friday, March 25 is the committee deadline for bills in the opposite chamber. Three weeks remain in the scheduled spring session.