March 21, 2020 Update

The Illinois General Assembly is still in session. Our team continues to monitor all bill and amendment introductions. Both republican and democrat caucuses continue to meet via conference call. As you know, our team has people in Springfield on a full-time basis. We will continue to operate from home and monitor any and all issues that come up. Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions or concerns.
Session for next week is cancelled. The deadline to pass substantive bills out of committee has been extended to April 3rd in both chambers. Members have been advised to be prepared to return to session at any time, including during the previously scheduled April spring break. With the extension of the committee deadline, the Senate asked all members and staff to please hold off filing of amendments to allow staff to work remotely from home. House Rules did meet this week and assigned several bills to standing committees. Those bills could be considered when the General Assembly reconvenes.

Yesterday, Governor Pritzker issued a Stay at Home order effective today at 5pm through April 7th.  A copy of the Order is attached.  The Governor’s Office provided the following information:Essential Activities:
* For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional
* For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences
* For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds
* For certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations
* To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another householdEssential Government Functions:* All services provided by state and local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public
* This Executive Order does not apply to the United States government
Essential Businesses and Operations:
* Healthcare and Public Health Operations: Working at or obtaining services from hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities; healthcare manufacturers and suppliers; blood banks; medical cannabis facilities; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers; ancillary healthcare services – including veterinary care and excluding fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities
* Human Services Operations: any provider funded by DHS, DCFS or Medicaid; long-term care facilities; home-based and residential settings for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with disabilities or mental illness; transitional facilities; field offices for food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services or rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for needy individuals – excluding day care centers, day care homes, group day care homes and day care centers licensed as specified in Section 12(s) of the order
Essential Infrastructure: 
Working in food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems
* Stores that sell groceries and medicine
* Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture
* Organizations that provide charitable and social services
* Media
* Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
* Financial institutions
* Hardware and supply stores
* Critical trades, includingplumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers that maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, 
Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations
* Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
* Educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions
* Laundry services
* Restaurants for consumption off-premises
* Supplies to work from home
* Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
* Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel
* Home-based care and services
* Residential facilities and shelters
* Professional services
* Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order
* Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
* Critical labor union functions
* Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
* Funeral services
All non-essential business and operations must cease, aside from Minimum Basic Operations. Business can continue with employees working from home. Minimum Basic Operations includes the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of inventory, preserve plant and equipment condition, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits and facilitate employees working remotely.
The order also closes licensed child care centers and all childcare homes serving more than six children. The Pritzker administration is working to expand the availability of child care for essential workers, while protecting the health of the children and child care teachers and home providers. A new Emergency Child Care Center license is being created with more flexibility but much smaller group sizes to ensure social distancing for children in care.
Only essential travel is permitted at this time and must be done in accordance with social distancing requirements. That includes travel related to:
* Performing Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses and Operations or Minimum Basic Operations
* Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons
* Receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services from an educational institution
* Returning to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction
* Following the direction of law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement
* Returning to a place of residence outside the State for non-residents
Here is a link to the frequently asked questions information.  On Thursday the Governor issued an Executive Order that expands telemedicine for both Medicaid and those who are privately insured. This order will allow more providers to get reimbursed for these services and allow patients more flexibility and safety in getting the medical guidance and care that they need.   The order also defers sales tax payments for small and medium sized bars and restaurants in Illinois. Any eating and drinking establishment that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liability will not be charged any penalties or interest on payments due in March, April of May if those payments are paid late. More information is here .

  • Secretary of State Jessie White closed all offices under his jurisdiction, including Driver Services facilities, through March 31st. Emergency Rules are extending expiration dates for driver’s license, vehicle registration and other transactions and document filings by 30 days. White is also joining other Secretary of State’s in asking the federal government to delay the implementation of the REAL ID deadline.
  • The Department of Human Services issued guidance to community service providers informing providers that they will not be financially penalized if they slow or stop services during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department is asking all providers to continue to pay staff during this time.
  • RTA customer service offices are closed as of Monday, March 16, until further notice.  The RTA staff will work remotely and help is available by phone. 
  • Attorney General Kwame Raoul encourages Illinois residents to file complaints about price gouging on essential items related to the COVID-19 outbreak – such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, disinfectant sprays & protective gear – on the Attorney General’s website. Raoul’s office is monitoring products on websites including Amazon, eBay and Facebook, and contacting companies regarding ads or offers that may be problematic. The Attorney General’s office will continue to investigate and attempt to mediate allegations of unfair pricing.
  • Small businesses are now eligible for up to $2 million each in low interest loans to help pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Business owners and non-profit leaders can apply for these loans here.
  • IDFPR is extending the deadline for licenses that expire between March and July 1st and for continuing education requirements. The new deadline for both license expiration and continuing education is September 30th. A complete list of professions with extended renewal deadlines can be found here. 
  • Many stores are offering special senior only shopping hours. A listing of stores offering special hours is here.
  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot extended the Chicago Public School closure through April 20th. Governor Pritzker warned Illinois parents to be prepared for a possible extension of school closures statewide.
  • IDFPR issued new COVID-19 guidance for cannabis dispensaries.
  • Governor Pritzker activated the Illinois National Guard to help support efforts to set up mobile testing units. In the long-term, the Guard is planning for the weeks and months ahead, including expanding healthcare capacity by potentially refitting and reopening previously closed hospitals.