March 22, 2024 Update


The Illinois General Assembly adjourned this week after meeting Wednesday through Friday. There will be no session next week. The Illinois House will return to session Tuesday, April 2 for four days. Friday, April 5 is the House committee deadline. The Senate is off for two weeks, returning Tuesday, April 9.

As expected, the Senate extended the committee deadline for 398 bills. The full list is here.

HB 5395 (Moeller), which creates the Health Care Consumer Access and Protection Act, passed out of the House Human Services Committee on a 6-3 vote.   An initiative of Governor Pritzker, the legislation seeks to: ban step therapy entirely; ban prior authorization for in-patient mental health care; establish statewide standards on clinical criteria when performing utilization reviews; 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. The sponsor indicated she intends to work on an additional amendment before the bill is voted on by the full House. HB 5395 is now pending before the full House.

Protecting Illinois children from social media is the aim of  HB 5380 (Gong-Gershowitz) which passed unanimously from the House Consumer Protection Committee. By creating the Let Parents Choose Protection Act, the bill gives parents the option of using third party safety software on all major social media platforms (such as Snapchat, Google, You Tube, Reddit, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram).  The sponsor pledged to continue conversations about “legitimate concerns”, but that she will not commit to appeasing tech companies.   HB 5380 now heads to the full House.

Legislation to create the Portable Batteries Stewardship Act – HB 5348 (Chung) – is now before the full House after passing from the House Energy and Environment Committee by a vote of 20-2. 

Units of local government could regulate the use of drones (for example, over parks, playgrounds, wildlife areas, or other recreational facilities) under HB 4715 (Rita). The bill had unanimous approval by the House Executive Committee and is now pending before the full House. The sponsor pledged to continue working on the legislation.

Legislation to create a mobile driver’s license/identification card – HB 4592 (Buckner) unanimously passed the House Transportation Committee. The proposed legislation would authorize the Illinois Secretary of State to create and issue mobile Identification Cards and Drivers Licenses. HB 4592 is now pending before the full House.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 3420 (Gillespie), which now heads to the full Senate. The measure provides that unfair service agreements cannot be enforced, and it is unlawful for a business to enter into such an agreement with a consumer. 

The Digital Voice and Likeness Protection Act would be created by HB 4762 (Gong Gershowitz); it passed unanimously from the House Judiciary Committee and now heads to the full House.

Making psilocybin legal for medical treatment of mental health conditions would occur under SB 3695(Ventura). The Senate Executive Committee held a subject matter hearing on the bill, which would create the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act. According to proponents, 23 states are pursuing similar legislation, and their testimony promoted the benefits of psilocybin for treating various mental health conditions including drug resistant depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction, anxiety and others. Read more here and here.

Speaker Welch formed a Teacher Shortage Working Group to address vacancies in Illinois schools and explore recruitment and retention of qualified educators. Representative Katie Stuart will lead the new initiative. Other members: Representatives Harry Benton, Sharon Chung, Fred Crespo, Will Davis, Laura Faver Dias, Michelle Mussman, Aaron Ortiz and Sue Scherer. More info here.

2024 Key Dates and Session Deadlines:

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


New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed SB 15 (Harmon), which divides Chicago into 10 districts and 20 subdistricts for determining members of the Chicago Board of Education (BoE). Later this year, the Mayor will appoint the BoE President and 10 members. Then in the 2024 general election, an additional 10 members will be elected. All members of the Chicago Board of Education will be elected in the 2026 general election.

Major General Rich Neely to Retire: After 40 years of service, May will bring retirement for Major General Rich Neely — Adjutant General for Illinois, Commander of the Illinois National Guard, and Director of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs. Replacing him will be Major General Rodney Boyd.

Executive Order 2024-01: Providing a framework for financing and expanding access to new therapies and medications –like the recently approved gene therapies for Sickle Cell Disease – are the essence of Executive Order 2024-01 recently signed by the Governor. The measure directs the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to establish — within the Illinois Medicaid program — financial structures for access to new sickle cell disease treatments and other new high-cost drugs and treatment.  The EO also creates the Advisory Council on Financing and Access to Sickle Cell Disease Treatment and Other High-Cost Drugs and Treatment; it is to deliver a set of recommendations by December 31. The new Advisory Council is to bring a special emphasis to value- and outcome-based models and identify payment and financing options. Read more here.

Next General Capacity Building Initiative: The inaugural class of the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative has been announced; the effort zeros in on capital, training, and technical assistance to reduce barriers to entry for developers of color. Both the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation are spearheading Next Gen. The initial cohort of 21 emerging developers will help further Illinois’ goal of growing a diverse pool of affordable housing developers. Read more here.

EPA Funding Opportunity for Sharps Collection: The Illinois EPA is offering grants to units of local government for household waste collection and disposal of sharps (needles, syringes and lancets). Up to $35,000 per applicant will be awarded, to cover the expenses of collecting, storing, and disposing of used sharps. Possible eligible expenses: purchase of collection containers for use not only by individual residents but also at collection stations; mobilization fees from Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) transporters to pick up collected sharps; and disposal fees for the collected sharps. Application deadline is June 25, 2024. A Notice of Funding Opportunity is here. Required forms and info here.

IDPH Issues Standing Order for Asthma Inhalers: The Illinois Department of Public Health signed a standing order allowing trained personnel in schools to use “undesignated” asthma inhalers to treat students with respiratory distress. Undesignated medications are those that are not prescribed for a specific student but can be used in an emergency to address any student’s asthma-related symptoms. The order is in effect through February of 2025 and will be reviewed and updated annually. Read more here.

Homeowner Assistance Fund: The Illinois Housing Development Authority released the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF) Final Report. Created through the State’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, ILHAF provided relief to households still reeling from financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the final report here.

Procurement Webinar Series: The Illinois Commission on Equity and Inclusion is offering a new Business Enterprise Program and Veterans Business Program Certification Educational Webinar series. The effort is in collaboration with Chief Procurement Offices; more info here.


Attorney General Appeals Venue Shopping Ruling: The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to decide on the constitutionality of HB 3062 – it became Public Act 103-0005 which limits the filing of challenges to state laws and actions to Cook and Sangamon counties. Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed directly to the state’s high court after a Madison County judge ruled that the law violated the due process rights of one plaintiff in a lawsuit in that jurisdiction. Capitol News offers more here.

Felons Possessing Firearms: AG Raoul led a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief defending the federal law that prohibits possession of firearms by people who have been convicted of felonies. Filed in U.S. v Prince, Raoul and the coalition ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling that found the law unconstitutional. Read more here.

Methane Emissions: AG Raoul joined several attorneys general in another matter as well. He and 20 other attorneys general united in filing a motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Oil and Gas Methane Rule. 

The agency’s final rule strengthens the regulation of methane emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed facilities in the oil and natural gas sector. It also, for the first time, regulates emissions from existing facilities. A group of states, led by Texas and Oklahoma, is challenging the rule. Read more here.


Gaming Board March Meeting: The Illinois Gaming Board held its monthly meeting on March 14. Read a complete list of board action here.

Pretrial Release Appeals Task Force: The Illinois Supreme Court received and approved the report and recommendations from the Pretrial Release Appeals Task Force. Created in January 2024, the Task Force reviewed pretrial release appeals and their impact on the caseloads in each of the five Appellate Court districts.  

Proposed amendments by the Task Force aim to streamline the PFA (Pretrial Fairness Act) appeal process while ensuring that the pretrial setting still has a meaningful review of decisions to detain, release, or impose conditions of release. The appellate courts have faced a significant increase in caseloads since the Pretrial Fairness Act began on September 18, 2023. Specifically, the caseload levels went from an average of 17 annual bond appeals to a projected 4,557 appeals under the PFA — a 268-fold increase. The amendments are available here and are effective April 15, 2024. The full report with recommendations can be found here. The Chicago Tribune offers more here.

US EPA Issues Rules Targeting “Tailpipe Emissions”: On Wednesday, the US EPA issued new first of the kind rules targeting tailpipe emissions, aimed at ensuring the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the nation are electric or hybrid by the year 2032. The rule phases in increasingly strict standards so that by 2032 most new cars sold would need to be zero-emission vehicles to meet the new standard. Read more here.

Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor to Step Down: Rich Guidice, Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Johnson, is retiring at the end of the month. Former State Senator and current First Deputy Chief of Staff Christina Pacione-Zayas is reportedly next in line. 

Campaign Update: Republican Representative Adam Niemerg prevailed in his write-in campaign against IEA funded Jim Acklin.