103rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois General Assembly stands adjourned after being in session four days this week – Tuesday through Friday. Yesterday was the House Third Reading Deadline. Friday, March 31 is the Senate Third Reading Deadline. Both chambers reconvene on Tuesday, March 28 at noon.
The Illinois Senate compiled an agreed bill list for non-controversial legislation that will be considered on a single roll call next week. The complete list is here. The House did not utilize a consent calendar this year and considered each bill individually prior to the deadline.
The week was filled with long committee hearings and long session days as both chambers approach final action deadlines. Hundreds of amendments were filed in both chambers to position legislation for final passage. Despite all the amendments filed, several bills passed, particularly in the House, with promises to continue negotiations and fix problems in the other chamber. The House passed 403 bills this week. The Senate passed 68 bills.
We continue to monitor for deadline extensions in both chambers. The Senate this week issued deadline extensions through March 31 for 122 Senate Bills still pending at the committee level. Even though there was still more work to do, the House abruptly adjourned around 10pm Friday night when it became apparent there were not enough Democratic members in attendance to pass more controversial legislation. We anticipate additional deadline extensions for some House Bills still pending final action in the House.
Below are highlights of legislation considered this week:
Health Care Legislation:
HB 559 (Morgan), as amended, codifies and cleanups the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders regarding healthcare and the healthcare workforce in Illinois. Key provisions include: allowing permit extensions for certain temporary permit holders; clarifying scope of practice for international medical graduates, mandating insurance/Medicaid coverage for pharmacy testing, screening, vaccination and treatment; allowing pharmacists to administer COVID therapeutics and order/administer tests/screenings for flu, COVID, and other diseases in a public health emergency; and allowing an extension of a probationary license for an additional 120 days under the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act and Nursing Home Care Act, and MC/DD Act, and ID/DD Community Care Act, and the Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Act. Negotiations are ongoing to address remaining concerns. Passed the House unanimously and heads to the Senate.
The Senate unanimously approved SB 724 (Feigenholtz) which, as amended, implements the Children’s Behavioral Transformation. SB 724 now heads to the House for consideration.
Representative Gabel filed HFA # 2 to HB 579 which enables a state based health insurance exchange to be implemented beginning in the fall of 2025. The exchange, as drafted, is a completely state-based exchange giving the state responsibility for enrollment and management of the program rather than using federal assistance and platforms. Negotiations are ongoing. The House Insurance Committee held a subject matter hearing this week; no vote was taken. HFA # 2 remains in the House Rules Committee.
HB 2189 (Guzzardi) lowers the co-pay cap for insulin from $100/month to $35/month. Passed the House 109-0 and heads to the Senate.
HB 2188 (Crespo) transfers the Medicaid Fraud Unit from ISP to the Attorney General. Passed the House 110-0 and heads to the Senate.
HB 2076 (Moeller), as amended, implements the distressed facility provisions for nursing facilities which were previously enacted in statute. The final legislation is the product of negotiation, and the sponsor indicated all opposition is removed. Passed the House 106-0 and heads to the Senate.
HB 2719 (Avelar) which, as amended, requires hospitals to screen each uninsured patient for eligibility in State and federal health insurance programs, financial assistance offered by the hospital, and other public programs that may assist with health care costs and provide information about those programs. The sponsor testified that another amendment is expected in the Senate to address concerns of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. Passed the House 72-32 and now heads to the Senate.
HB 3957 (Syed) creates the Pharmaceutical and Health Affordability Act. As amended, the bill gives the Attorney General the tools to address price gouging of generic or off brand drugs when there are three or fewer drugs on the market. The bill initially passed around 9:30 pm Friday night. The bill was on the order of short debate despite requests to place the legislation on standard debate to allow the opportunity for more questions. The bill initially passed the House 63-30, but Representative Dan Caulkins requested a verification of the vote. Following the verification, there were not enough votes for passage and the sponsor placed the bill on Postponed Consideration for consideration at another time.
HB 297 (Davis) is a trailer bill to HB 5701 (passed last year) which allows for the unionization of CPS principles. HB 247, as amended, clarifies that principles have the same path, such as interest arbitration, to deal with disputes as other employees that do not have the ability to strike. Passed the House 71-40 and heads to the Senate.
HB 2396 (Canty) which requires full day Kindergarten beginning in the 2027-2028 school year passed the House 87-23 and now heads to the Senate.
SB 2243 (Lightford) requires the State Board of Education, in consultation with stakeholders, to develop a comprehensive state literacy plan by January 31, 2024. SB 2243 passed the Senate 53-0. Identical legislation passed the House 106-0 on HB 2872 (Mayfield).
SB 2374 (Lightford) in an attempt to ensure all students meet the minimum criteria for admission to state universities, SB 2374 requires the State Board of Education, subject to appropriation, to establish a competitive grant program to support the development or enhancement of computer science programs in the K-12 schools. Passed the Senate 41 – 7 and now heads to the House.
HB 296 (Stuart) extends the pause on teacher performance assessments until August 31, 2025. Creates a Teacher Performance Assessment Task Force to evaluate potential teacher performance assessment systems to use in the future. Passed the House 86-18. Companion legislation, SB 1488 (Bennett) is pending in the Senate.
HB 2471 (West) which provides free school meals, subject to appropriation from ISBE, passed the House 77-26 and heads to the Senate. The sponsor noted that budget discussions will continue on this matter.
Business Related Legislation:
HB 1122 (Guzzardi) which, as amended, creates the Freelance Worker Protection Act which among other items, requires a written contract between the hiring entity and the independent contractor for work performed over $500 in value. Excludes construction workers. Passed the House 68-38 and now heads to the Senate.
SB 2034 (Villa) provides extended bereavement leave to employees who have lost a child to suicide or homicide: up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for larger businesses with at least 250 workers and six weeks unpaid leave for smaller businesses with fewer than 250. It also provides penalties against employers who violate the act and provides that employees who take leave will not be entitled to any more benefits than they would have had they not taken such leave. Passed the Senate by a vote 44-6 and heads to the House for consideration.
The House approved HB 2547 (Olickal) which, as amended by HFA # 3, creates the Warehouse Worker Protection Act. The sponsor indicated that he is continuing to work with opposition. HB 2547 passed the House 69-37 and now heads to the Senate. The companion bill, SB 1908 (Villanueva) , was held in the Senate Executive Committee this week.
Public Health Legislation:
SB 1561 (Morrison) which bans the use of e-cigarettes in indoor spaces passed the Senate by a vote of 48-5 and heads to the House. Identical legislation passed the House on HB 1540 (Lilly) by a vote of 85-22 and now heads to the Senate.
HB 2376 (Gong-Gershowitz) which provides that, beginning January 1, 2025, a retail establishment may not sell or distribute in Illinois a disposable food service container that is composed in whole or in part of polystyrene foam passed the House 67-43 and now heads to the Senate.
HB 2086 (Stava-Murray) is an initiation from Illinois Environmental Council. As amended, the bill creates health standards for individuals wishing to bring their own to-go containers to retailers and restaurants to do so in a safe and healthy manner. HB 2086 passed the House 70-37 and now heads to the Senate.
Miscellaneous Other Bills:
HB 2531 (Davis) requires the Illinois Department of Transportation to establish a process for prequalifying entities that could offer a public-private agreement to develop a cargo-oriented airport and shipment center in Chicago’s south suburbs. Passed the House 72-40 and now heads to the Senate.
HB 2502 (Tarver) as amended, regulates the display of any alcopop beverage to keep it separate from non-alcoholic pop beverages. The sponsor testified that one additional amendment is expected to be filed in the Senate which will remove most opposition to the bill. Passed the House 106-0 and heads to the Senate for consideration.
HB 3322 (Slaughter) creates the Law Enforcement Gang Database Information Act. Passed the House 73-29 and heads to the Senate.
SB 1570 (Lightford) which creates the Municipal Design-build Authorization Act to authorize a municipality to enter into design-build contracts pursuant to provisions of the Act passed the Senate by a vote of 42 – 11 and now heads to the House.
SB 2152 (Cunningham) is an initiative of the State Treasurer’s Office. As amended, allows SURS, TRS and the State Board of Investments to have the State Treasurer act as a proxy voter. The Treasurer testified in committee that another amendment is expected. Passed the Senate Executive Committee 10-1 and now is pending before the full Senate.
SB 2260 (Peters) which aims to protect victims of gender-based violence through an expansion of domestic violence laws. SB 2260 passed the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety and will now head to the Senate floor for further consideration.
HB 2132 (Evans) which creates the Rust Belt to Green Belt pilot project to erect wind turbines in Lake Michigan passed the House 85-21-0.
SB 58 (Fine) creates the State Entities Single-Use Plastic Reporting Act which requires each State agency, beginning July 1, 2024, to (1) track its own purchases of single-use plastic disposable food ware that are less than $2,000 or otherwise not reduced to writing, and (2) establish goals on reducing single-use plastic disposable food ware purchases based on the tracked purchases. Passed the Senate 51-2 and now heads to the House for consideration.
2023 Key Dates:
March 24: Deadline – Third Reading Deadline – Substantive House Bills in the House
March 31: Deadline – Third Reading Deadline – Substantive Senate Bills in the Senate
April 4: Consolidated Election
April 28: Deadline – Substantive Bills Out of Committee in both chambers
May 11: Deadline – Third Reading Substantive House Bills in Senate
May 12: Deadline – Third Reading Substantive Senate Bills in House
May 19: Adjournment
Deputy Governor Appointed: Governor JB Pritzker appointed Bria Scudder to serve as Deputy Governor for Public Safety, Infrastructure, Environment, and Energy. Scudder previously worked in the Governor’s Office as First Assistant to Christian Mitchell, the former Deputy Governor who stepped down from his role earlier this month. She will begin her role on April 10.
Supportive Housing: The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board announced the agency is conditionally awarding almost $39 million in state and federal resources to finance the creation or preservation of permanent supportive housing across the state. Awarded under Round IX of IHDA’s Permanent Supportive Housing Development Program, the awards will support the construction and rehabilitation of 5 developments containing 100 units of affordable housing for persons at risk of homelessness, residents with physical challenges or mental health needs, and other vulnerable populations. Read more here.
B2B Grants: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development is offering another $175 million in B2B recovery grants for restaurants, hotels and creative arts industries still grappling with the impacts of the pandemic. Applications are open from April 5 through May 10, 2023. Awards are expected to be made several weeks after the deadline date. All eligible applicants will receive a grant as long as the business meets eligibility requirements and submits proper documentation and attestations.
Nonprofit Security Grant Program: The Illinois Emergency Management Agency announced $20 million in grants have been awarded to 116 non-profit organizations across the state through the 2022 Nonprofit Security Grant Program . The funding will be used to help organizations strengthen efforts to protect against public safety and security threats. Many of the grantees are places of worship, reproductive health providers, cultural institutions, and education centers who were deemed at high-risk of a terrorist attack. Read more here.
Land Reclamation Grants: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comment through May 22 regarding abandoned mine lands reclamation projects that have been selected for work through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
IDNR’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Division was awarded $75.7 million for land and water reclamation work at 55 abandoned mine sites throughout Illinois during the first year of the grant. IDNR is eligible to receive $75.7 million per year for a total of 15 years through IIJA to address additional reclamation projects.
States may use the federal grants to address coal abandoned mine land problems, including hazards resulting from legacy coal mining that pose a threat to public health, safety, and the environment; water supply restoration; and coal abandoned mine land emergencies.
Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker made the following appointments:
· Kevin Clark will serve as a Member of the Clean Energy Jobs and Justice Fund.
· Lynn Sutton will serve as a Member of the Illinois Finance Authority.
Attorney General: Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with a collation of 22 attorneys general, are asking Kia America and Hyundai Motor Company to take swift and comprehensive action to help remedy the crisis of car thefts that has occurred as a result of the companies’ failure to equip vehicles with anti-theft immobilizers.
According to the Attorneys General, from approximately 2010 to 2021, Hyundai and Kia failed to equip base vehicle models with anti-theft immobilizers, which prevent the vehicle from operating without a key or key fob. In 2022 alone, there were over 7,000 Hyundai and Kia thefts in Chicago, which account for 10% of all registered Kia vehicles and 7% of all registered Hyundai vehicles in the city.
Kia and Hyundai recently announced a customer service campaign to upgrade the software of affected vehicles; however, Raoul and the coalition said in a letter that the plan is insufficient, incomplete and long overdue. Read more here.
Network Adequacy and Transparency Act: The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved rulemaking for Network Adequacy and Transparency Act. The underlying Act took effect on September 15, 2017. The final rulemaking is here.
Law Enforcement Grants: Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias will award $21 million in grants to police departments and task forces across the state to address armed carjackings. The money will be used to supplement police budgets for license plate readers, helicopters, tracking devices, GPS software and other technology to track down carjackers, as well as to help cover salaries for additional investigators.
The Illinois State Police Expressway Safety Enforcement Group will receive $10.3 million; the Chicago Police Department’s Major Auto Theft Investigations Unit will receive $1.5 million. Other grants are going to the Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Task Force, which is led by Secretary of State police ($3.4 million); the Metro East Auto Theft Task Force ($2.5 million); the Greater Peoria Auto Crimes Task Force ($2.1 million); and the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force ($1.8 million).
The grants are funded through a combination of a $1 assessment on auto insurance policies that are deposited with the Illinois Vehicle Hijacking and Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and Insurance Verification Council and $30 million in state funding targeted towards addressing carjacking.
Secretary of State: Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is asking the Governor and General Assembly to budget $200 million for his office to upgrade antiquated computer technology. A new report from the Office shows the status of “Common Business Oriented Language, or COBOL, systems” used by the Office to store and process Illinoisans’ data, including their home addresses, vehicle registrations, Social Security numbers and organ donor information, is at risk of a “catastrophic” failure including breakdowns, data breaches and cyberattacks. The report notes “this must be addressed prior to implementing any modernization tools such a digital driver’s license, an SOS mobile app or digital license plates”.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.