102nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois Senate convened in session on Tuesday, March 23rd through Thursday, March 25th. The Illinois House, which canceled session for the week, considered legislation at the virtual committee level. Yesterday (March 26th) was the deadline to pass substantive House Bills out of House committees. The Illinois Senate appears to be considering an agreed bill list where bills without opposition are considered on one roll call. More information will be available as the process unfolds.
The Illinois Senate approved along partisan lines — by a vote of 41-16 —HB 158 (Lilly/Hunter) , which represents the Black Caucus’ healthcare pillar. HB 158 heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Illinois Senate approved — by a vote of 40-7-1 —HB 1871 (Stuart/Morrison) which makes permanent some of the pandemic related election law changes enacted specifically for the 2020 election cycle. The bill allows the continued use of drop boxes and curbside voting; ensures that all ballots mailed within appropriate guidelines are counted even if they are mailed without postage; and allows the use of federal HAVA funds for the purchase of drop boxes. HB 1871 passed the House last week and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Illinois Senate concurred with the House amendments to SB 72 (Hoffman/Harmon) which allows for prejudgment interest, rather than post judgement interest, in civil proceedings. As amended, this version of the prejudgment interest bill exempts state and local government, lowers the interest rate from 9 to 6 percent, and moves the start date to when the suit is actually filed. As noted above, the Governor vetoed HB 3360 (Hoffman/Harmon) and is expected to sign this bill instead. SB 72 passed the Senate by a vote of 37-17-3 and heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Illinois Senate unanimously concurred with House amendments to SB 168 (Harmon/Willis) which will allow an expedited process for the reopening of West Lake Hospital in Melrose Park. The bill heads to the Governor’s desk.
Legislation to create an elected Chicago School Board — HB 2908 (Ramirez) — passed the House Ethics and Elections Committee by a vote of 11-7. The bill heads to the full House for consideration. Legislation to create the Car Sharing Program Act — HB 3712 (Jones) — passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15-1. The bill now heads to the full House for consideration. A measure to repeal the state’s Rent Control Preemption Act and allow local municipalities to impose rent control measures — HB 116 (Guzzardi) — was debated and held in the House Housing Committee. An amendment was offered by Representative Guzzardi, but subsequently tabled. HB 116 passed committee by a vote of 13-9 and heads to the full House for consideration. The Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee held a subject matter hearing on SB 311 (Belt) which would make changes to renewable energy standards, establish a renewable energy credit in the territory served by Ameren and make other changes.
New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed a package of four bills implementing the economic access, opportunity, and equity pillar of the Black Caucus Agenda passed during the lame duck session. This package includes measures to prevent employers from discriminating against those with criminal records; expand access to state contracts for minority-owned businesses, women, and individuals with disabilities; reduce interest on payday loans; and improve access to public housing. The Governor’s press release is here.
- SB1608 (Belt/Harper) Key provisions of this omnibus law include making procurement changes related to diversity, creating the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act, establishing the Illinois Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program, creating the Community Development Loan Guarantee Act and establishing the Loan Guarantee Program.
- SB 1480 (Belt/Harper) This law provides that it is a civil rights violation for any employer, employment agency or labor organization to use a conviction record as a basis to refuse to hire, to segregate, or to act with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment. Provides for equal pay registration certificate requirements. The law also makes changes to annual EEOC reporting.
- SB 1980 (Belt/Harper) Requires housing authorities to collect information concerning the denial of assistance on the basis of criminal history records. Specifies further requirements concerning notice and use of criminal history records as related to housing. Makes changes to the Property Tax Code concerning the creation of an indemnity fund.
- SB 1792 (Belt/Harper) Creates the Cannabis equity commission, the Predatory Loan Prevention Act and institutes industry disparity studies for the farming and beauty supply industries.
The Governor vetoed HB 3360 (Hoffman/Harmon) which passed during the lameduck session. HB 3360 was an initiative of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association which allowed for prejudgment interest, rather than post-judgment interest, in civil proceedings. This week, the General Assembly passed revised legislation addressing this issue — see below.
Statewide COVID numbers are slowly trending upward while the City of Chicago is reporting a 30% increase in cases during the past two weeks. The statewide case positivity rate stands at 2.7%, while the City’s positivity rate has up ticked to 3.4%. The increase in Chicago’s new cases is primarily in young adults according to the City’s Director of Public Health. She cautioned that “The last time the city saw similar increases in confirmed cases of the coronavirus was the beginning of October, weeks before a second surge of the pandemic swept Chicago.” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said “The city is no longer in a position to consider reopening more businesses or expanding capacity indoors.”
Governor Pritzker received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday at the mass vaccination site at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The Governor had promised that he would get his vaccine when he was eligible and would not “jump in line” ahead of those who were in priority groups. As promised, the Governor is expanding eligibility of the COVID vaccine in the coming weeks. Beginning March 22nd, higher education staff, government workers and members of the media were eligible. Beginning March 29th, restaurant staff, construction trade workers and religious leaders are eligible. Finally, as of April 12th anyone over the age of 16 is eligible for the vaccine. To date, 6,091,965 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. Another 414,900 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. As of Thursday morning, 5,154,908 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. Illinois is averaging administering 101,175 doses/day.
Mario Treto, Jr. was appointed to serve as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Treto currently serves as the Director of the Division of Real Estate for IDFPR. Laurie A. Murphy, currently the Deputy Director of the Division of Real Estate, was appointed to replace Treto as the Director of that Division of Real Estate.
The Illinois General Assembly will take a two week spring break March 29th through April 9th. Both chambers are scheduled to return to session on Tuesday, April 13th. The deadline to pass substantive bills out of committee is April 16th. Both chambers have scheduled some committee hearings during the spring break. A listing of House hearings is here. A listing of Senate hearings is here.