March 29, 2020 Update

The Illinois General Assembly cancelled session for this week. The deadline to pass substantive legislation out of standing committees in the House is now extended until April 24th. The 3rd Reading deadline for House bills is extended until May 8th. Other deadlines will be extended as needed. Members have been told to be prepared to return to session at any time.  
Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order for non-essential businesses and workers through April 7th. Gov. Pritzker has repeatedly said he will make decisions based on science and that order may be extended if needed. At this point in time, it is still too early to know how quickly the curve will begin to flatten both in Illinois and nationwide.
As of Thursday afternoon, Illinois reported 2,538 cases of COVID-19 in 37 counties, with 673 new cases reported in just the last day. People of all ages are testing positive for the virus. Illinois now reports 26 deaths. The Cook County jail is reporting that 21 inmates and guards have tested positive for COVID-19; while Stateville and Sheridan Correctional Centers are also reporting cases.
Gov. Pritzker pleaded with Illinois residents to stay at home in order to save lives. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed Chicago parks, beaches and trails in an effort to further curb the spread of COVID-19. The Mayor also banned basketball, soccer and football. Violators will be fined, ticketed and possibly arrested. She pleaded for Chicago residents to stay home and save lives. Lightfoot said stricter restrictions are needed in Chicago after projections showed that the city could see the need for as many as 40,000 hospitalizations in the coming weeks.
Two key deadlines have been extended this week. Illinois tax filing deadline has been extended until July15th. And the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the federal REAL ID deadline an additional year to Oct. 1, 2021.
In an effort to build capacity with the healthcare workforce, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced a process to for out-of-state health care workers and whose in-state workers whose license status is inactive, non-renewed, or expired to temporarily renew their license to practice in Illinois. As of Tuesday, 180 healthcare workers are in the process of rejoining the workforce. Applications are available online at IDFPR’s website:
* Health Care License Reinstatement: here* Physician License Reinstatement:   here* Out of State Temporary Practice Permit:  here

Federal Response: President Trump approved Illinois request for a federal disaster proclamation. The action will make federal funding available to state and local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.
Illinois governments will receive $4.9B from the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief bill. The measure will allocate $2.7 billion to the state and $2.2 billion to local governments.Small Business Assistance: Gov. Pritzker announced $90 million in state emergency assistance for Illinois small business through three new programs.
Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund: This $60 million fund will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in every industry outside of Chicago. Loans will be supported by a $30 million loan loss reserve, consisting of $20 million of DCEO funds and $10 million in funds secured with the partnership with the Illinois banking community. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term. .

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program: This new $20 million program supports small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois, providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses in communities served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development. These grants will offer businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. The program redeploys Community Development Block Grant funds to support local small businesses. Applications will be available on DCEO’s website by Friday, March 27. The grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program: This new $14 million grant program is designed to help small hospitality businesses make ends meet, providing up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels. These grants are available to support working capital – such as payroll and rent – job training and technology to support shifts in operations. Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. Hotels that generated less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000. Applications are available on DCEO’s website and are due by April 1 at 5 p.m. All valid, eligible applications received within the five-day window will be entered into a lottery, and grant winners will be notified on April 4.
To access DCEO emergency assistance programs for Illinois small businesses click here. The State Treasurer’s Office launched a low interest $250 million bridge loan program to banks and credit unions. Under the program, the Treasurer will deposit funds, in increments of $1 million to $5 million, with financial institutions across the state. The financial institutions will then use the money to help small businesses and nonprofits pay rent, purchase supplies, and to make payroll.
The Treasurer also made changes to the unclaimed property program, raising the ceiling for the Fast Track program from $500 to $2,000. As a result of this change, the Treasurer’s office has distributed nearly $3 million in additional unclaimed property to more than 3,000 people.
Finally, the Treasurer rolled over $200 million in investment notes to assist the state comptroller in paying medical bills. The Treasurer is authorized to invest up to $2 billion in the state of Illinois bill backlog at a reduced market-based rate to avoid expensive interest penalties.
HUMAN SERVICES: The Governor established the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF), in partnership with the United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, to raise funds from individual, corporate, and foundation donors to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.  As of Thursday, the new fund had raised $23 million.
This fund will provide additional financial resources to local community foundations and nonprofits to support residents in need of:

  • Emergency food and basic supplies
  • Interim housing and shelter
  • Primary health care services
  • Utility and financial assistance
  • Supports for children and other vulnerable populations, and
  • Nonprofit safety and operations assistance. 

Contributions to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund can be made here.

STUDENT LOAN DEBT: Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 27 attorneys general in calling on the U.S. Department of Education to provide federal student loan borrowers with emergency measures to help in the wake of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In their letter, the coalition asks the department to take steps to protect borrowers from further financial burden and debt collection due to job losses and lost wages, resulting from the exponential rise in national unemployment in the last few weeks.
Attached are two Executive Orders issued yesterday.Executive order no. 11 – IDOC admissionsExecutive order no.12 – Notary Public Issues
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.