102nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Both chambers met virtually in committees this week. The University of Illinois released the Corporate Board Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation Report for 2020. The report was a product of HB 3394, passed in 2019, which required companies and corporations based in Illinois to report the racial and gender makeup of their boards to the Secretary of State’s office. The University of Illinois was required to analyze the data and issue a report with their findings. View the full report here.
COMING UP:Both chambers are scheduled to be in Springfield for session March 9th – 11th. It is rumored that the House may cancel session next week although no formal announcement has been made at this time. The House committee schedule is here. The Senate committee schedule is here.
GOVERNOR’s HIGHLIGHTS: New Laws: Governor Pritzer signed HB 4276 which allows up to 60 days of time-off if COVID impacted the recovery of an employee. The legislation also extends the timeline in which the death of a policeman and fireman from COVID-19 can be designated as a fatal injury while in active service. HB 4276 passed during the lame duck session.
COVID-19: COVID positivity rates continue to trend downward both nationally and in Illinois. The current 7-day average case positivity rate is 2.4% while the test positivity rate is 2.9%. The Illinois Department of Public Healthon Thursday reported 1,740 new c cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 42 additional deaths. On Thursday, labs reported 73,990 test results. As of Wednesday night, 1,200 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 260 patients were in the ICU and 128 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The University of Illinois received FDA emergency use authorization for its COVID saliva testing. The Governor announced plans to expand the use of the tests to all state universities in Illinois.
Vaccination Update: The number of COVID-19 vaccines to be shipped to Illinois and Chicago this week will increase by about 50% after a third vaccine received emergency authorization over the weekend. Johnson & Johnson is allocating 104,500 of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine to Illinois and Chicago this week — 22,300 doses will go directly to Chicago with the remainder being distributed elsewhere throughout the state. The new shipments come as Pfizer also increases its weekly shipments to both jurisdictions by about 20,000 total doses.Moderna’s allocations for this week remain unchanged from last week.
Illinois continues to develop more vaccination sites with new sites coming on-line almost daily. This week, mass vaccinations began being offered at the United Center and at locations in Des Plaines and Quincy, and the state continues to develop additional downstate partnerships to broaden vaccine access. The state is also partnering with four local federally qualified health centers and safety net hospitals to administer vaccines to residents in Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties. In the coming weeks, the pilot program will expand to include additional critical access hospitals across the state.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination to utilize the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker (V-safe). Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, V-safe sends text messages to individuals who have received their first vaccine dose to remind them when the second shot is due. More information and registration for V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker here.
A total of 3,563,775 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 443,700 doses total have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. A total of 2,993,543 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of midnight Thursday, including 330,328 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 78,942 doses. On Wednesday, 93,302 doses were administered in Illinois.
Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor made the following appointments:
- Lara Shayne will serve as Chair of the Educational Labor Relations Board
- Steven Grossman will serve on the Educational Labor Relations Board
- Michelle Ishmael will serve on the Educational Labor Relations Board
- King Harris will continue to serve as Chair of the Housing Development Authority
- Stephen Kouri II will serve on the Human Rights Commission
- Lynne Sered will serve as Chair of the Local Panel of the Labor Relations Board
TREASURER’S HIGHLIGHTS: Supporting historically underserved entrepreneurs – Black, Latinx, and women – is the goal of a program announced Wednesday by State Treasurer Frerichs, in partnership with private venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue and others. The CAST (Cleveland Avenue State Treasurer Urban Success) initiative focuses on Chicago’s South and Westside neighborhoods. Through the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund (ILGIF), Frerichs and State Chief Investment Officer Rodrigo Garcia are committing $16 million to the effort. A recent study found that Chicago-area Black and Latinx entrepreneurs have about 80 percent of their equity capital needs unmet, compared to 46 percent of white business owners. More information will be available April 1 at Clevelandavenue.com/castus .
ATTORNEY GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS: Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced Tuesday that he is part of a coalition of 24 attorneys general to file a friend-of-the-court briefing encouraging the Supreme Court to preserve schools’ abilities to address cyberbullying and other forms of off-campus bullying that can undermine students’ educations. Raoul noted that any form of bullying – whether at school or off school grounds – can derail a student’s ability to learn and achieve. The prevalence of technology, especially given its role in student learning and socializing during the pandemic, has amplified bullying aspects, he offered. The AG also said schools should be able “to hold students accountable for disruptive speech, regardless of where it takes place.” More information is here.
Election Update: Democrat State Senator Michael Hastings announced his bid for Secretary of State to replace retiring Secretary Jesse White. Hastings was first elected in 2012. He chairs the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee and serves as the Senate Democratic Caucus Whip.Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly was elected by Democratic State Central Committee to serve as Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Kelly is the first woman of color to hold the Democratic Party’s top spot. Kelly replaces former House Speaker Michael Madigan, who held the post for 23 years. Kelly received 52% of the vote to challenger Chicago Alderman Michelle Harris’ 48%.