103rd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois House adjourned for the week after spending Tuesday through Thursday in session. The Senate was off this week. Both chambers return to session on Tuesday, March 7. Friday, March 10 is the deadline to pass substantive legislation out of committee in the chamber of origin.
House Democrats formed a cannabis working group to address the industry’s expansion in a business-friendly way while still satisfying the statutorily required equity goals. Representative La Shawn Ford will lead the group. Other members include: Assistant Majority Leader Marcus Evans, Assistant Majority Leader Barbara Hernandez, Assistant Majority Leader Bob Rita, Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, Representative Sonya Harper, and Representative Bob Morgan.
According to Representative Ford, the working group’s main priority is to make sure individuals who have invested in the newly created industry are successful. A part of that is to address the disproportionate impact the war on drugs had on communities of color, particularly when it comes to cannabis-related arrests. The working group will work with stakeholders including lawmakers, state agencies, businesses and associations that work directly with the cannabis industry.
A few notable bills passed House committees this week and are now pending before the full House:
HB 1229 (Jones) which authorizes a state-based Health Insurance Exchange passed the House Insurance Committee by a vote of 9-5.
HB 1290 (Carroll) which would require pet food labels to disclose allergens passed the House Consumer Protection Committee 6-3.
HB 1565 (Stuart) which requires insurance coverage for vaginal estrogen without cost sharing passed the House Insurance Committee by a vote of 13-1.
HB 2086 (Stava-Murray) which allows restaurants and retailers to fill or refill a consumer-owned container with ready-made food passed the House Consumer Protection Committee by a vote of 6 -3.
HB 2376 (Gong-Gershowitz) phases out the use of single-use plastic polystyrene foam food ware starting in 2024. The bill passed the House Energy and Environment Committee by a vote of 18-8.
HB 2515 (Kifowit) ensures more regular deposits from future budgets into the state’s Rainy Day Fund and Pension Stabilization Fund. The bill unanimously passed the House State Government Committee.
HB 1079 (Walker) which eliminates the ban on new nuclear power construction passed the House Public Utilities Committee by a vote of 18-3.
BIPA: A coalition of business, technology and healthcare groups called on the General Assembly this week to enact reforms to the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) following recent Illinois Supreme Court decisions. The group argues that the recent decision leaves companies vulnerable to massive financial damages and has a chilling effect on security, innovation, and economic growth.
2023 Key Dates:
March 10: Deadline – Substantive Bills Out of Committee in both chambers
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
Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative: The Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative issued its report this week. The Transformation Initiative was created in March of 2022 and tasked with evaluating and redesigning the delivery of behavioral health services for children and adolescents in Illinois with the goal of adjusting capacity, streamlining processes, intervening earlier, increasing accountability and developing agility.
The Initiative recommends a phased implementation to prioritize the most impactful and feasible changes. Recommendations include:
1. Create a centralized resource for families seeking services for children with significant and complex needs. This will involve building a more robust intake portal to allow families to more easily access information and help.
2. Improve coordination of service delivery, ensuring more seamless transitions and detecting elevated risks earlier.
3. Centralize oversight of residential beds to reduce duplication and enable the State to more effectively manage residential treatment resources.
4. Implement resource referral technology to enable families to more easily link to services in their communities.
5. Use regular data analytic review to inform provider capacity adjustments, allowing service availability to be adjusted with agility.
6. Adjust rates, including standardizing rates for similar services across State agencies, to ensure that providers are compensated consistently and that youth can receive the services they need to thrive.
7. Increase capacity to serve more children and families by expanding eligibility for current programs and developing new service types so that Illinois has a full continuum of care.
8. Partner with providers on a standard protocol to encourage consistent and transparent development of new programs to meet emerging needs.
9. Offer universal screening in education and pediatrics to ensure that mental and behavioral health problems are detected and addressed early.
10. Facilitate information sharing across State agencies to improve seamlessness and timeliness of interventions, leveraging previous efforts to integrate data and overcome barriers.
11. Build the behavioral health workforce using paraprofessionals and supporting other roles with incentives and creative approaches to credentialling.
12. Fortify community networks by investing in local communities and parent leadership.
Read the full report here.
Executive Order 2023-04 , issued by Governor Pritzker last Friday, establishes the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative Chief position. This position will lead the State’s comprehensive, inter-agency effort to ensure that youth with significant and complex behavioral health needs receive appropriate community and residential services and that the State-supported system is transparent and easier for youth and their families to navigate.
Illinois Hepatitis Coalition: The Illinois Department of Public Health launched a new initiative to eliminate viral hepatitis in Illinois. The Illinois Hepatitis Coalition held its inaugural meeting this week which brought together key stakeholders–including clinicians, academic researchers, and community partners–with the goal of formulating an equity-driven strategic plan to end the viral hepatitis epidemic in the state. The work of the coalition is funded through a $1.5 million federal grant.
Chicago Mayoral Race: In the race for Chicago Mayor, Paul Vallas and Chicago Teacher’s Union staffer (and Cook County Commissioner) Brandon Johnson emerged as the front runners in Tuesday’s Primary Election. Vallas earned 34% of the vote while Johnson garnered 20% of the vote. In a crowded field of nine candidates, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took third place, earning 17% of the vote. Chicago voters will select their new Mayor on April 4.
Chicago Police Superintendent Resigns: Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown announced he is stepping down March 16. The move comes as little surprise as both Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson favor a new chief. Brown is leaving law enforcement and taking a private sector position in Texas.
US Attorney Resigns: Chicago’s top federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney John Lausch, submitted his formal resignation effective March 11. Serving in the interim as acting U.S. Attorney will by Lausch’s deputy, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Morris “Sonny” Pasqual.
Reproductive Health Guidance: Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and the Illinois Department of Human Rights released a guide on the state’s protections against discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive health decisions related to pregnancy — including abortion. Read more here.