May 1, 2020 Update

COVID-19 Update:

Yesterday, Illinois reported 2,563 new cases of COVID-19 and 141 additional deaths. Illinois now has 52,918 positive cases with 2,355 deaths in 97 Illinois counties. As of yesterday, 4953 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1289 patients were in the ICU and 785 patients were on ventilators.
The new stay-at-home order, effective today, is facing new legal challenges. Two Republican State Representatives have filed separate lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the order. Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney granted a restraining order Monday in the lawsuit filed by State Representative Darren Bailey. Bailey filed the lawsuit last week saying the new stay-at-home order violates his civil rights. The Illinois Attorney General filed an intent to appeal. Pritzker called the lawsuit and subsequent ruling “reckless” and pledged to fight it to the fullest extent possible. Bailey was the only plaintiff in the case and therefore the ruling applies only to him. Meanwhile, Republican State Representative John Cabello filed a class action lawsuit against Pritzker’s new stay-at home order Wednesday in Winnebago County Circuit Court. That case is pending at this time. A copy of his lawsuit is here .
Governor Pritzker officially filed the new stay-at-home order on Thursday. A full copy of the order is here  . Key provisions include:

  • Individuals over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask or face covering in public when social distancing is not possible.
  • Retail stores can begin to reopen for online and pick up orders.
  • State parks can resume limited functions; camp grounds, playgrounds and restrooms will remain closed.
  • Beginning May 11th, hospitals and Ambulatory Treatment Centers may resume elective surgeries under new guidance issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health. A full copy of the guidance is here .
  • Beginning May 1st, golf courses are allowed to re-open. A full copy of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity guidance is here .
  • Individuals are allowed to engage in the free exercise of religion as long as social distancing guidelines are followed and limited to gatherings of 10 people. This change to the order is in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court by a Stephenson County church which challenges the Governor’s authority to prevent churches from meeting.

Pritzker issued two additional Executive Orders yesterday. Executive Order 2020-33 reissues Executive Orders 2020-03 through 2020-31, extending most provisions through May 29, 2020.
Executive Order 2020-34 suspends the requirement that IDFPR issue up to 75 Conditional Adult Use Dispensing Organization Licenses before May 1, 2020. It also suspends certain requirements, including the need for an adult use cannabis dispensing organization agent to obtain an agent identification card from IDFPR prior to beginning work at a dispensary and the need for a medical or adult use cannabis dispensing organization agent to keep an agent identification card visible at all times when in the dispensary.
The Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission repealed the recent emergency rule that created the presumption that any essential worker who contracted COVID-19 did so at work. The Governor pledged to work with the legislature to enact protections for front-line and essential workers.
Law enforcement in individual counties are now saying that they will not enforce the newest stay-at-home order. Woodford County state’s attorney Greg Minger says he will not enforce Governor Pritzker’s stay at home order extension at the county level and will not prosecute those who violate the Governor’s order. Joshua Blackwell, Douglas County Sheriff, also is refusing to enforce Pritzker’s order.
The Illinois State Treasurer, through the Linked Deposit Program, is making another $250 million available to Illinois financial institutions to lend to small business through low-interest bridge loans to help employers respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights released its model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training program for Illinois employers in compliance with the Workplace Transparency Act (Public Act 101-0221). Under this Act, Illinois employers are required to train employees on sexual harassment prevention annually, beginning December 31, 2020.  This requirement applies to all Illinois employers.  Employers must either develop their own sexual harassment prevention training program that equals or exceeds the minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention training outlined in the Illinois Human Rights Act , or they may use the model training provided by the IDHR.   The model training program is here.

The Illinois General Assembly remains adjourned until further notice. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin suggests the General Assembly reconvene briefly in Springfield to amend rules to allow the legislature to utilize remote voting. Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady asked legislative leaders to reconvene session to address a constitutional amendment to enact redistricting reform. Meanwhile legislative working groups continue to meet remotely to discuss filling the FY 20 budget hole, preparing the FY 21 budget and other legislative solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the legislative leaders can extend most of the session deadlines, like deadlines to pass bills out committee or the chamber, there is one deadline that cannot be waived. May 31st is the constitutional deadline to pass legislation with a simple majority vote for any legislation that will take effect immediately. That means any budget legislation or immediate COVID-19 response legislation will need to pass with 72 votes in the House and 36 votes in the Senate if the General Assembly does not reconvene and pass measures by the end of May. The Democrats hold super-majorities in both chambers, but much remains unknown about when or how the General Assembly will reconvene and if any members in high-risk categories will be able to participate.