May 15, 2020 Update


Senate President Harmon and Speaker Madigan are calling the General Assembly into a special session Wednesday, May 20th. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session May 20th through May 22nd. If their work is not completed during this time, additional special session days will be scheduled. A special session can be called by the Legislative Leaders or the Governor and the scope of work is limited to the items detailed in the proclamation.
The proclamation directs the General Assembly to consider legislation specific to:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters;
  • The state budget and its implementation;
  • Economic recovery, infrastructure projects and funding;
  • Consideration of constitutional amendments;
  • Laws scheduled to be repealed on June 1, 2021;
  • The 2020 General Election; and
  • The hospital assessment program.

In order to allow for social distancing, the Illinois House will convene at the Bank of Springfield Convention Center in Springfield. The Senate will convene in the Capitol. The proceedings will be accessible via live stream.
Speaker Madigan asked members of the Illinois House to sign a pledge committing to follow strict health and safety protocols. Any member who is in a high-risk category is allowed to stay home. House members will be tested for COVID prior to coming to Springfield and upon returning home and are asked to travel and lodge separately. Members of the House are also asked to avoid unnecessary exposure the virus by refraining from activities like non-essential meetings and social gatherings.
Any House committee hearings will be held on the floor of the BOS Center. Teleconferencing is encouraged for private meetings and caucuses. Members of the media and public will be allowed to view the House proceedings via the mezzanine level of the BOS Center. Social distancing will be maintained by all persons entering the convention center. While some staff will be present during the House session, the majority of staff will continue to work remotely.
No word yet on public involvement or participation in the Senate. It is possible that the Galleries will be closed to the public, although that decision has not been announced.

COVID-19 Update:
Health officials on Thursday reported 3,239 new cases among the 22,678 test results received by the state a day earlier. In total, there have been 87,937 coronavirus cases.Another 138 people have died of COVID-19 in Illinois, raising the state’s death toll to 3,928. The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate is 17%. As of Wednesday night, 4,473 people are reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 1,132 patients were in the ICU and 689 patients were on ventilators
Stay-at-Home Order: Governor Pritzker warned that he is prepared to withhold federal aid to local governments that defy his stay-at-home order. In addition, the Governor warned businesses that if they defy the stay-at-home order, they will be subject to licensing and disciplinary action by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation and other state licensing authorities. The state’s bar associations, who represent the legal community, issued a joint statement warning business of the legal ramifications of violating the Governor’s order.Both Madison and Shelby county officials voted to authorize their own phased in plans to reopen. And Grundy County officials voted to be moved out of the Northeast health region in order to reopen sooner.   Metro East legislators sent a letter to Governor Pritzker asking to have their region move to Phase III beginning Friday, May 15th.
U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman denied a temporary restraining order request filed by two churches seeking an exemption from the Governor’s stay-at-home order. In his ruling, Judge Gettleman said “The plaintiff’s request for an injunction, and their blatant refusal to follow the mandates of the Order are both ill-founded and selfish.
Republican Rep. Darren Bailey has filed an amended lawsuit in a downstate court challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, contending that a 2001 Illinois attorney general document contradicts the state’s position on why the order could be extended beyond the initial 30 days.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is looking at ways to reopen its facilities throughout Illinois. A date for reopening is not set, but employees were told to prepare for returning to work in the near future. The office continues to determine ways to ensure social distancing to protect employees and the public once the facilities reopen.