103rd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The 103rd General Assembly adjourned its spring 2023 session until the call of the presiding officer. This year marked the first time in three years that the legislative body conducted business in person and under normal circumstances, having had its operations disrupted by Covid for the past three years.
And while the General Assembly did not meet its target adjournment date of May 19, it did conclude its spring session comfortably in advance of its usual May 31 deadline.
Several bills were finalized this week including the FY24 operating and capital budget; omnibus packages on revenue, Medicaid, and property taxes; and reform measures concerning procurement and elections. The General Assembly did not act on the Invest in Kids Tax Credit (which was not extended) as well as changes to Illinois’ cannabis laws and the Biometric Information Privacy Act.
In total, 566 bills passed both Chambers, including 346 House bills and 220 Senate bills. Two have been signed into law by the Governor: HB 559 codifies workforce and pharmacy related COVID executive orders and HB 3162 provides benefits for first responders with COVID.
Budget: The Fiscal Year 2024 Budget appropriates $50.618 billion in General Revenue Funds and assumes revenue of $50.717 billion. The overall framework for administering the budget is addressed in the budget implementation bill – HB 3817 (Gordon-Booth/Sims). The 2023 omnibus revenue package, SB 1963 (Villanueva/Tarver) – which was discussed in detail in last week’s report – will generate an estimated $70 million in revenue for the state.
Democrats attest that the budget is both “fiscally responsible” and “compassionate.” In the next fiscal year, the state will make its full pension payment and pay $200 million more, thus bringing to $700 million the total pension stabilization investment. In another move toward economic soundness, $450 million is allocated to pay off rail splitter bonds (expected savings in interest: $60 million) and the state’s Rainy-Day Fund will surpass $2 billion.
Health and Human Services: Significantly obstructing passage of the budget were the skyrocketing costs of a program that provides healthcare for immigrants. The program is set to receive $550 million (down from a projected $1.2 billion) under the FY24 budget. The Legislature granted the Department of Healthcare and Family Services emergency rule making powers to implement various “tools” to control costs and manage the initiative. Those management tools could include reducing and managing the program’s costs by limiting future enrollment; maximizing federal funds designated for immigrant health care; and utilizing managed care models, which prioritize quality of care over quantity in a manner that often lowers costs.
· Increased funding for safety net hospitals ($38 million plus another $75 million between IDPH and HFS)
· $240 million for the Medicaid omnibus (see below)
· $75 million increase to DCFS to hire nearly 200 staff, bolster scholarships to youth in care, expand training, and improve facilities
· $53.5 million for IDPH to overhaul its disease-monitoring technology
· $40 million ($20 million GRF/$20 million federal match) to increase direct service provider wages by $2.50/hour beginning January 1
· $200 million increase for improved services for the developmentally disabled
· $24 million for pay boosts to workers helping the elderly (bringing wages to $17/hour); an increase for Adult Day Services; and overall outreach to the elderly
· $18 million for reproductive health initiatives
· $8 million increase for home delivered meals
· $5 million for emerging public health needs
· $42 million for equity and representation in health care
· $5 increase million for DCFS residential grants
· Nearly $23 million for the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative
· Continued monies for the $250 million Reimagine Public Safety Act to prevent gun violence and funding for programs on youth employment.
Education: The first year of the Governor’s early childhood plan will be launched with $250 million in funding, with financial boosts to an array of efforts like stabilizing the childcare workforce; eliminating preschool deserts; overhauling the childcare payment management system; and expanding the Early Intervention Program and Home Visiting programs. Also added in: $50 million for early childhood capital improvements.
At the K-12 level, monies will be going to expanding access to computer science coursework ($3 million); providing for evidence-based funding formula ($350 million additional); starting up a program to address teacher vacancies ($45 million); and statewide launching of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library ($1.6 million).
With respect to higher education, funding reflects a 7% increase (the largest increase in two decades): $80.5 million for public universities and $19.4 million for community colleges. And due to additional MAP grant funding ($100 million), everyone at or below the median income level can attend community college for free.
Economic Development: The goals of bringing businesses and jobs to Illinois, and closing major economic development deals, are furthered by a $400 million appropriation in the budget. Also earmarked: $40 million for forgivable loans for business start-ups of social equity cannabis; $20 million for Rebuild Illinois and Main Streets Capital Program; additional steps to phase out the franchise tax; and enhancing workforce development programs (in areas like clean energy, data centers, and electric vehicles).
Fighting Poverty: In an effort to help underserved neighborhoods, $20 million will be invested in a new Illinois Grocery Initiative. Also receiving a funding boost is HOME ILLINOIS. The $85 million increase – which brings state funding to $350 million – will go to the prevention of homelessness, developing affordable housing, outreach, and other efforts.
Local Government: The FY 24 budget assumes transfers into the Local Government Distributive Fund to increase by $112.5 million (represents 6.47% funding of LGDF).
Public Safety: The FY 24 budget funds three new state police cadet classes and includes a $200 million increase for three Criminal Justice Information Authority grants and $30 million for the LETSB camera grant fund.
The new fiscal year begins July 1.
Bond Authorization: HB 3551 (Hoffman/Harmon) creates the Bond Authorization Act of 2023. The legislation specifically authorizes $700 million in new bond authorizations (all for capital improvements and developments) and makes clean-up changes to the state’s bond acts. HB 3551 passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk.
Budget Implementation: HB 3817 (Gordon Booth/Sims) contains the substantive language to administer the FY 24 budget. Passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk. The bill:
· Authorizes multiple GRF transfers including $200 million to the Pension Stabilization Fund and $100 million to the Build Illinois Projects Fund
· Allows for a transfer limit of 8% for state agencies for FY 24
· Transfers $40 million from the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Fund to the Cannabis Business Development Fund for social equity applicants who are struggling with outside financing
· Contains a College Health Insurance Program rate increase to address issues within the program
· Creates the Opioid Remediation Services Capital Investment Grant Program to make capital improvements to local governments and substance use prevention and treatment providers for opioid abatement
· Authorizes DECO to issue competitive grants to attract or retain conventions, meetings, sporting events and tradeshows
· Creates the HOME ILLINOIS Program to focus on preventing and ending homelessness
· Creates a Fire Station Rehabilitation and Construction Grant Program
· Creates the IEMA State Projects Fund to provide grants to not-for-profits that are at high risk for terrorist attack
· Directs ISBE to administer a three-year teacher vacancy grant pilot program
· Authorizes the DHS Smart Start Childcare program
· Authorizes grants to create crisis response maps
· Increases childcare rates to 225% FPL
· Authorizes use of Tobacco Settlement Funds to pay off the rail-splitter bonds
· Allows DoI to charge an annual compliance fee for police and fire pension funds to allow for audits of those funds
· Allows DNR to require matching funds for OSLAD grants
· Increases the franchise tax
· Effectuates fund transfers to assist in the Secretary of State’s technology modernization efforts
Medicaid/Healthcare Omnibus: SB 1298 (Gillespie/Gabel) represents the 2024 omnibus Medicaid and Healthcare package. The legislation provides rate increases for various provider types (beginning January 1,2024) including: inpatient; substance use disorder treatment; across the board rate increases for hospitals; long-acting reversible contraceptives; SLFs; FQHCs; nursing services for medically fragile and technology dependent children; nursing home support; ventilator care in nursing homes; occupational, physical and speech therapies; ground and air ambulances; adult day services; medically complex and developmentally disabled individuals; and to support a $17/hour wage for homecare workers in the Community Care Program.
The legislation also creates a new billing code for dementia assessment and care planning as well as gives IDFPR rulemaking to implement the limited licensure for international medical graduates.
Allows the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to implement emergency rules for the Healthcare for Immigrant Adults program which will allow the Department the flexibility and tools to manage costs within the program.
The legislation authorizes telehealth services for developmentally disabled individuals and authorizes subclinical professionals at FQHCs to be reimbursed for services. The legislation also makes technical changes for HFS, DOA and DOI. SB 1298 passed both houses and heads to the Governor desk.
Energy Omnibus: HB 3445 (Walsh/Stadelman), as amended, makes several energy related changes. The bill expands eligibility of solar tax credits to public institutions of higher education. Requires the IPA to conduct an energy policy study to look at the potential impacts of utility offshore wind projects, energy storage solutions and underground transmission. Requires the ICC to host a series of stakeholder workshops to look at the planning and delivery of thermal energy networks. Includes trailer language regarding commercial wind and solar citing requested by the Farm Bureau. And finally, establishes temporary right of first refusal in the MISO territory. HB 3445 passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk.
TIF Extensions: HB 1109 (Croke/Gillespie) reforms the way TIF extensions are granted. Under this legislation, a municipality is required to submit (to the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives) written support for the extension of the life of the redevelopment project area from each school district, community college district, and park district that has authority to directly levy taxes on property within the redevelopment project area. HB 1109 passed Senate and is pending in the House on concurrence.
State-based Health Insurance Exchange: Legislation to create a state based health insurance exchange passed both houses – HB 579 (Gabel/Gillespie). As amended in the Senate, the appointment of the Marketplace Director and of the 10 public members will be made by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Authorizes the Department of Insurance to issue rules to require that plans offered on the exchange conform with standardized plan designs. Makes a change concerning the purpose of the assessment. Caps the assessment at 3.5%. HB 579 passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk.
Hydrogen Fuel Credit: HB 2204 (Costa Howard/Koehler) creates the Hydrogen Fuel Replacement Tax Credit Act which establishes an income tax credit for eligible taxpayers (in an amount equal to $1/kg of eligible zero-carbon hydrogen used by the eligible taxpayer during the previous year). Provides for additional credits if the use of the zero-carbon hydrogen by the eligible taxpayer occurs in an equity investment eligible community. HB 2204 passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk.
Health Insurance Rate Review: HB 2296 (Gabel/Fine), as amended, grants the Department of Insurance the ability to review, modify or reject rate increases for all individual and small group accident and health insurance policies. Requires the Department of Insurance (beginning before or on May 1, 2026 and annually thereafter) to report to the Governor and the General Assembly on health insurance coverage, affordability, and cost trends. Provides that any forms and rates filed for large employer group accident and health insurance shall be automatically deemed approved after 90 days after filing. HB 2296 passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk.
Elections Omnibus: SB 2123 (Morrison/Stuart), as amended, represents an omnibus elections package that:
· Establishes a Ranked-Choice and Voting Systems Task Force
· Creates the Security of Remote Vote by Mail Task Force to study the feasibility of implementing a remote vote by mail system
· Delays the date by which the General Assembly must draw districts for the newly elected Chicago School Board from July 1, 2023, to on or before April 1, 2024
· Extends the Voting for Individuals with Disabilities Task Force
· Permits 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote
· Directs election jurisdictions to have one election day voting center; jurisdictions with 500,000 or more voters must provide at least two election day voting centers
· Increases the fees for discovery recount and requires challengers to election results to pay a security deposit
· Prevents lame duck mayors from appointing members to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Board
· Declares that in 2024, the general election day is a school holiday
· Ensures that, in consolidated elections, the county clerk is notified of objections to petitions
· Alters the permanent vote-by-mail option and notification
· Requires ballots use capital and lower-case letters
· Mandates that constitutional amendments be printed at the top of ballots, and if newspapers publish the amendment in print editions, they must also include it on their website content
· Eliminates a requirement that an organization disclose its sponsoring entities
· Simplifies vote by mail attestation
· Permits flexibility for County convention dates
· Alters the election process of park district commissioners per their request
· Extends the Judicial Elections Task Force
· Makes changes to the jurisdiction of petition challenges for state senate candidates in Cook County and the city of Chicago.
SB 2123 passed both houses and heads to the Governor’s desk.
Passed Both Houses: The following bills passed both houses and head to the Governor’s desk.
HB 2518 (Croke/Turner) represents an omnibus TIF package.
HB 3903 (Rita/Murphy), as amended, attempts to address the ongoing ethical concerns over automated law enforcement systems.
HB 2507 (Kifowit/Villanueva), as amended, represents an omnibus property tax package.
HB 2878 (Hoffman/Castro) represents the 2023 procurement omnibus.
SB 1462 (Peters/Buckner) seeks to prevent the Gaming Board from issuing licenses to those who have engaged in certain illegal activities.
SB 424 (Villivalam/Olickal), as amended, extends the First Time Weapons Offender Program with modifications. Similar provisions were included previously on HB 676 (Hirschauer/Harmon) which passed the House a couple of weeks ago, but later stalled in the Senate.
HB 3902 (Hernandez/Holmes) creates the Drones as First Responders Act to authorize the use of drones for additional law enforcement purposes.
HB 2949 (Scherer/Murphy) requires after-school care programs to allow a child with severe, potentially life-threatening allergies to possess, self-administer, and use an epinephrine auto-injector or inhaler.
HB 2352 (Evans/Martwick) makes changes to the Cook County pension system. The legislation codifies the Cook County practice regarding actuarial determined contributions; creates the Tier 2 safe harbor fix; and allows veterans to purchase two years of service credit.
HB 2089 (Jones/Harris) represents agreed upon language regarding insurance supplier diversity.
HB 3326 (Williams/Feigenholtz) is an initiative of the Secretary of State which will ensure that automatic license plate readers are not used to target individuals from out-of-state seeking access to reproductive healthcare or to track their immigration status.
SB 1675 (Villanueva/Buckner), as amended, reforms Illinois’ property tax sale process.
HB 3062 (Hoffman/Harmon) limits venue shopping in cases challenging the constitutionality of state statute or Executive Order.
SB 1508 (Hunter/Hernandez) creates a joint special instant scratch-off game (beginning January 1, 2024) for the benefit of several veterans, social service, and not-for-profit organizations. The bill sunsets the joint scratch off on January 1, 2027 and caps the number of causes funded through the joint scratch off at 10 causes in total at any given time.
HB 3643 (Rashid/Villivalam) requires public schools, the University of Illinois hospital, and state correctional facilities – beginning in July of 2024 – to offer religious meals including Halal and Kosher foods. Further requires ISBE to engage in a master contract to allow schools to execute the provisions of the legislation.
SB 89 (Glowiak Hilton/Rita) is an omnibus sunset extension bill which addresses the repeal dates for seven items.
SB 850 (Belt/Canty) directs the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to establish the “Grocery Initiative,” a program that would study “food deserts” in Illinois and provide grants to new or existing grocery stores in these areas.
SB 1561 (Villanueva/Cassidy), as amended, is the second trailer bill to the Patient Provider and Protection Act this session.
Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor made the following appointments:
· Karen Harris will continue to serve as a Member of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board.
· David Menchetti will continue to serve as a Member of the Workers’ Compensation Medical Fee Advisory Board.