New Laws: The Governor signed the following measures into law:
· HB4292 which extends the pension buyout option for state employees to 2026. The bill authorizes $1 billion in additional general obligation bond funding to extend the buyout program.
· SB3197 which expands access to health insurance benefits with no premium costs for the families of state employees who lose their life during employment.
· HB4785 which amends the Cook County Forest Preserve District Act by moving the Cook County Forest Preserve District levy to after the first Monday in October and by the first Monday in December annually.
· SB3893 which allows substitute teachers to teach up to 120 school days beginning with the 2021-2022 school year through the 2022-2023 school year.
· HB1449 extends the sunset date of the Elevator Safety and Regulation Act and the Fire Equipment Distributor and Employee Regulation Act of 2011.
Roe v. Wade: Governor Pritzker and legislative Democrats quickly promised to protect a woman’s right to choose following the leaked draft US Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. Governor Pritzker promised “no matter what atrocity of an opinion the Supreme Court officially rolls out this summer in regards to Roe versus Wade – abortion will always be safe and legal here in Illinois.”
Senate President Don Harmon promised “As long as there is a Democratic majority in the Illinois State Senate, women will have their rights protected. We will stand as a bulwark against any efforts to turn back the clock to darker days.”
House Speaker Welch said “We’ve been warned this day would come. That’s why we’ve worked hard in Illinois to ensure Roe v. Wade is codified into law and reproductive health care will never be in jeopardy. In Illinois, we will never go back.”
In 2019, the Reproductive Health Care Act became law which establishes a fundamental right to reproductive healthcare, including abortion and maternity care. In 2021, the Parental Notification of Abortion Act was repealed. This year, the House passed HR 789 which expresses support for women’s reproductive rights and HR790 which supports Roe v. Wade.
Representative Kelly Cassidy suggested others ways Illinois could respond if the high Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Her suggestions include passing HB1464 (Hirschauer) which provides protections for healthcare professionals who perform abortions – both here and in other states – from potential adverse disciplinary or licensing action from states that have more restrictive laws in place. Representative Cassidy also suggested exploring ways to make Illinois more welcoming to individuals who are coming to Illinois for sanctuary including making it easier to transfer professional licenses from other states, offering additional protections, and ensuring resources are available for those who cannot afford or do not have coverage.
Read the full Democratic response here.
Former Republican Governor Jim Edgar spoke this week to the impact the leak of the draft decision will have on the upcoming Illinois elections. Edgar believes the political landscape leading up to the June primary and November general election has been upended and he predicts that “abortion will suffocate every other issue” and will be the dominate issue in statehouse and Congressional campaigns. Edgar also predicts that the leak will mobilize the Democratic base and increase voter turnout among young woman in particular.
Credit Upgrade: Fitch Credit Ratings upgraded Illinois’ credit rating two notches this week – making it the third rating agency to upgrade Illinois’ credit this year. Fitch cited “fundamental improvements in Illinois’ fiscal resilience including full unwinding of pandemic-era and certain pre-pandemic non-recurring fiscal measures, meaningful contributions to reserves and sustained evidence of more normal fiscal decision-making.” Read more on the upgrade here.
ARISE Grants: The Illinois Department of Public Health is offering up to $3.7 million in grants for communities outside of Cook County to address and implement COVID-19 health equity strategies. The grants are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Activating Relationships In Illinois for Systemic Equity (ARISE) is intended to support socio-economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities outside of Cook County that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Read more here.
Anti-Violence Funding: Community Organizations working on violence prevention and interruption are eligible for $113 million in the second round of violence prevention funding. The funds are available in neighborhoods that have experienced concentrated firearm violence, including 42 areas across the state — 26 in Chicago and 16 in the suburbs and downstate. Read more including how to apply here.
Electric Vehicles: Illinois officials wants to focus the remaining $84 million in Volkswagen Settlement on electric transportation and infrastructure. Under the revised plan, Illinois will replace old diesel engines with all-electric school buses, public transit, Class 4-8 local freight trucks, and light-duty charging infrastructure to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from mobile sources in areas of Illinois that are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change and air pollution. Read more here.
Executive Order: Executive Order 2022-11 amends Executive Order 2022-06 to continue mask mandates for individuals, regardless of vaccination status, where federally required; in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and in healthcare settings.
ATTORNEY GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS:
Student Loan Debt: Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a multistate coalition of eight attorneys general urging President Biden to fully cancel federal student loan debt owed by every federal student loan borrower in the country. The coalition urges the president to immediately exercise his authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel the more than $1.7 trillion owed to the federal government by student borrowers. Joining Raoul were the attorneys general of Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Puerto Rico and Washington. Read more here.
102nd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
April Revenue: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability issued their April briefing noting that the General Revenue Fund grew by an unprecedented $3.024 billion in April primarily due to record month of income tax revenues. According to the report, “the $8.037 billion receipted in April was the highest base revenue total in any month in the State’s history.”
A record month on income tax revenues was the primary reason for the huge increase. Gross personal income tax receipts increased $2.719 billion, or $2.312 billion net. Corporate income tax revenues grew by $717 million in April, or $557 net. Sales tax receipts grew $49 million, or $26 million net. Inheritance taxes were up $64 million; insurances taxes were up $11 million; vehicle taxes increased by $5 million; interest on State funds and investments grew $2 million; and liquor taxes increased by $1 million. Declines were seen in miscellaneous sources ($17 million); cigarette taxes ($9 million); public utilities taxes ($8 million); and corporate franchise taxes ($2 million).
Transfers into GRF were up $10 million collectively. Casino transfers were up by $5 million, miscellaneous transfers were up $4 million and lottery proceeds were up $1 million, and federal source revenues increased $72 million.
Illinois Freedom Caucus: Five conservative House Republicans formed the Illinois Freedom Caucus to support limited government. Members of the new caucus include Republican state Representatives Chris Miller, Brad Halbrook, Dan Caulkins, Adam Niemerg, and Blaine Wilhour. Miller will serve as caucus chairman and Halbrook as vice chair.