103rd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois General Assembly concluded its second and final week of the Fall Veto Session. Both chambers are set to return to Springfield for the 2024 Spring Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 16. The House calendar is here. The Senate calendar is here. Adjournment is scheduled for May 24, although legislators are asked to block off the remainder of May in the event session has not concluded. The House is scheduled to be in session 51 days while the Senate is scheduled to be in session 46 days. New this year is an amendment drafting “black out” period while staff finalizes drafting legislation for bill introductions. Amendment drafting begins February 9. See a full list of key session dates below.
Starting January 1, legislation with an immediate effective date requires only a simple majority for passage. Bills not passed during the Fall Veto Session could be considered during 2nd year of the 103rd General Assembly.
Several measures stalled during Veto Session. Legislators failed to take action to renew the Invest in Kids Tax Credit, thus allowing it to expire at the end of the calendar year. Also failing to make progress: a measure allowing legislative staff to unionize. While clearing the House during the first week of Veto Session, the bill stalled in the Senate this week.
“Karina’s Bill” — which would establish a process to remove guns from domestic abusers – went without legislative action too. A Senate President spokesperson said several issues with the bill, including questions of enforcement, were not resolved in time to act on the measure during the Veto Session. Watch for this to resurface in the spring.
Extending the sunset for certain enhanced firearm sentencing passed one chamber but not the other. The Senate approved HB 1440 by 42-12 but the House did not call the measure. Another area of unfinished business is the electoral process for the newly elected Chicago School Board. While the Legislature attempted to address that aspect, it adjourned without being able to do so. Democrats will continue to work on this issue. See additional discussion below.
Vetoes: Six vetoes were before the General Assembly; it acted on just one. The Legislature accepted the Governor’s amendatory veto of HB 2878 (Hoffman/Castro). The underlying bill represents a procurement omnibus. The Governor objected to language to authorize public-private partnerships for local transportation projects and removed that provision from the bill. HB 2878 now becomes law.
The subjects of the five other vetoes were amended onto other legislation (see below) with varying degrees of success.
Nuclear Moratorium: HB 2473 (Yednock/Rezin), as amended, repeals the nuclear moratorium for reactors of fewer than 300 megawatts – defined as small nuclear reactors – beginning January 1, 2026. Directs the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (the lead agency) to establish rules for decommissioning, environmental monitoring, and emergency preparedness by January 1, 2026. Authorizes the Governor to commission a study researching the state’s role in guiding the development of small module nuclear reactors.
HB 2473 was intended to counter Governor Pritzker’s veto of SB 76 (Rezin/Yednock) which would have lifted a moratorium on new nuclear power plants in the state. The latter was deemed “too broad,” according to the Governor’s veto. HB 2473 now heads to the Governor’s desk, having been affirmed by the Senate 44-7, and in the House by a vote of 98-8. The Governor has indicated he looks forward to reviewing and signing the bill.
Energy Omnibus: SB 1699 (Cunningham/Walsh) represents the energy omnibus passed in the Spring Session on HB 3445 (Walsh/Stadelman) minus the right of first refusal language requested by Ameren. The Governor amendatorily vetoed HB 3445 to remove the first right of refusal language. SB 1699 passed the House unanimously and the Senate concurred by a vote of 51-0. SB 1699 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
E-Verify: SB 508 (Cervantes/Delgado), as amended, provides that — unless otherwise required by federal or state law — an employer shall not voluntarily enroll in the E-Verify program or a similar system and provides for additional rights and protections granted to an employee if there is a discrepancy. This legislation is intended to clean up SB 1515 (Cervantes/Delgado) – which sponsors asked the Governor to veto. After negotiations and a series of amendments, the business community moved to neutral on the bill. SB 508 passed the Senate by a vote of 41-13 and is now pending in the House.
Property Tax Omnibus: SB 2315 (Villanueva/Kifowit), as amended, addresses the amendatory veto to HB 2507 (Kifowit/Villanueva); that action by the Governor removed provisions to lower property tax rates for private nursing homes and SMHRF in Cook County. SB 2315 passed the House 103-0-1 and is now pending in the Senate.
SB 2315 contains the following remaining provisions of HB 2507 (minus the nursing home language):
· Changes the veterans’ homestead exemption for WWII veterans; adjustments also address service-connected disabilities and surviving spouses.
· Implements a homestead exemption for surviving spouses of fallen police officers and fallen rescue workers (in an amount equal to 50% of the equalized assessed value of the property).
· Alters the valuation of non-profit wastewater facilities.
· Addresses the Historic Residence Assessment Freeze Law, providing that the fair cash value of the property shall be based on the final determination by the assessment officer, board of review, Property Tax Appeal Board, or court. Directs that — after the expiration of the eight-year valuation period — if the current fair cash value is less than the adjusted base year valuation, the assessment is to be based on the current fair cash value.
· Makes changes concerning multi-township assessors.
· Directs that property that is used for a petroleum refinery may be the subject of a real property tax assessment settlement agreement among the taxpayer and taxing districts in which the property is situated.
· Changes the Park District Aquarium and Museum Act. Allows the board of park commissioners or corporate authorities of a municipality (currently, only boards of park commissioners) to levy a tax — if the park district or municipality has control of a public park or parks within the park district or municipality in which an aquarium or museum is maintained.
· Amends the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law of the Property Tax Code. Provides that extensions for levies (made under the Park District and Municipal Aquarium and Museum Act) are special purpose extensions and are not included in the park district’s or municipality’s aggregate extension.
· Establishes an exemption for municipality-built homes.
Halal/Kosher Foods: The revamped Halal/Kosher food bill, SB 457 (Villivalam/Olickal), which passed out of the Senate during the first week of veto session, was not considered by the House this week. That bill could be considered during the Spring Session.
Elected Chicago School Board: Both the House and the Senate filed competing legislation this week to outline the electoral process for the newly elected Chicago School Board. Senator Harmon first filed Senate Floor Amendment # 1 to HB 2233 (Hoffman/Harmon) which outlines the electoral process for the new Chicago Elected School Board and establishes ethics requirements and conflict of interest provisions for members. The measure also calls for the creation of the Black Student Achievement Committee within the Board, to focus on the disparity in academic performance among Black students.
Under SFA # 1, there would be 20 districts created for the 2024 election. Of those, 10 districts would be up for election in 2024, and 10 districts (plus the Board Chair) would be appointed by the mayor. A map detailing which districts will be elected and which districts will be appointed is available here. Beginning in 2026, the 10 districts with appointed members would use elections instead. SFA # 1 passed the Senate Executive Committee 9-4.
After hearing testimony on SFA # 1 in the Executive Committee on Tuesday, President Harmon filed SFA # 2 to HB 2233 which moves to a fully elected board in 2024 (rather than a transitional hybrid Board). Neither of these amendments was adopted.
Senator Harmon then filed SFA # 3 to HB 2233, saying that it incorporates some of the ideas from the House version (see below). In the latest iteration, all 20 districts would be up for election in 2024 for a two-year term. The mayor would appoint the Board President to serve a two-year term. In 2026, there would be a primary election and the top two vote getters would advance to the November general election. Staggered terms would start in 2026, with 10 districts having 2- 4-year terms and 10 districts having 4-2-year terms. In 2032 — following redistricting — terms would mirror those of the Illinois Senate (4-4-2; 4-2-4; and 2-4-4). This amendment also establishes ethics requirements and conflict of interest provisions for members and creates the Black Student Achievement Committee within the Board, to focus on the disparity in academic performance among Black students. HB 2233, as amended by SFA # 3, passed the Senate by a vote of 38-12 and now heads to the House.
Meanwhile, the House was also considering legislation on the matter. It approved, by a vote of 78-33, HFA # 1 to SB 689 (Harmon/Williams) which establishes the districts and process for an elected Chicago Public School Board. The bill also creates the Black Student Achievement Committee within the Board to focus on the disparity in academic performance among Black students. The House sponsor testified that the House and Senate agree on the district boundaries. The challenge for legislators has been how to create a constitutional process to transfer from an appointed board to a hybrid board in 2024 to fully elected board in 2026. The legislation creates 20 districts which will be “nested” into pairs thus allowing everyone to vote. In 2024, voters will elect 10 members and the mayor will appoint a member for the other district. The Board Chair will be appointed in 2024 and elected in 2026. Board terms will be staggered after 2026.
Senate President Harmon opposed the House version as it was sent to the Senate and said, “the Illinois Senate is not going to consider an elected school board bill with woefully inadequate ethical provisions.” Following that statement, the House approved by 99-1 a trailer bill SB 2324
(Koehler/Williams), which incorporates the ethics provisions included from the Senate version. Both SB 689 and SB 2324 are pending in the Senate.
Paid Leave for All Workers Act: Senator Harmon filed Senate Floor Amendment # 2 to SB 509, which removes certain exemptions granted under the current law (including for airline workers); clarifies the definition of park districts; and makes the law applicated to certain contractors who offer recreational programs for persons with disabilities. This amendment was not considered this week and remains in the Committee on Assignments.
Senator Glowiak Hilton filed SB 2642 which would delay the effective date for the Paid Leave for All Workers Act from January 1, 2024 to July 1, 2024. That bill was filed too late to move through the legislative process during Veto Session and remains in the Committee on Assignments.
Also note, the Department of Labor published rules to implement the Paid Leave for All Workers Act which takes effect January 1, 2024. Read the rules here.
State Government Omnibus: HB 3641 (Burke/Cunningham), as amended, is an omnibus state government clean-up bill. HB 3641 passed the Senate unanimously. The House concurred with the Senate’s amendment by a vote of 97-9 and the bill now heads to the Governor’s desk. The bill:
· Transfers authority for constitutional officer protection to the Illinois State Police.
· Extends the Alternative Protein Task Force.
· Extends the repeal date of the ISP 911 grants to 2025.
· Aligns the definition of foster family home and residential treatment with federal guidelines.
· Changes the Crime Victims Compensation Act to allow multiple applicants to receive payment for funeral benefits.
· Moves the effective date to July 1, 2024, for state employee coverage for all types of medically necessary injectable medicines prescribed on-label or off-label to improve glucose or weight loss for use by adults diagnosed or previously diagnosed with prediabetes, gestational diabetes, or obesity. Clarifies that this applies in medically necessary situations.
· Makes changes to the ABLE Act.
· Moves the date that ISBE must provide instructional materials for Native American History.
· Makes changes regarding temporary laser displays.
· Amends the Children and Family Services Act. Modifies provisions relating to applications for Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, veterans’ benefits, and railroad retirement benefits.
· Alters the procurement code for failed bid notice requirements.
· Amends the School Code to modify the requirements for a provisional career and technical educator endorsement.
Cannabis Transportation: SB 1559 (Lightford/Ford), as amended, is a Department of Agriculture initiative addressing transportation licenses in the cannabis industry. Specifically, the bill pauses issuance of new licenses for licensed transporters from January 1, 2023, to January 1, 2027 and waives fees until January 1, 2027. Requires the Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer to complete a disparity and availability study that the Department can use to modify the licensing application process, to reduce/eliminate barriers and correct for discrimination that the study reveals. Beginning January 1, 2027, the Department of Ag will annually open applications on January 7. Applications will close March 15.
Passed Both Houses: The following items passed both Houses.
SB 384 (Feigenholtz/Moeller) as amended, makes changes to the Electric Vehicle Charging Act concerning EV-capable parking space requirements and residential requirements. SB 384 passed the House by a vote of 73-40 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The House concurred with the SFA # 1 to HB 351 (Tarver/Harmon) by a vote of 86-18-2. The bill creates the Task Force to Review Eligibility to Hold Public Office to make recommendations as to what criminal conduct should preclude an individual from holding public office. The bill also clarifies what information notaries must retain for the purpose of petitions. HB 351 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 385 (Belt/Hoffman) as it passed the Senate, allowed for quick-take proceedings for the purpose of expanding and redeveloping Springfield High School – a provision that was removed by HFA # 1 after the landowner and Springfield High reached an agreement to purchase the property. HFA # 3 transfers a parcel of land to the City of Venice and prevents a unit of local government from enforcing an ordinance against the remediation, redevelopment, or improvement of an inoperable State facility conveyed to a unit of local government for a recreational public purpose if the ordinance prohibits, restricts, or limits the remediation, redevelopment, or improvement of the inoperable State facility for a recreational public purpose. SB 385 passed the House by a vote of 71-34, with the Senate concurring 36-14. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 950 (Bryant/Friess) which, as amended, transfers land from the Department of Corrections to the City of Chester to allow the city to develop an alternate water source. SB 950 passed the House 113-0 (having passed the Senate unanimously in the first week of veto session) and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 767 (Fine/Manley) requires all hearing instruments offered for sale to be accompanied by a 30-business day return policy. SB 767 passed the House unanimously and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 765 (Harris/Jones) which addresses changes to reinsurance market for farmers in Illinois. SB 765 passed the House unanimously and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 382 (Edly-Allen/Gong-Gershowitz), as amended, represents a trailer bill to PA 103-294 which clarifies definitions in the Civil Remedies for Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images Act. SB 382 passed the House and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 690 (Castro/Didech) validates certain tax levies for community mental health boards to ensure that local referenda previously passed are effective. HCA # 1 provides that if a 708 board is in a county with less than 500,000 the largest municipality in the county with at least 125,000 residents may appoint 2 additional members to the 708 board. Provides that the members shall be appointed by the mayor of the municipality with the advice and consent of the municipality’s governing body. At this time, this provision will only apply to Winnebago County and will allow the city of Rockford to appoint members to the 708 Board. SB 690 passed the House by a vote of 75-36-1 and the Senate concurred by a vote of 38-15. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 1956 (Martwick/Slaughter) is a biproduct of a pension working group established by the Chicago Mayor’s office. The bill, as amended, brings Chicago Police into parity with the Chicago Fire Department by removing the birthdate restriction to receive the simple COLA. SB 1956 passed the House, as amended, by a vote of 94-8-1 and the Senate unanimously concurred. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
HB 1358 (Burke/Glowiak Hilton) which represent the FY 24 omnibus bill to extend 24 sunsets and statutory deadlines. SB 1358 passed the Senate by a vote of 54-2 and the House concurred by a vote of 102-0-1. HB 1358 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
HB 2394 (Morgan/Glowiak Hilton), as amended, is meant to help with backlog of licensing at IDFPR by allowing the Secretary of IDFPR to extend professional licenses, registrations and certificates, on an individual basis, if there is significant operational need to do so and creating a streamlined and expedited competitive bid process for the procurement of licensing software. HB 2394 passed the Senate and House unanimously. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 696 (Aquino/Huynh) extends TIFs for Village of Bourbonnais, City of Geneva, Village of Downers Grove, City of Chicago, Village of Fox River Grove, the Village of Ohio and the Village of Crete. SB 696 passed the House 94-11 and the Senate concurred 46-1. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
HB 2104 (Delgado/Villivalam) is a constituent-lead initiative which adds water safety to school curriculum. HB 2104 passed the Senate unanimously and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Senate concurred, by a vote of 37-18, with HFA # 2 to SB 1769 (Ventura/Hoffman) which requires all vehicles purchased or leased by government entities, except law enforcement and IEMA vehicles, to be zero-emission by 2030. HFA # 2 exempts vehicles purchased by the Department of Transportation as part of their consolidated vehicle procurement program. SB 1769 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The Senate concurred, by a vote of 48 – 6, with HFA # 1 to SB 1988 (Castro/Burke) which deals with Cook County assessments. Provides that when the Cook County Assessor makes revisions that increase a property owner assessment, the Assessor must continue to accept appeals from the property taxpayer for at least 30 business days from the latter of when the assessment notice was mailed or was published on the Assessor website. SB 1988 now heads to the Governor’s desk.
SB 1629 (Marwick/Kifowit) gives Chicago firefighters pension parity with downstate and suburban firefighters. SB 1629 passed the Senate 46-0.
Other Items Under Consideration: Several other items were under consideration this week.
HB 779 (Smith/Sims) is an effort to modernize the pawnbroker industry. Specifically, the bill: (1) Creates a sliding scale for financing pawns; (2) Prohibits the use of auto title pawn loans; and (3) Mandates annual training for pawn broker employees; and (4) requires an annual report and summary of pawns. HB 779 passed the Senate unanimously and now heads back to the House for concurrence.
The Illinois House approved SB 805 (Villanueva/Hoffman) which creates the Master Development Plan Recognition Act which clarifies that grants from DECO are not taxable events. SB 805 passed the House by a vote of 106-0-1 and is now pending on concurrence in the Senate.
Before adjourning, the Illinois Senate re-assigned legislation to create the State Beverage Container Recycling Refunds Act, SB 85 (Murphy), to the Senate Executive Committee.
2024 Key Dates and Session Deadlines:
January 19: House and Senate LRB Request Deadline
January 19 – February 9: LRB Blackout Period – No Requests Will Be Accepted
February 9: Senate and House Bill Filing Deadline and LRB Amendment Requests Begin
February 21: Governor’s Budget and State of the State Address
March 15: Senate Committee Deadline for Senate Bills
March 19: Primary Election
April 5: House Committee Deadline for House Bills
April 12: House and Senate Third Reading Deadline
May 3: Committee Deadline for Bills in the Opposite Chamber
May 17: House and Senate Third Reading Deadline for Bills in the Opposite Chamber
May 24: Adjournment
May 25 – 31: Contingent Session Days
Illinois Receives Ninth Credit Upgrade in Two Years: Illinois received its ninth credit rating upgrade in just over two years as Fitch Ratings elevated the state’s rating for general obligation bonds. “We are continuing to right the past fiscal wrongs in our state with disciplined fiscal leadership, and credit rating agencies and businesses alike are taking notice of Illinois’ remarkable progress,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Another credit rating upgrade means millions saved for Illinois taxpayers in interest—money back in the pockets of our state where it can better serve our residents.” Read more here and here.
Climate and Equitable Jobs Act EV Charging Notice of Funding Opportunity: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency posted the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act EV Charging Notice of Funding Opportunity for the purchase and installation of new Direct Current Fast Charging light-duty electric vehicle charging stations at publicly accessible locations. The NOFO and related documents have been posted to the Illinois EPA website. The NOFO will be accepted through 5:00 PM (CST) on December 22, 2023. All applicants must pre-qualify through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal.
Residential Energy Efficiency Trust Fund Grant Program: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will offer the Residential Energy Efficiency Trust Fund Grant Program (previously known as the Low-Income Residential Energy Efficiency Program or LIREE) with up to $5,000,000 in funding available for energy efficiency upgrades at single family or duplex residential properties. The Energy Efficiency Trust Fund Grant Program will benefit residents receiving housing assistance from a state or federal housing assistance program which are located in areas of environmental justice concern. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has been posted to the Agency’s website.
Eligible applicants include public housing authorities, units of local government (municipalities, counties, or townships), or nonprofit organizations. Examples of eligible projects include window replacement, heating and cooling equipment retrofits, and lighting upgrades. Total project costs may range from $25,000 – $500,000 with a match requirement subject to total funding request.
Illinois Department of Public Health awards grants for Child and Adolescent Health: IDPH awarded $3.5 million in funding to 19 different applicants to support post-pandemic child and adolescent health. Grants range from $92,000 to $200,000.
Of the new round of grants, 41% are awarded to behavioral health treatment centers, 21% to schools, 21% to healthcare groups, 11% to local health departments and 5% to colleges. The grants are intended to strengthen post-COVID-19 recovery efforts for school-based health needs and for preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences in the post-pandemic era. Read more here.
Illinois Department of Insurance Fines BCBS: The Illinois Department of Insurance levied $231,900 in fines for Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, for violations of the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act requirements for health insurers to post up-to-date, accurate, and complete provider directory information.
Earlier this year, following a targeted market conduct examination of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Department fined HCSC for violating NATA and ordered the company to take corrective action, including updating provider directories and making the information clearer to consumers. The health insurer’s delayed compliance with implementing changes to its provider directories to address the NATA violations resulted in the new fine. Read more here.
Capital Development Board: Governor Pritzker appointed Tamakia Edwards to serve as a Member of the Capital Development Board. Edwards currently works as the Chief Strategy Officer at Comprehensive Construction Consulting Inc.
Chicago Transit Authority: Governor Pritzker re-appointed Neema Jha to serve as a Member of the Chicago Transit Authority Board. She currently leads Professional Services for Amazon Web Services’ US Greenfield.
Vendor Summit: The Illinois Department of Central Management Services, in collaboration with co-sponsors Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, Department of Transportation and Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative, announced plans for the 2023 State of Illinois Vendor Summit. Scheduled for Thursday, November 30, 2023, the summit will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center East, located at 750 S. Halsted in Chicago, IL. Interested vendors are encouraged to register at www.illinois.gov/vendorsummit. Read more here.
Federal Appeals Court Rules on Illinois Assault Weapons Ban: A federal appeals court ruling on November 3 upheld the assault weapons ban passed by the State of Illinois at the beginning of the year. The ruling was on six related lawsuits that were consolidated by the court. The court found the consolidated cases had not met their burden to show they were likely to win in a constitutional challenge to the law. The decision is here. Gun rights groups plan to appeal. Read more here.
Higher Enrollment at Illinois Colleges: A new report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education notes that for the third straight year, freshmen enrollment has increased at Illinois’ public universities. According to the report, the total fall 2023 undergraduate enrollment at Illinois public universities increased 0.3 percent compared to the previous year. Read the report here.
COGFA Revenue Report: The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability released their October Report. Receipts for the State’s General Revenue Fund rose by $572 million. Read the full report here.
Election Update: Candidates for office can file their nominating petitions November 27 through December 4. The primary election is March 19 and general election is November 5. At the state level, all 118 members of the House, 20 of 59 State Senators, and all 17 Illinois Congressional Districts are up for election in 2024.
Chicago “Mansion Tax” Referendum: Voters in Chicago will be asked in the March 19 Primary Election if the city should increase the real estate transfer tax on properties over $1 million to fund homeless prevention. The full City Council approved the referendum at Tuesday’s meeting. Read more here.