November 12, 2021 Update

New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed SB 1169 which creates a new section of the Health Care Right of Conscience Act pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic providing that “It is not a violation of this Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer, to take any measures or impose any requirements, including, but not limited to, any measures or requirements that involve provision of services by a physician or health care personnel, intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations”.
The bill continues by saying “It is not a violation of the Act to enforce such measures or requirements. This Section is a declaration of existing law and shall not be construed as a new enactment. Accordingly, this Section shall apply to all actions commenced or pending on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly. Nothing in this Section is intended to affect any right or remedy under federal law”. 
SB 1169 takes effect June 1, 2022. Read the Governor’s press release here.
GOMB Five-Year Fiscal Projections:
The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget released the annual Economic and Fiscal Policy Report showing Illinois’ fiscal condition has improved since the enactment of the FY 2022 budget.   For the current fiscal year, GOMB projects a surplus of $418 million which is due in large part to sales and income tax revenue estimates being increased by $1.4 billion due to greater than expected receipts. Of the remaining new revenue, GOMB is targeting $1.9 billion toward the early retirement of COVID-19 related borrowing, $913 million to address unpaid employee health insurance bills, $300 million towards the rainy-day fund and another $150 million toward what they characterize as “other pressures”. As of Tuesday, Illinois’ bill backlog stood at $4.8 billion.  Looking ahead, GOMB is projecting significantly smaller deficits than estimated previously in the general funds budget for fiscal years 2023 through 2027. The forecasted fiscal year 2023 shortfall was reduced from $2.9 billion, as estimated in 2019, to $406 million, and the 2024 shortfall was reduced from $3.2 billion, as estimated in 2019, to a deficit of $820 million. 
Read the full report here.
COVID-19 Update: On Thursday, Illinois health officials reported 5,044 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 deaths. Wednesday’s new case report was the highest since September 10th. As of Wednesday night, 1,467 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois. The 7-day case positivity rate stands at 2.5%.
2022 Election Update:
Congresswoman Marie Newman announced she will challenge Congressman Sean Casten in the June Primary.  Newman, a freshman, was drawn into the same district as Congressman Chuy Garcia in the new maps approved by the General Assembly. 
Former Democrat State Representative Litesa Wallace announced she is running for Congress in the new 17th Congressional District. Former meteorologist Eric Sorensen also announced he will be running for as a Democrat for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who lives in the newly drawn 17th district, is not seeking reelection.
Democrat Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas is running for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd Congressional District. More candidates are expected to emerge in the coming weeks. State Senator Omar Aquino has expressed an interest in running for this seat but has not made a final decision.   Republican State Representative Dan Brady amended his campaign committee statement to signify his intention in the Secretary of State’s office. Brady has not formally announced his candidacy. 
State Representative John D’Amico resigned his House seat effective Friday, November 5th. D’Amico, who served as chair of the House Transportation: Vehicles and Safety Committee, represented the 15th District for the past 10 years. Local Democrats have 30 days to appoint his replacement.
Redistricting Update: The week of December 6th is when a three-judge federal court panel will hear three consolidated cases challenging the new legislative district maps. Plaintiffs have submitted their draft maps to the court for review. Capitol News has more here and here.
The House Housing Committee will hold a hearing on November 16th at 1:00 pm in Virtual Room 1 to discuss ARP resources and housing ownership.
The House Elementary & Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing & Charter Schools will hold a hearing on November 16th at 3: 00 pm in room 114 of the Capitol Budling to discuss exploring the impact of standardized testing on the education community and the future of standardized testing in Illinois.
The House Housing Committee will hold a hearing on November 30th at 1:00 pm in Virtual Room 1 to discuss ARP Resources & Housing regarding people facing barriers to housing.
The House Mental Health and Addiction Committee will hold a hearing on December 8th at 10:00 am in the Bilandic Building to discuss funding residential mental health services for children. 
Note that the deadline to file a request for bill drafting is January 7th in the Senate and January 14th in the House.