COVID-19 Update: With COVID-19 cases skyrocketing statewide, the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday recommended people stay at home as much as possible, including working from home, and only going out when needed for essential items. On Thursday, Governor Pritzker warned that if “the numbers” do not turn around, he will be forced to issue another mandatory stay-at-home order in the coming days.
Illinois’ new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at an all-time high. Illinois reported record levels of new cases all week, with over 12,000 new cases being reported for the last three days. According to the Governor, since October 1st, Illinois has seen a 459% increase in COVID-19 cases, a 217% increase in COVID-19 deaths, a 179% increase in hospitalizations and a 161% increase in patients on ventilators.
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported a record 12,702 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 43 additional deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 536,542 cases, including 10,477 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. On Thursday, labs reported 100,617 test results, the highest one-day total to date. As of Wednesday night, 5,258 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 956 patients were in the ICU and 438 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Beginning November 11th, Regions 5, 7, and 8 – which include far southern Illinois and Chicago’s south and western suburbs – entered Tier 2 mitigations. Under these enhanced mitigations, party size at bars and restaurants is reduced to six persons. Indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 persons and organized group recreational activities are limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25 percent of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors. More information is here.
The Illinois Department of Public Health released contact tracing data related to outbreaks and exposure locations. The data will be updated weekly. View the data here . More information on the Department’s contact tracing efforts is here.
Mitigations for the City of Chicago: Beginning at 6 am on Monday, November 16th, Chicago will implement new measures to slow the spread of the virus. Detailed information is here. Chicago residents are being asked to following these guidelines:
· Only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food, or receiving deliveries. If you do leave home, practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times.
· Do not have gatherings in your home with anybody outside of your household (except for essential staff such as home health care workers or educators), even with trusted family or friends.
· Avoid all non-essential, out-of-state travel; if travel is essential, quarantining or testing negative prior to travel is required, depending on which state a traveler is originating from.
· Comply with City and State Orders, including wearing face coverings, limiting gatherings, and mandating early closure of non-essential businesses at 11 p.m.
· Practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others if you go outside to get fresh air.· Use remote modes of communication like phone or video chat instead of visiting friends or family, especially on holidays such as Thanksgiving.
· Limiting meetings and social events to 10 individuals (both indoors and outdoors). This applies to weddings, birthday parties, dinners/social events, funerals.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution: The Illinois Department of Public Health is seeking a vendor to assist with planning, logistical operations and quality improvement services for Statewide COVID-19 mass vaccination activities. Illinois is required by the CDC to plan for and operationalize a vaccination response to COVID-19 within Illinois in line with their COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations. More information is here.
High School Sports: The Illinois High School Association voted this week to require member schools to adhere to IDPH Guidance with respect to basketball. The Board had previously voted to allow schools to make individual decisions regarding participation in the upcoming basketball season set to start on November 16th. Governor Pritzker and the Department of Public Health categorized basketball as a high-risk sport, preventing any start to the season at this time.
The Illinois High School Association, which regulates Illinois’ high school sports, is inviting representative from the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Principals’ Association, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the State Board of Education and a coalition of superintendents to attend the IHSA Board meeting on November 19th. The IHSA indicated a desire to create a dialogue and build a more collaborative relationship with all involved.
Utility Shut-off Moratorium: The Illinois Commerce Commission announced the moratorium on disconnections has voluntarily been extended by several utilities through the winter of 2021 for eligible low -income residential customers and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship. Participating utilities are: Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, Commonwealth Edison’ Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois.
Executive Orders:Executive Order 2020-70 Imposes Tier 2 mitigations on Regions 5, 7, and 8 – covering Illinois’ far southern counties and south and western suburbs of Chicago. Additional mitigations include a tighter gathering cap of 10 individuals rather than 25 and new table caps of six rather than 10 at restaurants and bars.
Cannabis Regulators Association: State cannabis regulators from across the United States announced formation of a non-partisan organization, the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA), to better share institutional knowledge and regulatory best practices. Cannabis regulators from Illinois and 18 other states have joined in filing documents to establish CANNRA, which is being created in order to assist federal, state, and local jurisdictions that have approved or are weighing legalization of cannabis.
CANNRA will facilitate communication and information sharing between subject matter experts in regulatory approaches for industrial hemp, medical cannabis, and adult-use cannabis. This will include exchanges with research organizations, public health officials, policymakers, legal authorities, advocacy groups, and cannabis industry participants.
CANNRA founding members include the principal cannabis regulators from 19 states: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.
Social Equity Licenses: One Thursday, Sangamon County Jude Adam Giganti refused to grant a temporary restraining order against the State of Illinois in a lawsuit filed by SBI IL LLC, Vertical Management LLC and GRI Holdings. The three companies received perfect scores to qualify for a lottery to win cannabis licenses. In his ruling, Giganti said the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate they would be irreparable harmed by the state allowing for rescoring of applicants for the lottery.
November Election Update:
· In the 14th Congressional District, the AP declared Congressman Lauren Underwood (D, Naperville) the winner over State Senator Jim Oberweis (R, Sugar Grove). Oberweis is refusing to concede and hinted he may request a recount.· In the 10th Senate District, Senator Robert Martwick (D, Chicago) defeated a challenge from Anthony Beckman (R, Harwood Heights).· The Illinois Supreme Court Justices unanimously selected Appellate Judge Robert L. Carter, 74 of Ottowa, to represent the 3rd District. The appointment is effective December 8th and ends on December 5th, 2022 when the newly elected Justice will take office. · In the 68th Representative District, Representative John Cabello (R, Machesney Park) holds on to a slim lead over Dave Vella (D, Rockford). This race remains too close to call.· In the 51st Representative District: Chris Bos (R, Lake Zurich) holds the lead over Representative Mary Edly-Allen (D, Libertyville). While Bos is expected to win, this race has not been called.
101st General Assembly:
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Don Harmon agreed to cancel the upcoming veto session scheduled for November 17th – 19th and December 1st – 3rd. Leader Harmon said “this is not the time to physically bring together hundreds of people from all around the state”. The Governor expressed his “disappointment” with the decision, noting “there is much work to be done”. The Legislature is expected to convene for a lame-duck session in early January, when passing legislation with an immediate effective date will require a simple majority in both chambers. The 102nd General Assembly is sworn into office at noon on January 13th.
At this time, no January session dates have been scheduled. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available. Virtual committee hearings are expected to continue in the Senate. The House, however, did not authorize virtual hearings.
Senate Majority Leader Limberly Lightford, Chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, said that the caucus’ legislation will be ready when it is safe to reconvene in Springfield.
Governor Pritzker announced he will be convening a meeting of the four legislative leaders to discuss how to address the $3.9 billion hole in the FY 21 budget. At the first meeting, the Governor wants the leaders to agree on the size and scope of the deficit. Information on FY 21 budget ishere.
Representative Tony McCombie announced she will not challenge House Republican Leader Jim Durkin for the caucus leadership position. They issued a joint statement which reads: “The House Republican caucus will remain united in fighting for critical reforms to bring our state fiscal stability and rid it of the corruption it has been under for decades of Democrat control. We share the same goals and will work together as a caucus to help the people of Illinois.”
Representative Lilly filed legislation, (HB5863) which creates the Park and Museum District Business Enterprise Council for Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities comprised of members appointed by the Governor, including individuals representing businesses that are minority-owned or women-owned or owned by persons with disabilities, an individual representing the business community, and individuals representing park districts and museum districts. Creates an aspirational goal in park districts and museum districts of not less than 30% of the total dollar amount of contracts to be awarded to businesses owned by minorities, women, and persons with disabilities
The Senate Commerce and Economic Development, Executive and Labor Committees held a joint virtual hearing to discuss wage equity, worker’s rights and consumer protection.
The Senate Criminal Law Committee and the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety held a joint virtual hearing to discuss police reform in the areas of decertification and licensure.
The Senate Public Health and Human Services Committees held a joint virtual hearing to discuss policy recommendations on health disparities, access to health care, behavioral health and diversity in health care and culturally competent health care.
The Senate Transportation, Executive, Commerce and Economic Development, and State Government Committees held a joint virtual hearing to discuss diversity in procurement, BEP and DBE policies and labor unions.
January 13, 2021 – Inauguration of the 102nd General Assembly