102nd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois General Assembly adjourned the first week of veto session, with both chambers canceled Thursday’s scheduled session. The Legislature will return for the second and final week of Veto Session November 29 – December 1.
Traditionally, the two-week Veto Session is a time for Legislators to consider any Gubernatorial vetoes as well as any other urgent legislation. But because the Governor signed all the bills forwarded to him from the Spring Session, there were no vetoes for the General Assembly to consider. The Legislature instead used this first week of veto session to position a handful of measures for consideration during the final week of veto session and for a potential January lame-duck session.
The Illinois Senate is now meeting in the first floor of the Howlett Building (on the southside of the Capitol complex) while the north wing of the Capitol – including the Senate chambers – undergoes massive renovation. While there is no public viewing gallery in the temporary Senate Chamber, public viewing is available in the Hall of Flags in the Howlett Building or online at www.ilga.gov. Most Senators’ offices have been temporarily relocated to the Stratton Office Building. The project is expected to take three years.
The Illinois Senate unanimously approved HB 1293 (LaPointe/Harmon) which, as amended, represents a multi-pronged response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. The bill unanimously passed the House last spring and was amended in the Senate to make minor changes. HB 1293 now heads back to the House for concurrence. Specifically the bill:
- the investment of State funds and public funds in certain investments or institutions tied to Russia or Belarus.
- the State-funded retirement systems from investing moneys in Russian or Belarusian sovereign debt, Russian or Belarusian government-backed securities, any investment instrument issued by an entity that is domiciled or has its principal place of business in Russia or Belarus, or any investment instrument issued by a company that is subject to Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions.
- retirement systems from investing or depositing State funds in any bank that is domiciled or has its principal place of business in Russia or Belarus
Also, with respect to Public Funds/Pension, HB 1293 requires:
- each State-funded retirement system to instruct its investment advisors to sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all direct holdings of Russian or Belarusian sovereign debt and direct holdings of Russian or Belarusian government-backed securities from the retirement system’s assets under management in an orderly and fiduciarily responsible manner.
- the Illinois Investment Policy Board to make its best efforts to identify all companies that are domiciled or have their principal place of business in Russia or Belarus and companies subject to Russian harmful foreign activities sanctions and to include those companies in the list of restricted companies.
Ukrainian Resettle Services:
- the Illinois Department of Human Services to employ emergency rulemaking powers with respect to its refugee resettlement program in the case of an imminent, large-scale refugee resettlement event.
- the Money Laundering in Real Estate Task Force Act to, among other things, assess the exposure of real estate sectors in Illinois to illicit Russian money.
- the Illinois Elections and Infrastructure Integrity Task Force to evaluate and make recommendations to prevent not only foreign interference in the 2024 and other future elections, but also cyberattacks on State infrastructure.
Property Related Crime:
- the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation to conduct investigations of any property-related crimes — such as money laundering — involving individuals or entities listed on a sanctions list.
- all public institutions of higher education to disclose to the Board of Higher Education any endowment or other donation given to the institution from a source associated with any individual or entity listed on the sanctions list maintained by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control. This same disclosure policy applies to any company that is domiciled in (or has its principal place of business in) Russia or Belarus and is on the list of restricted companies developed by the Illinois Investment Policy Board.
The Illinois Senate approved HB 4073 (Manley/Murphy) which as amended, is intended to address the vacancy on the Niles Library Board by clarifying that the Secretary of State is authorized to make appointments to a local library board when the vacancy has existed for a certain amount of time. HB 4073 heads to the House for concurrence.
The Senate also unanimously approved SB 931 (Villivalam) which changes the name of the Illinois Indian American Advisory Council to the Illinois South Asian American Advisory Council and makes other changes to make the Council more inclusive. SB 931 now heads to the House for consideration.
The Senate Revenue Committee approved SFA # 1 to HB 5189 (Davis/Villanueva) which is characterized as a revenue clean-up amendment and makes several changes to deductions. HB 5189 is now pending before the full Senate.
Javier Cervantes was appointed to replace Senator Tony Munoz who resigned October 21. Munoz first joined the Senate in 1999, serving as assistant majority leader since 2009. He did not seek reelection this year.
103RD ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
Caucuses met Tuesday afternoon and evening to elect their new leaders for the 103rd General Assembly. All four leaders will be officially elected in an organizational session on January 9, 2023. As expected, Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Chris Welch were reelected to their posts.
Republicans in both chambers will be under new leadership in the new General Assembly. In the House, Representative Tony McCombie of Savanna was selected as the next House Republican Leader. McCombie, who was first elected in 2016, is the first female to be elected to lead the House Republican Caucus. She replaces Republican Leader Jim Durkin who did not seek reelection to the caucus position.
In a statement McCombie said “The House Republican Caucus is focused on helping Illinois families by offering common sense solutions to the many problems our state faces. We will be a unified force that will grow our party by sticking to our core values and ending the corruption that has pervaded state government.”
In the Senate, Senator John Curran of Downers Grove was unanimously selected to replace Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie. Curran was first appointed to the Senate in 2017 to replace former Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno when she retired.
In a statement Curran said “I am humbled and honored to have the full support of my Senate Republican colleagues to serve as their new leader in the 103rd General Assembly. We stand ready, with our focus directed toward the future, on developing solutions that will address the critical issues facing our state. We are equally dedicated to growing our ranks, which will give all Illinoisans greater representation and balance in their state government.”
On Monday, the Governor’s Office and Management and Budget issued its annual Economic and Fiscal Policy Report to the General Assembly. The document outlines the long-term economic and fiscal policy objectives of the state, along with the economic and fiscal policy intentions for the upcoming fiscal year and for the subsequent four fiscal years.
Revenue projections for FY 2023 were revised upward by $3.69 billion – $1.473 billion from increases in income and sales taxes and $1.28 billion from an unexpected spike in the state’s Income Tax Refund Fund from last fiscal year.
The report notes that three new budget proposals – all of which require legislative approval:
• Deposit an additional $1.3 billion into the state’s rainy day fund, creating a balance of $2.3 billion. While currently the fund stands at $1.045 billion – its greatest amount ever – it nonetheless places Illinois among states with the most modest balances in their rainy day funds.
• Earmark funds to pay off revenue bonds that Illinois issued in 2010 to reduce bills incurred during the Great Recession. The bonds totaled $1.5 billion in borrowing, with about one-third of that in outstanding debt.
• Further reduce, by an unspecified amount, Illinois’ debt to the federal government with respect to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The state’s debt now stands at $1.345 billion plus interest. Last year’s level was $4.5 billion, which was reduced through various steps taken by the Governor and the legislature.
See the reports here.
Grant Match Program to Spur Cutting Edge
Technologies: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will offer $5 million in state-funded matching grants for businesses that have received federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
The state-funded SBIR/STTR Matching Grant Program is designed to further increase capital to its recipients, stimulating high-tech innovation and commercialization in small businesses that are conducting cutting-edge research. Illinois currently has more than 100 SBIR/STTR federal recipients who may be eligible for a state matching grant of up to $50,000 per project. Interested companies can learn more here.
Not-for-profit Security Grant Program: Illinois Emergency Management Agency will offer $20 million in grants to eligible not-for-profit organizations across Illinois through the State Fiscal Year 2023 Illinois Not-for-Profit Security Grant Program.
The Grant Program will provide a total of $20 million to eligible Illinois 501c (3) organizations that are deemed at high-risk of a terrorist attack by a terrorist organization, network, or cell.
To learn more about this funding opportunity, eligible applicants should visit the IEMA website https://iema.illinois.gov/ and https://iema.illinois.gov/ittf/nsgp-il.html and download the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT:
Justice Mary Jane Theis was ceremonially sworn in as chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday, at the Illinois Supreme Court in Springfield. Theis was officially sworn in on October 26. Monday’s ceremony was held as the Court reconvened in Springfield for its regular term. Theis becomes the fourth woman to lead the state’s high court. Capital News offers more here.
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL:
Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced he has reached a settlement with Walmart to resolve allegations that the company contributed to the opioid addiction crisis by failing to appropriately oversee the dispensing of opioids at its stores.
The settlement has been sent to other states for review and approval. The settlement is effective upon approval by 43 states and a population representing 85% of local government units.
Raoul said the settlement requires significant improvements to how Walmart’s pharmacies handle opioids, including oversight to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and to flag suspicious prescriptions. The $3.1 billion settlement will be divided by sign-on states, local governments and tribes, and will prioritize abatement and remediation of the opioid crisis.
Funds will be allocated in Illinois according to the Illinois Opioid Allocation agreement that Raoul reached with State’s Attorneys in December 2021.
Republican challenger Patrick Sheehan conceded to Senator Michael Hastings on Tuesday. While official results are pending, Hastings now leads Sheehan by 595 votes.
With more than 95% of the votes counted, the Associated Press now declares that the Workers’ Rights Constitutional Amendment passed with the support of an estimated 53 percent of the total ballots cast in the election.