October 21, 2022 Update

COVID-19 Update:

Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2022-21 which reissues previous Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic through November 14, 2022. The updated executive order removes the weekly testing requirements for unvaccinated healthcare and long-term care workers. Face coverings are no longer required in all healthcare facilities, but are still recommended in areas of high community transmission and the state will no longer mandate vaccines for long-term care and healthcare employees. Although the vaccine mandate has been removed on the state level, a federal rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requiring vaccination for workers at Medicare/Medicaid-certified facilities remains in effect. The amended executive order does not impact vaccination and testing requirements for state employees at state-owned congregate facilities.

PACE Program: The Illinois Finance Authority is launching a statewide PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program designed to spur investment in electric vehicle charging stations, energy efficiency, and water conservation, and to stimulate the growth of renewable energy and resilient building design throughout Illinois. The Illinois Finance Authority PACE program is designed to reduce costs, improve service delivery, and create uniformity in Illinois’ Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing market.

Under Illinois law, counties, cities, villages, and incorporated towns may create PACE areas at the request of for-profit and non-profit owners of commercial, industrial, and multi-family (of 5 or more units) properties. C-PACE financing can be used by owners and developers of commercial properties to finance or refinance eligible clean energy improvements in connection with the renovation of existing buildings and new construction, in each case up to 25% of the value of the property.

More information is here.

Social Equity Infuser Licenses: The Illinois Department of Agriculture issued operational permits to two social equity infuser licensees: Krown, located in Pekin, and MME, Inc., located in Homewood. Read more here. 

Systemic Health Disparities: The Illinois Department of Public Health is awarding up to $3.7 million to 18 different organizations across Illinois to address systemic health disparities that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ARISE (Activating Relationships In Illinois for Systemic Equity) program is a federally funded joint initiative of IDPH’s Center for Minority Health Services and The Center for Rural Health, in collaboration with Well-being and Equity (WE) in the World.

The community coalitions will address inequities in mental, physical, and social well-being by connecting people to vaccinations, food, and other well-being needs. They will also address underlying community needs such as humane housing, reliable transportation, and the root causes of these inequities, including racism and poverty.

The complete listing of awardees is here.

Lead Service Line Replacement Grants: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is offering a new funding opportunity to assist communities in meeting the requirements outlined in the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act. The Lead Service Line Inventory (LSLI) Grant Program offers grants to local government units ranging from $20,000 – $50,000 to fund the creation of a complete lead service line inventory.

Applicants may request supplemental funding in the form of a low-interest loan through the Illinois EPA’s Public Water Supply Loan Program.

All applicants must pre-qualify through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal.

The LSLI NOFO, and all required forms and information, can be found here. Applications for the LSLI Grant Program will be accepted through Noon on December 2, 2022.

IDOT’s Building Blocks of Success: The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting free virtual workshops as part of its continuing Building Blocks of Success series for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms interested in strengthening their skills, growing their business and bidding on state projects. New and existing DBEs, as well as firms interested in becoming certified in the program, are invited. More information on the workshops is here.

Mortgage Assistance: Eligible homeowners financially impacted by the pandemic are eligible for up to $30,000 in mortgage assistance through the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund. Applications open November 1 and close on January 1, 2023. Application, program information and updates can be found at illinoishousinghelp.org. Read more here. 

Gubernatorial Appointments: The Governor made the following appointments:

·        Nina Harris will serve as a Member on the Illinois Commission on Equity and Inclusion.

·        Erin Alexander will serve as a Member on the Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Review Board.

·        Ramon Moore will serve as a Member on the Firearm Owner’s Identification Card Review Board.

·        Yanajaha Kafi Moragne-Patterson will serve as a Member on the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission.

Election Update: 

On Friday, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking provisions of two recently enacted laws that limit contributions in judicial races. The first provision prohibits judicial candidate committees from receiving any contributions from an out-of-state person. The second caps the amount that any independent expenditure committee established to support or oppose a judicial candidate can receive from any single source during an election cycle at $500,000. The plaintiffs argued the provisions violate their free speech and sought to preliminarily enjoin the defendants from enforcing these two provisions during the upcoming November 8, 2022 election, a permanent injunction to the same effect for future election cycles, and a declaratory judgment that these two provisions are unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge John Tharp Jr. ruled that the plaintiffs “have some likelihood of success” in proving their case that the laws are unconstitutional and should be overturned. He went on the say “the ban on out-of-state contributions will likely be more effective in preserving the status quo of the state’s judiciary than in enhancing its appearance of integrity.”

The ruling will impact contributions in two hotly contested Supreme Court races that could determine the balance of power on the state’s high court.