COVID-19 Update: Governor Pritzker and Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike resumed holding daily COVID-19 press conferences as Illinois enters it second surge of the virus. All 11 regions in Illinois are seeing an increase in both virus activity, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths. Illinois’ rolling 7-day positivity rate now stands at 5.7%, up more than two percentage points in the past two weeks.
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,942 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 44 additional deaths. To date, IDPH is reporting a total of 360,159 cases, including 9,387 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. On Thursday, labs reported 80,977 test results. As of Wednesday night, 2,463 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 525 patients were in the ICU and 212 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. Four Illinois regions are now operating under stricter mitigations after experiencing 3 consecutive days of positivity rates above 8%. Mitigations began Thursday, October 22nd for Region 5 which includes Marion, Jefferson, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Perry, Jackson, Franklin, Williamson, Saline, Hamilton, White, Gallatin, Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Massac, and Pulaski counties. Mitigations began Friday, October 23rd for Region 7, which encompasses Will and Kankakee counties, and Region 8, which includes DuPage and Kane counties. The restrictions include banning indoor dining and bars, closing gaming establishments at 11pm, and limiting gatherings to 25 people. Mitigations can be removed when positivity rate averages 6.5% for three consecutive days.
Region 1, which includes the Rockford and Galena areas, remains under enhanced mitigations imposed on October 3rd. Despite the mitigations, the positivity rate in that region continues to climb. Effective Sunday, October 25th, Region 1 will enter Phase 2 mitigations which further limits gathering sizes to 10 people and places additional limits on dining parties. More information on the mitigations is here. Some bars and restaurants threatened to defy the closure of indoor service. Governor Pritzker warned that such action would not be tolerated and authorities are prepared to take action against those who do not follow the order including revoking liquor or gaming licenses if necessary.
The remaining seven regions are seeing positivity rates above 7%. It is likely additional mitigations will be imposed in the coming days and weeks if the virus activity continues on the current trajectory.
As of Friday, October 16th, thirty-four counties are at a warning level for COVID-19. The counties are: Adams, Alexander, Boone, Cass, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Jasper, Jefferson, Jo Daviess, Johnson, Kane, Lee, Macon, McDonough, McHenry Mercer, Monroe, Pike, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Stephenson, Union, Vermilion, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago. This data is updated ever Friday afternoon.
Governor Pritzker unveiled preliminary information on Illinois’ COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. The plan remains flexible due to unknown vaccine variables like dosage requirements and storage specifications. The preliminary framework provides for statewide distribution, initially targeting front-line workers and vulnerable populations. Dr. Ezike noted that it will take months to fully immunize the broader population. Vaccine providers must register with the Department of Public Health’s ICARE vaccine program. The vaccine will be offered at no charge, although individual providers may charge an administration fee. The plan is here.
Illinois received it’s first dosage of 170,000 Abbott Lab rapid antigen test. The tests are being distributed by the federal government on weekly basis. Illinois is targeted to receive 20 million tests by year’s end. The tests will be distributed to local health departments for distribution and piloted in K-12 and long-term care facilities.
Election Day Lawsuit: A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled that a new state law declaring election day a holiday for certain government entities does not apply to municipalities. A copy of the ruling is here.
Executive Order 2020-59 – Reissues most executive orders, extending a majority of the provisions through November 14, 2020.
Executive Order 2020-60 – Imposes enhanced mitigations on Region 5 comprised of Marion, Jefferson, Wayne, Edwards, Wabash, Perry, Jackson, Franklin, Williamson, Saline, Hamilton, White, Gallatin, Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Massac, and Pulaski counties, for restaurants and bars, meetings and social events, gaming and casinos and for all workplaces, effective October 22, 2020.
Executive Order 2020-61 – Imposes enhanced mitigations on Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) and Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties), for restaurants and bars, meetings and social events, gaming and casinos and for all workplaces, effective October 23, 2020.
Illinois’ Office of Broadband opened another round of applications, available now through February 2021, to support expanded broadband connections throughout Illinois. $50 million is available in this second round of funding.
Eligible applicants include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments. Up to $5 million per project will be available during this second round, and subsequent rounds will follow over the course of the next several years. The second round of Connect Illinois calls for a nonstate match component requiring companies to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments.
The application for the second round of funding largely mirrors requirements of the first application – including a 50 percent nonmatch in most cases. To ensure an equal playing field, the administration has instituted an exemption allowing a lower nonstate match for project proposals concerning economically distressed communities. More information on the Notice of Funding Opportunity and the application is here.
Governor Pritzker appointed the following:·
Nancy DePodesta will serve on the Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board.·
Angela Oberreiter will serve on the State Board of Health.
101st General Assembly:
The fate of the fall veto session is uncertain. While there has not been any formal announcement regarding changes to the schedule, it is conceivable that the surge of COVID-19 could impact how and when the Legislature meets this Fall. We are monitoring the situation and will update you as information becomes available. While there are no vetoes up for consideration this year, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus intends to use the Fall Veto Session to present their omnibus package targeted towards ending systemic racism.
Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, notes that the caucus is prepared to present their omnibus package for consideration by the General Assembly during next month’s veto session. Each of the four pillars of the package is being led by one Senator and one Representative. Senator Lightford and Representative Ammons are leading efforts in the area of education and workforce development. Senator Belt and Representative Harper are spearheading economic access, equity and opportunity legislation including affordable housing, land use, entrepreneurship, business development, banking and environmental justice. Senator Hunter and Representative Lilly are leading the healthcare and human services discussions. Senator Sims and Representative Slaughter are leading criminal justice reforms.
Several committees met this week to continue discussing policies related to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus agenda. Lawmakers discussed environmental justice and energy policies; youth transition into YouthCare; access to healthcare, college affordability and access through free tuition models and the development of an equitable funding formula; and bail and police reform.
Representative Gabel introduced legislation, HB5854, requiring the Illinois Commerce Commission to develop a statewide database of all towed vehicles. The database must interface with existing law enforcement databases, and include the name of the tow company that took possession of the vehicle and be accessible to the public. Before taking possession of a vehicle, a tow company must submit electronically to the towed vehicle database the vehicle identification number and license plate number of the vehicle. Any tow company that fails to comply is prohibited from collecting any fees related to the vehicle. Provides that a tow company that commits a third violation is subject to the revocation of its license.
The Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Coalition posted a new draft of the Clean Energy Jobs Act on their website. A copy of the draft legislation is here. The draft has not been officially filed at this time.
The Senate Criminal Law Committee and the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety have scheduled a series of joint virtual hearings:
· October 27th at 1pm to discuss police reform in the areas of body cameras, data collection and transparency, issues related to officer-involved shootings; residency requirements; and official misconduct.
· November 5th at 1pm to discuss the Uniform Peace Officers’ Disciplinary Act, qualified immunity and officer liability.
· November 10th at 1pm to discuss police reform in the areas of decertification and licensure.
The Senate Public Health Committee and the Senate Human Services Committee will have a hearing on October 26th at 9:30 am to discuss behavioral health.
The Senate Education and Higher Education Committees will hold a joint virtual hearing on October 28th at noon to discuss support services, developmental education, and teacher education programs. All hearings will be broadcast at www.ilga.gov and witness slips and testimony may be submitted electronically in advance of the hearings.
November 3rd: General Election
November 17th -19th: Veto Session
December 1st – 3rd: Veto Session