October 23, 2023 Update


Health Benefits for Senior Immigrants: The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will pause enrollment for new enrollees in the Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors program on November 6. The program is nearing the cap of 16,500 enrollees thus causing the Department to implement a temporary pause in enrollment. Read more here.

Illinois Reports Confirmed Measles Case: The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that on October 10, a suspected case of measles was reported by the Cook County Department of Public Health. The case, involving an unvaccinated individual with exposure internationally, was confirmed by the IDPH laboratory on October 11. IDPH is working with CCDPH to identify potential exposure locations in the U.S. The last measles case in Illinois was identified in 2019.

Governor Pritzker Launches Think Big America: Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker is launching a new organization, Think Big America, which will focus on passing abortion rights ballot measures around the country. According to the Governor, Think Big America will initially focus on passing pro-abortion rights ballot measures.  The mission will eventually expand to fighting anti-LGBTQ+ laws and book bans as well as supporting lawsuits challenging abortion bans in the states. The new organization is being staffed by several senior Pritzker advisers and other members of the governor’s campaign team who will split time between the campaign organization and the new Think Big Organization. 

Illinois on Heightened Alert: Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security, and the Illinois State Police are closely monitoring the conflict in the Middle East and potential threats in Illinois. The Governor, who has been briefed by both agencies and the White House, instructed the agencies to work closely with law enforcement partners and to be on heightened alert for any threats related to places of worship across the state to protect First Amendment rights and the safety of worshippers.  

A suburban man is being charged with a hate crime for killing a six-year-old suburban Palestinian American and wounding his mother. Police investigating the incident say it was motivated by the war in Israel. President Biden issued a statement saying, “This horrific act of hate has no place in America and stands against our fundamental values: freedom from fear for how we pray, what we believe and who we are.” Governor Pritzker responded saying “To take a six-year-old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil.” 

Illinois Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses Impacted by Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Individuals and businesses affected by the attacks that took place in Israel and the resulting Israeli-Palestinian conflict are eligible for tax relief in Illinois.  Impacted taxpayers may request to waive penalties and interest with the Illinois Department of Revenue if they cannot file their returns or make timely payments for income, withholding, sales, specialty, and excise taxes. The deadline has been extended to October 7, 2024, and the relief is limited to returns and payments due between October 7, 2023, and October 7, 2024. Read more, including a list of who qualifies, here.

Hydrogen Hub Awarded $1 Billion in Federal Funding: The Midwest Hydrogen Hub, which is comprised of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, were awarded $1 billion in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Midwest Hydrogen Hub is a network that enables decarbonization through strategic hydrogen use and is projected to reduce carbon emission by approximately 3.9 million metric tons per year. Read more here.

Illinois Economic Empowerment Centers Program: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity launched $2.5 million in funding for the new Illinois Economic Empowerment Centers Program (EEC). Eligible career education agencies and non-profit organizations can now apply to serve as EECs to provide entrepreneurship training to prepare individuals from historically marginalized communities to pursue business opportunities in a more inclusive business ecosystem. EECs will be selected through a competitive Notice of Funding Opportunity process.  Read more here.

Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker appointed Camile Lindsay to serve as the next Acting Director of Professional Regulation. Lindsay previously served in the Pritzker Administration as First Assistant Deputy Governor for infrastructure, public safety, environment, and energy.

Electric Vehicle Policy Bootcamp: This week, Governor JB Pritzker and several local stakeholders joined the Illinois Medium- and Heavy- Duty Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy Bootcamp hosted by the Electrification Coalition. The event was an opportunity for Illinois legislators, companies, and environmental organizations to convene to advance Illinois’ commitment to fighting climate change with transitions to zero-emission vehicles. The Electrification Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Read more here.

JCAR Asks for Clarity on New Gun Rules: The Bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will allow new, temporary rules governing the registration of assault weapons and attachments to remain in effect. The Commission asked the Illinois State Police to provide more clarity and transparency to their new rules and the agency has agreed to hold additional public hearings and provide more information before adopting permanent rules. A motion to object to the rules failed along party lines. Read more here.

ICC Contemplates Natural Gas Rate Increase: Administrative Judges at the Illinois Commerce Commission recommend that the Commission approve rate increases for four natural gas companies: Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.  The Commission will weigh the recommendation over the next two months. The rate increases would impact the company’s collective 4.1 million customers. Read more here.


The Illinois General Assembly convenes this week for the first week of a two-week Veto session. Session is scheduled for October 24 – 26 and November 7 – 9.   As a reminder, unlike the Spring session, all legislation must pass Veto session with super-majorities − 71 votes in the House and 36 votes in the Senate − to go into effect immediately.  Likewise, it will take supermajorities in both chambers to override any Gubernatorial vetoes.

The full agenda for the fall Veto session remains fluid. In addition to considering vetoes, advocates are pushing a measure to allow law enforcement to take firearms away from a perpetrator if a domestic violence survivor receives a protection order. Proponents of extending the $75 million Invest in Kids income tax credit for private school scholarships (which is set to expire at the end of the year) are circulating a new draft proposal hoping to find a compromise with teacher’s unions and progressive organizations who oppose to the extension.   The House Executive Committee will consider HB 4148 (Welch) which would allow legislative staff to unionize. House Democratic staff are pushing for the right to organize.  

The Legislature is not expected to take up a supplemental appropriation to help Chicago deal with the migrant crisis nor will they consider legislation requested by the Chicago Bears to aid their move to Arlington Heights.

This week, the Senate positioned 33 vehicle bills for possible action during the two-week session. 

The House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, & IT Committee will hold a joint hearing with the House Judiciary – Civil Committee on November 2 at 10 am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago (and Virtual Room 1) to discuss emerging issues in artificial intelligence.


Illinois Delegation Visits the Boarder: A team of Chicago and State officials visited the Mexico border last week to see first-hand the conditions and how asylum seekers are being sent to Chicago.  The team plans to meet with US Customs and Boarder Protection officials to request assistance in coordination with the hope of decreasing the number of busses being sent to Illinois. The team also wants to establish better lines of communication about the steady stream of buses now ignoring the city’s curfew and share information about extreme housing and weather conditions now facing the 18,500 asylum-seekers who have already reached Chicago. 

The team includes Deputy Mayor for Immigrant, Migrant and Refugee Rights Beatriz Ponce de León; Deputy Chief of Staff Cristina Pacione-Zayas; Alderman Andre Vasquez (who chairs the council’s Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee); Alderman Pat Dowell; Alderman Lamont Robinson, Alderman William Hall and Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez. Also attending are Illinois Department of Human Services’ Acting Secretary Dulce Quintero, Illinois’ chief homeless officer Christine Haley, and Andrea Vallejo and Isabella Hurtado, from the Governor’s office.

Meanwhile, a St. Louis not for profit this week announced they want to relocate some of Chicago’s asylum seekers to St. Louis to bolster the city’s workforce and increase the city’s population. The program would be funded by private donors and would provide three months of housing, cellphones, and help finding apprenticeship programs and job placements.

2024 Election Update: Cass County Board Member Eric Snellgrove will seek the Republican nomination to replace retiring Representative Randy Frese in the 99th House District.