102nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois House convened in a one-day session on Thursday to pass negotiated comprehensive clean energy legislation. SB2408 (Harris/Evans) now heads back to the Senate for consideration. Senate Democrats are holding a caucus today to discuss the legislation and are expected to return to session on Monday.
SB 2408, the product of three years of negotiations, targets bringing Illinois’ energy generation sector to 100 percent carbon-free by 2050 and 50 percent renewable by 2040. Both labor and environmental groups were on board with the final proposal. Municipally owned generations plants were reportedly neutral after last minute changes were made to require the plants to be carbon-free by 2045, either by going offline or installing sequestration technology. The bill also includes $600 million over five years for three nuclear plants owned by Exelon Corporation. Exelon is prepared to begin closing its nuclear fleet if legislation is not approved in the coming days. The bill passed by a vote of 83-33.Capitol News offers a more detailed look at the comprehensive bill including projected impacts on rate payers and social equity provisions.
Despite the compromise, some downstate Republicans warned that the bill is not doing what supporters think it does. Closing Prairie State and CWLP makes downstate more reliant on out of state coal. They also argue that if there are not enough renewables and nuclear power available to keep the grid running, coal or gas plants could be kept online to meet peak demand.
The House also approved the Governor’s specific recommendations for change to the omnibus ethics reform bill SB539 (Gillespie/Burke). The amendatory veto corrected what the Governor called “a technical drafting error” – ensuring that the Executive Inspectors General are able to maintain current processes and procedures regarding investigations. The Senate previously accepted the Governor’s recommendations for change. Shortly after the vote, a motion to reconsider the vote was filed on the bill placing a procedural hold on the bill until such time as the motion is removed.
Additional Cannabis Lottery: The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation will hold an additional cannabis lottery for six applications after a “clerical oversight” led to incorrect scoring over their applications in the July 29th lottery. The new lottery will not impact applicants who were selected for the opportunity to be issued a conditional license in the previously held lotteries. Here is the final list of winners from the previous lotteries: Lottery 1, Lottery 2, and Lottery 3.
The additional lottery will give the affected firms the same chances of winning that they would have had in the initial drawings. No word yet on how many licenses will be awarded in the latest lottery.
Interagency Task Force on Homelessness: Executive Order 2021-21 establishes the Illinois Interagency Task Force on Homelessness, the State Homelessness Chief, and a Community Advisory Council on Homelessness.
COVID-19: On Thursday, Illinois health officials reported 4,741 new cases of COVID-19 with 22 additional deaths. As of Wednesday night, 2,337 individuals were hospitalized in Illinois with COVID-19. Of those, 552 individuals were in the ICU and 305 were on ventilators. Illinois’ 7-day test positivity rate is 5.1%. Currently, 60.5% of Illinois individuals over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.
All healthcare workers, all P-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students have been granted a two week extension to receive the vaccine under Executive Order 2021-22. Effected staff and students now must have their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 19, 2021. The extended deadline came at the request of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, the Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois Principals Association. The two-week extension allows for hospitals and schools to implement their own testing, vaccine and accountability protocols.
Entities continue to be permitted and encouraged to put in place more stringent vaccination requirements. The Executive Order does not prohibit any entity from implementing a requirement that personnel, contractors, students or other visitors be fully vaccinated without providing the alternative to test on a weekly basis consistent with applicable law.The Chicago Transit Authority is requiring employees to be vaccinated by October 25th. Employees who do not provide proof of vaccination by October 25th will face discipline according to the CTA.
United Airlines announced that any employees that have been granted a religious or medical waiver from the September 27th vaccination deadline will be placed on temporary leave beginning October 2nd. For customer-facing jobs such as pilots, flight attendants and gate agents, employees granted a religious vaccine exemption will be placed on unpaid personal leave beginning October 2nd, and would be able to return to work only after the pandemic “meaningfully recedes”. Furthermore, employees whose requests for a vaccination exemption are denied will have five weeks to get the shots or be terminated by the airline.
Governor Pritzker made the following appointments:· Craig Bradley will serve as a Member of the Community College Board.· James Fuentes will continue to serve as a Member of the Finance Authority.· Jacqueline Hickey will serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
State Representative Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island) announced he is running for the Illinois State Senate in 2022. Halpin was first elected to the Illinois House in 2017.Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan announced he is seeking the Republican nomination for Governor. Sullivan, a native of downstate Petersburg, is the founder of Alter Global in San Francisco. His campaign reported raising $11 million in the past week.
The House Health Care Availability and Accessibility, Appropriations Human Services and Human Services and Mental Health Committees are holding a joint subject matter hearing on September 15th in the Building in Chicago to discuss nursing home reform.