Staff Transitions: Deputy Governor Sol Flores, who has served as Deputy Governor for Health and Human Services since the beginning of the Governor’s first term in January of 2019, will step down from her position effective October 13th. Grace Hou, who currently serves as Secretary of the Department of Human Services, will replace Flores effective October 9. Dulce M. Quintero has been appointed as Acting Secretary of IDHS.
Electric Vehicle Battery Manufacturer: Gotion announced it will locate its new $2 billion electric vehicle lithium battery manufacturing plant in Manteno. The plant is expected to begin production in 2024. Gotion’s total incentive package from the State of Illinois, which includes REV, Invest in Illinois, and other incentives, is valued at $536 million. Through REV, Gotion is eligible to receive tax benefits totaling $213 million over 30 years. The REV agreement specifies a minimum company investment of $1.9 billion and the creation of 2,600 full-time jobs that are paid at least 120% of the average wage of similar job classifications in Kankakee County. A link to the executed REV agreement is here. Capitol News covers more here.
Transportation Grants: More than $11.4 million is being awarded via 30 grants for local initiatives and activities to support the planning efforts of long-range transportation projects across the state. Administered by IDOT using $7.3 million in federal funds, with matching funds of $788,000 from the state and $3.3 million from local governments, the grants are designed to advance the objectives of the Illinois Long-Range Transportation Plan. Among the criteria considered were projects that implement asset-management strategies and performance-based planning and programming, as well as activities that grow and support economically distressed areas. Read more here.
Tobacco Bonds Retired: Governor Pritzker announced that $449 million in tobacco bonds have been paid off. Read more here.
COVID Vaccines: The Illinois Department of Public Health endorsed the recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the newly FDA-approved COVID-19 shots for everyone over the age of 6 months. The federal agencies have given the green light for updated mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer that target the currently circulating strains of the COVID-19 virus.
Short-term Limited Duration Insurance/Fixed Indemnity Insurance: The Illinois Department of Insurance joined five state Departments of Insurance in sending a letter in support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed rule to restrict Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance (STLDI) and fixed indemnity insurance plans which do not provide comprehensive health coverage and are not subject to many of the consumer protections that apply to health insurance coverage. Read more here.
Gaming Board: The Illinois Gaming Board met Thursday. Here is an update from the meeting.
Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker made the following appointments:
· John Freitag will serve as a Member of the Energy Workforce Advisory Council.
· Garth Walker will serve as a Member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
· Staci Mayall will continue to serve as a Member of the Secure Choice Savings Board.
· Kenneth Burnett will continue to serve as a Member of the Health Facilities and Services Review Board.
· William Lo will serve as a Member of the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board.
103rd ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
SEIU Healthcare organizer Yolanda Morris has been appointed to represent the 9th House District which was previously held by now Senator Lakesia Collins.
Upcoming Legislative Hearings: Several hearings are scheduled for the coming weeks.
The Senate Judiciary will hold a subject matter hearing on September 19 at 11 am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago to discuss SB 1126.
The House Health Care Licenses Committee will hold a subject matter hearing on September 27 at 10 am in the Bildadic Building in Chicago (and virtually) to discuss IDFPR license processing delays.
The House Ethics and Elections Committee will hold a subject matter hearing on September 27 at 2 pm in the Bilandic Building in Chicago (and virtually) to discuss election security.
The House Personnel and Pensions Committee will hold a subject matter hearing on September 28 at 1 pm in the Bilandic Building in Chicago to discuss police, fire and public safety positions, as well as SB 1629 , SB 1630 , SB 1956, HB 4065 , HB 4099 and HB 1185 . Discussions will also continue on prior subject matter topics.
The House Health Care Licenses Committee and the House Labor Committee will hold a joint subject matter hearing on October 3 at 10 am in the Bilandic Building in Chicago (and virtually) to discuss healthcare worker staffing ratios.
2024 Election Update: Candidates for the 2024 election continue to emerge.
Democrat Kankakee schools superintendent Genevra Walters is running for the Democratic nomination in the 79th House District which is currently represented by second-term Republican Jackie Haas.
Former Republican Deputy State Central Committeewoman Liz Bishop of La Salle is running as a Republican to represent the open 76th District. The district is currently represented by Democrat Representative Lance Yednock who is not seeking reelection.
Republican State Representative Patrick Windhorst announced he will seek reelection to the 117th House District.
Shabbona Village Trustee David Simpson is running as a Democrat for state representative in 74th House District currently held by first-term incumbent Republican Bradley Fritts.
Phil Nagel filed paperwork to run as a Republican against Democratic Senator Patrick Joyce in the 40th Senate District.
Businessman Jerry Evans will run as a Republican in the 11th Congressional District currently held by Congressman Bill Foster.
Republican Grundy County Board Chairman Chris Balkema is running for the Illinois State Senate in the open 53rd District. The district is currently represented by Senator Tom Bennett who is not seeking reelection.
Dixon Councilman Chris Bishop announced he is seeking the Republican nomination to replace retiring Republican Senator Winn Stoller in the open 37th District.
Republican Representative Jeff Keicher is seeking reelection in the 70th House District.
Democrat Representative Sharon Chung is seeking a second term in the 91st House District.
Representative Dave Severin will face Franklin County Board member Angela Evans in the Republican primary.
Geary Yonker announced he is seeking Democrat nomination for the 20th Senate District. Senator Natalie Toro was appointed to the seat when Cristina Pacione-Zayas resigned for a position in Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration. Also challenging Toro in the Democrat primary are Graciela Guzman and Dave Nayak.
Joseph Severino is running again in the 10th Congressional District. While Severino has previously run as a Republican, this time he will be running as a Democrat in the primary against Congressman Brad Schneider.