COVID-19 Update:On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 2,056 new cases of COVID-19, including 25 additional deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 268,207 cases, including 8,392 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate from September 10th – September 16th is 3.6%. Within the past 24 hours, labs have reported 57,800 test results. As of Wednesday night, 1,558 people in Illinois were in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 359 patients were in the ICU and 144 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
Thirty Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19 – Bond, Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DuPage, Effingham, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jackson, Jasper, Jersey, Lawrence, Madison, McLean, Monroe, Morgan, Pulaski, Schuyler, Shelby, Stark, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Williamson.
Adult Use Cannabis Lottery: Representatives LaShawn Ford and Kathleen Willis are acting as intermediaries for the companies who were not selected to participate in the upcoming lottery. The two legislators sent a letter to Governor Pritzker noting that plaintiffs in a recent federal lawsuit involving the adult use cannabis lottery would potentially drop their lawsuit if the administration would give all losing applicants a chance to remedy discrepancies in their applications and address possible scoring inconsistencies. In total, 21 firms qualified for the lottery. The lawsuit has grown to include over 70 plaintiffs. A second suit has been filed in state court.
IDFPR issued a statement on Tuesday indicating that the lottery for adult-use cannabis licenses is on hold as the Department continues to “review questions that have been raised. The Department maintains its goal is to “provide time to ensure that the process is fair and equitable”.
Budget Update: Governor Pritzker once again asked the Illinois Congressional delegation for help passing a federal relief bill designed to offer aid to states and local governments amid the ensuing pandemic. Absent more federal help, Pritzker warned of a “nightmare scenario” that will include budget cuts, layoffs, and service reductions. The Administration asked state agencies to prepare for 5% budget reductions for the current fiscal year and 10% reductions for the next fiscal year.
Grants for Businesses and Communities:Illinois will offer $220 million in Business Interruption Grants. Applications open Thursday, September 17th for small business hit hardest by the pandemic.An addition $25 million will be awarded through the Rebuild Distressed Communities Program. Funds are targeted to help communities cover the cost of repairs already incurred while making way for capital work to address eligible repairs or community improvements in response to civil unrest. More information on the grants is available here and here.
Community Water Testing: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to conduct a statewide investigation into the prevalence and occurrence of per-and PolyFluoroalkyl Substances. The agency will test all finished drinking water in 1,749 community water supplies statewide. The data gathered will aid in the development of future maximum contaminant level regulatory standards. More information is here.
Gubernatorial Appointments: Governor Pritzker made several appointments this week:· Stacy Grundy will serve on the Health Facilities and Services Review Board.· Peter Amaro will serve on the Illinois Finance Authority.· Maria Laporta will continue to serve on the Medical Licensing Board.· Lesly Sandberg will serve on the Illinois Racing Board.· David Kane will continue to serve as an arbitrator on the Worker’s Compensation Commission.· Paul Seal will continue to serve as an arbitrator on the Worker’s Compensation Commission.· Anthony Erbacci will continue to serve as an arbitrator on the Worker’s Compensation Commission.· Steven Fruth will continue to serve as an arbitrator on the Worker’s Compensation Commission.
Pritzker also appointed the following to the Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee:
· Joshua Andre· Steven Aks· Carmen Brace· James Champion· Lois Clarke· Sharon Coleman· Esther Franco-Payne· Carol DesLauirers· Ngozi Ezike· John Franklin· Kelly Judge Goldberg· Grace Hou· Luke Lowieson· Marco Jacome· Kristopher Krane· Henry Lewis Tyler· Marvin Lindsey· Zachary Marcus· Karen Madura· LaTasha Nelson· Jordan Powell· Priyanka Rajaram· Nestor Ramirez· Julie Rodriguez· Kevin Rynn· Marcia Tan
101st General Assembly:
Democratic State Senator Terry Link of Waukegan resigned his Senate seat effective Saturday, September 12th. A replacement has not been named at this time. On Wednesday, Link plead guilty to federal tax evasion charges. The charges are not related to his elected office. Link is expected to receive probation if he cooperates with the ongoing federal investigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s office will allow the House Special Investigative Committee to call witnesses in their investigation of House Speaker Michael Madigan. The next hearing is expected to be September 28th at 9am.