September 24, 2021 Update

COVID-19: Governor Pritzker extended the deadline for vaccination of state workers who work in congregate settings. The initial deadline for those state workers to be vaccinated was October 4th, but the deadline was extended until November 18th under Executive Order 2021-21. Under the new order, employees receiving the two-dose vaccine must now receive their first dose by October 15th. Those getting the single shot vaccine must receive it by October 14th
The Pritzker Administration has been in negotiations with state employee unions regarding implementation of the new vaccine mandate for congregate setting workers. The Administration reached its first union agreement on the matter this week. The agreement covers approximately 260 supervisory employees at the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice which are represented by VR-704. Employees must receive their first shot by October 14th. Should an employee elect a two-dose vaccine, they must receive the second shot by November 18th.
Under the agreement, employees will receive an additional personal day. If the vaccine administration is not available during an employee’s regularly scheduled shift, the employee may be compensated at their regular pay for the time taken to receive the vaccine. In addition, vaccinated employees will receive paid “COVID time,” so that if a vaccinated employee gets COVID-19, or must quarantine due to COVID-19, they will receive a period of paid time off without using their benefit time. Negotiations with other unions remain ongoing.
The Pritzker Administration made changes to school COVID exclusion protocols. Executive Order 2021-24 requires schools to exclude students and school personnel who are confirmed cases, probable cases, or close contacts. Schools must provide remote learning to students who are excluded. Executive Order 2021-25 makes specific amendments to Executive Order 2021-24, to provide more detail regarding the measure’s schools must take to ensure the safety of students and school personnel. Updated guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education regarding school COVID protocols is here.
The Illinois Department of Public Health Emergency Rules regarding the school personnel vaccine mandate arhere. IDPH emergency rules regarding school exclusion protocols are here.
Governor Pritzker also filed Executive Order 2021-23 which reissues several executive orders, extending a majority of the provisions through October 16, 2021
On Thursday, Illinois health officials reported 3,505 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 deaths. As of Wednesday night, 2008 individuals in Illinois were hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 493 were in the ICU and 240 were on ventilators. The 7-day case positivity rate is 3.8%.
Prime Sites Program: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the Prime Sites program — a highly competitive capital grant opportunity for companies proposing large scale development projects that will create at least 50 well-paying jobs for Illinois residents.
This program will expand the State’s business attraction efforts, enabling an additional tool to attract companies considering expansion projects in Illinois and will help support job creation throughout Illinois. Overall, the State estimates that it will commit up to $33 million to Prime Sites, which in turn should bring a total of more than $165 million in capital projects to Illinois and spur the creation of at least 6,500 new jobs. More information ihere.
Household Assistance: With support from the American Rescue Plan Act, Illinois is offering $327 million in Help Illinois Families assistance through the Low-Income Household Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant Program (CSBG). The program offers expanded services to support Illinois’ most vulnerable residents with rent, utilities, food and other household expenses regardless of immigration status. LIHEAP funds are available from now through May 31, 2022. More information is here.
Workforce Training Grants: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is expanding workforce training through a $40 million workforce recovery grant program aimed to get more jobseekers back to work, while helping sectors impacted most by COVID-19. The funding will expand workforce training, job training and support services as well as covering basic expenses that are barriers to those seeking employment.
Another $44 million in career training grants is being made available for at-risk youth. A new cross-functional Commission on Workforce Equity and Access is designed to boost equitable access to workforce services across the state. More information is here .
The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to convene in veto session October 19th – 21st and October 26th – 28th. It is possible that the Legislature could cancel some of these session days since veto action was taken during session in September. The General Assembly is expected to approved new congressional boundaries during next month’s session.Representative Welter filed HB4149 which creates the Parental Medical Choice Act. HB 4149 provides that no State or local entity, agency, institution, official, or person shall require a minor to obtain a health care service or take a health-related precaution.
The Senate Executive Subcommittee on Procurement and the Senate Transportation Committee are holding a joint subject matter hearing on SB1900 (Curran) on September 27th at 9am in virtual room one.
The Senate Executive Subcommittee on Gaming will hold a subject matter hearing in virtual room one of September 30th at 2pm to discuss the future of horse racing in Illinois.