COVID-19 Update: On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,257 new cases of COVID-19, including 30 additional deaths. To date, IDPH is reporting a total of 281,371 cases, including 8,538 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity from September 17th – September 23rd is 3.5%. Within the past 24 hours, labs reported 62,071 tests. As of Wednesday night, 1,713 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 400 patients were in the ICU and 155 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. As of Friday, September 18th, 24 Illinois counties were at a warning level for COVID-19- Bond, Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Edwards, Effingham, Greene, Jasper, Jo Daviess, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Rock Island, St. Clair, Shelby, Washington, Wayne, Williamson, Wabash, and Union.
Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, has returned to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. Region 4 remains under it’s second set of mitigations.
Adult Use Cannabis Lottery: Southshore Restore and Heartland Greens dropped the federal lawsuit filed earlier this month in Chicago federal court after Governor Pritzker and the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation agreed to make changes to the social equity lottery process. Under the new changes, applicants whose applications did not receive a perfect score will receive a supplemental deficiency notice and a score sheet identifying each exhibit to the application on which the applicant lost points. Applicants will then have an opportunity to provide a response that amends the application exhibits or to ask the Department to conduct a rescore of the original application exhibits if they believe there was an error or an inconsistency in the scoring. Applicants will not be allowed to change the owners or ownership percentages identified on the original application. Detailed instructions and deadlines will be announced in the coming weeks.
Executive Orders:EO 2020-55 reissues most executive orders through October 17, 2020.
Utility Moratorium: The Illinois Commerce Commission announced the moratorium on disconnections has been voluntarily extended by several utilities until March 31, 2021. Additional information is here.
Child Care Providers: The Department of Human Services awarded over $157 million in BIG funding to 4,686 child care providers who are facing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another $114 million in grants will be available for child care providers. Applications for grant funding are available here.
Unsewered Community Grant Opportunities: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will offer $20 million in two grant opportunities to assist communities with inadequate or nonexistent wastewater collection and treatment facilities. In total, the Illinois EPA will make $100 million available over the next five years for construction grants for wastewater collection and/or treatment facilities. Illinois EPA is also making $1 million available for the next four years for planning grants to assist small and disadvantaged communities in developing a project plan that identifies a solution to wastewater collection and treatment needs. Notices of Funding Opportunities have been posted for both programs. Applicants are required to pre-qualify through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act Grantee Portal. More information is here.
Gubernatorial Appointments:· Tom Hughes will serve on the Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee· Charles Watts will serve as an Arbitrator on the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
101st GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Senate Criminal Law Committee will hold a joint hearing with the Senate Special Committee on Public Safety on September 29th at 1 pm to discuss violence reduction and sentencing reform. The Committees will specifically focus on removing the economic basis for driver’s license suspensions, reclassifying misdemeanor offenses to civil offenses, drug penalty reform and elderly parole. The hearing will be conducted remotely via Zoom and members of the public may submit electronic testimony or electronic witness slips via the General Assembly website in advance of the hearing.
The House Special Investigating Committee will hold a hearing on September 29th at 2pm in Room 114 of the Capitol Building. Alternate public viewing will be offered at the Michael A. Bilandic Building, room C-600, Chicago. The committee has requested witnesses to appear before the committee.
The Senate Education Committee will hold a joint hearing with the Senate Higher Education Committee on September 30th at noon. The hearing will be conducted remotely via Zoom and legislators will discuss kindergarten through twelfth grade COVID-19 response and equitable funding. The hearing will be conducted remotely via Zoom and members of the public may submit electronic testimony or electronic witness slips via the General Assembly website in advance of the hearing.
Representative Ford introduced HB5841 which creates a process to license police officers in the State of Illinois. The bill also provides for the election of the Chicago Police Chief with a process for recall and removal. The bill also requires counties and municipalities to create an elected community accountability board that acts as the civilian accountability entity to the sheriff’s department and police department. The bill will head to the House Rules Committee.Senate Republicans unveiled a new ethics package for consideration. The package focuses on enhancing investigative authority within existing laws and ensuring legislators are serving the public’s interest. The legislation is not yet available on the General Assembly website.
· SB 4012- Allows the Attorney General to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute bribery and misconduct by members of the General Assembly.· SB 4013- Provides states attorneys with wiretap authority.· SB 4014- Grants the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate members of the General Assembly without first receiving approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, and changes the composition of the Legislative Ethics Commission to all public members rather than legislators.
· SB 4015- Bans legislators from lobbying other branches of state government or units of local government for compensation.· SB 4016- Creates a revolving door legislator-to-lobbyist prohibition for one year after leaving office, or until the end of the current term, whichever is longer.· SB 4017- Prohibits a legislator from leaving office and continuing to use their campaign fund to support lobbying activities. Also prevents an appointee to a board or commission that is confirmed by the Senate from fundraising for or donating from their campaign committee while serving as an appointed public official.· SB 4018: Updates the Statement of Economic Interests to enhance the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.