NAIFA Illinois Legislative Update

    By: Evan Manning, Lobbyist - June 15, 2020

    GOVERNOR’S HIGHLIGHTS:
    Governor Pritzker is working with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on a new legislative package the reportedly includes police accountability and criminal justice reforms. No other details were given at this time.  Neither the Governor nor the Legislative Leaders have called for a special session at this time. 

    The Governor signed the following legislation: 

    • Budget:  SB264  (Harmon/Harris) enacts the $42.9 billion FY 2021 budget General Funds operating budget and also includes FY 2020 supplemental funding and pay-as-you-go capital funding.  HB357  (Harris/Harmon) contains the statutory language necessary to implement programmatic changes to the budget.

    • COVID-19 Local Government Response:  HB2096 (Willis/Murphy) is an omnibus local government bill.  Allows a township board to postpone its annual meeting during the period of a Gubernatorial disaster declaration and clarifies that rebates under CARES Act do not count as earned income for the purposes of township assistance.  The bill creates the Cards for Kids Act which provides that nonresident fees for the privilege and use of a library shall not be charged to a nonresident in an unincorporated area in Illinois who is a student whose household falls at or below the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Income Eligibility Guidelines.

    • HB2455 (Hoffman/Holmes) represents an agreement between labor and business on changes to the worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance programs.  With respect to worker’s compensation, this bill creates a temporary rebuttable presumption for first responder and front-line workers who contract COVID-19 on the job.  Enables Chicago police and firefighters who contract COVID-19 while on the job and die as a result access to death benefits.  Changes were made to the Illinois Work Review Panel to require appointments within 30 days and hearing within 45 days.  The bill also ensures Illinois continues to qualify for federal funding by extending unemployment benefits, waiving a one-week unemployment insurance waiting period and expanding eligibility for unemployment to non-instructional education employees.

    • COIVD-19 Property Tax  Relief: SB685  (Harmon/Zalewski) makes several changes regarding property taxes.  In counties other than Cook, provides for the permissive waiver of interest and penalties on property taxes. Delays tax sales.  Makes changes to scavenger sales.  There is no property tax freeze or other property tax reduction in this proposal.

    • Sexual Assault:  SB557 (Bush/Cassidy) is an initiative of the Cook County State’s Attorney.  In light of the pandemic, the bill temporarily allows federally qualified health centers to perform rape kit examinations at a time when a visit to the emergency room may be difficult due to the pandemic.

    Executive OrdersExecutive Order 2020-41 temporarily removes the in-person sports wagering registration requirements for casinos, racetracks, and sports facilities. Temporarily suspending the in-person registration requirement allows fans to create online accounts and place wagers.

    COVID-19:  Illinois is reporting the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in weeks. The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday announced 766 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 91 additional confirmed deaths.  Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 130,603 cases, including 6,185 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have tested 22,325 specimens.  The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 4 -June 10 is 4%.

    Cannabis:  The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation filed permanent rules for cannabis dispensary licenses to be selected when two or more applicants have tied scores. The Department issued emergency rules in December of 2019 establishing procedures in the event of a tie between applicants. The emergency rules will expire before the Departments is able to announce the scoring results.  As a result, IDFPR filed permanent rules to ensure that the Department can use the tiebreaker procedures, if necessary.

    Day Care Grant:  Governor Pritzker announced a $270 million Child Care Restoration grant program. This program will support Illinois' network of childcare providers as they continue to provide care to children across the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services, is charged with developing the grant program for licensed childcare providers. The Child Care Restoration Grants will be administered by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.

    Small Business: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced a new grant opportunity for the renewal or establishment of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. The Centers are a statewide network focused on matching small business with governmental entities seeking goods and services that the businesses offer. The State will offer up to $816,000 available in federal and state funds for new or existing community-based centers to offer continued support in helping small business become certified in or to identify and obtain contracts with local governments and their contractors.

    The Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program awarded $1.3 million in grants to 65 businesses in 28 downstate communities. The fund was created to support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Applicants can apply here for grants.

    ATTORNEY GENERAL HIGHLIGTHS:
    Attorney General Kwame Raoul and a coalition of 49 attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Taro, Perrigo, and Fougera (now Sandoz) Pharmaceuticals and 24 other large generic drug manufacturers alleging a widespread conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition and unreasonably restrain trade for more than 80 different topical generic drugs.  The lawsuit is here.