NAIFA Illinois Legislative Update

    By: Evan Manning, Lobbyist - January 14, 2021

    ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY:

    Welch Elected House Speaker:  On Wednesday, the Illinois House of Representatives elected its first black speaker to replace the longest-serving legislative leader in modern U.S. history. After serving 38 years as Speaker of the Illinois House, Speaker Michael Madigan suspended his candidacy for the leadership post on Monday.  Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch was selected by the Democratic Caucus to replace Madigan as Speaker for the 102nd General Assembly.

    Speaker Welch received the unanimous endorsement of the Black Caucus once Madigan suspended his campaign and received 50 votes (60 needed to become Speaker) in the first round of voting. On Wednesday morning, a second round of voting gave Welch 55 votes with 17 lawmakers voting present. After a third round of voting, Welch garnered 70 votes from the 118-member House. Speaker-elect Welch is an eight-year House of Representatives veteran from the Chicago suburb of Hillside. He is an attorney who graduated from Northwestern University and John Marshall Law School and is a partner at Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni and Krafthefer PC.

    Speaker Welch is expected to announce his leadership team in the coming days.  Operating rules and committee formation generally occurs in late January but could be delayed due to the pandemic. NAIFA IL looks forward to working with Speaker Welch in his new role in leading the House of Representatives.

    The 102nd General Assembly was sworn Wednesday afternoon at 12:00 PM. Democrats hold supermajorities in the House (73-45) and Senate (41-18). Along with Speaker-elect Welch who was sworn in to lead the House, Representative Jim Durkin garnered the second highest vote total and will remain Minority Leader of the House Republicans. Senate President Don Harmon was sworn in to again lead the Senate Democrats in the new General Assembly, while Senator Dan McConchie was elected as Minority Leader of the Senate Republicans for the 102nd General Assembly.

    Lame Duck Session: The 101st General Assembly concluded its lame-duck session and officially ended, adjourning session sine die. Legislators worked in session throughout the night Tuesday and adjourned moments before the next General Assembly took office.  The lack of a traditional Fall Veto Session combined with the pandemic protocols governing session led to one of the most chaotic lame-duck sessions in recent memory.  

    In the end, many of the omnibus bills proved to be too complex and controversial to pass in a short time frame and the clock ran out before work could be completed.  Legislation to address ethics reform, solar funding, decoupling of Illinois taxes, cannabis social equity lottery, and many others remain unresolved.  The General Assembly also failed to approve legislation to allow for remote legislating during the remainder of the pandemic.

    Bills approved during the lame-duck session must be sent to the Governor within 30 days of passage.  The Governor has 60 days from receipt of the legislation to act.  Because the 101st General Assembly has concluded, any bills that are vetoed by the Governor are considered dead.  Legislators may reintroduce any vetoed legislation as new legislation for consideration during the 102nd General Assembly. 

    Insurance Industry Legislation: HB 3360 (Hoffman/Harmon) is an initiative of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to allow for pre-judgment interest, rather than post-judgment interest, in civil proceedings. Passed both houses. NAIFA IL and our Coalition partners opposed this measure from the start along with many other trade associations and our company partners, however since it was the Illinois Trial Lawyers top initiative it flew through the General Assembly and we expect the Governor to sign it.

    HB 4276 (Hoffman/Cunningham) extends three COVID 19 worker protections passed in May that expired at the end of 2020.  Extends the temporary rebuttable presumption for first responder and front-line workers who contract COVID-19 on the job. Also extends death benefits to Chicago police and firefighters who contract COVID-19 while on the job and die as a result. Finally, the bill creates a temporary 60-day extension of paid disability leave for employees injured in the line of duty. Passed both houses, heads to the Governor’s desk.

    Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Agenda:  In early September, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus released its agenda of sweeping reforms designed to address systemic racism. The agenda focused on four pillars of policy: criminal justice reform, violence and police accountability; education and workforce development; economic access, equity and opportunity; and health care and human services.   Since autumn, legislators and stakeholders held numerous public hearings to discuss components of each policy pillar. The hearings culminated with the introduction and consideration of a package of omnibus legislation over the past days.  

    Criminal Justice Reform, Violence and Police Accountability:  HB 3653 (Sims/Slaughter) Represents the criminal justice reform and police accountability pillar of the Legislative Black Caucus Agenda.  Highlights include: Eliminates bail, beginning January 1, 2023, and replaces it with a pretrial release system to be developed by Illinois courts.  Includes Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s provisions on police certification and decertification for officers. Requires the use of body cameras in large agencies by 2022 and all agencies by 2025.  Makes changes to use of force, including banning certain types of force including choke holds and restraints above the shoulders. Requires law enforcement to give immediate medical assistance to an injured person and creates a duty to intervene when another office uses excessive force.  Creates a Task Force on Constitutional Rights and Remedies to investigate constitutional rights and remedies, including qualified immunity.  Expands the rights of detainees, including allowing the ability to make three phone calls within three hours of being taken into custody. Contains sentencing reform provisions and makes changes to prison practices.  Passed both houses and will be sent to the Governor.  This bill does not include the provisions of the “Qualified Immunity” that were so heavily opposed.

    Education and Workforce Development: HB 2170  (Ammons/Lightford) Represents the education and workforce development pillar of the Legislative Black Caucus initiative. In part, this bill seeks the development of: new programs to support minority early childhood education; a task force to explore equitable school experiences; revised state standards for high schools; special summer programs for impoverished students; and efforts to enroll Black students at in-state colleges (rather than their departing for other states). A trailer bill is expected in the 102nd General Assembly to address technical issues. HB 2170 is headed to the Governor after passing both chambers.

    HR 696 (Ammons) Urges Congress to recognize outstanding student debt as a crisis. HR 696 was adopted by the House.

    Economic Access, Opportunity and Equity:  SB1608 (Belt/Harper) Represents the first piece of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the Black Caucus agenda.  Key provisions of this omnibus bill include making procurement changes as related to diversity, creating the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act, establishing the Illinois Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program, creating the Community Development Loan Guarantee Act and establishing the Loan Guarantee Program. SB 1608 passed both houses and will be sent to the Governor. 

    SB 1480 (Belt/Harper) Represents the second piece of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the Black Caucus Agenda. The bill provides that it is a civil rights violation for any employer, employment agency or labor organization to use a conviction record as a basis to refuse to hire, to segregate, or to act with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment. Provides for equal pay registration certificate requirements.  The bill also makes changes to annual EEOC reporting. Passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

    SB 1980 (Belt/Harper) Represents the third portion of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the Black Caucus Agenda dealing with housing.  Requires housing authorities to collect information concerning the denial of assistance on the basis of criminal history records. Specifies further requirements concerning notice and use of criminal history records as related to housing. Makes changes to the Property Tax Code concerning the creation of an indemnity fund.  Passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

    SB 1792 (Belt/Harper) Represents the third portion of the economic access, opportunity and equity portion of the Black Caucus Agenda dealing with industry specific equity.  Creates the Cannabis equity commission, creates the Predatory Loan Prevention Act and institutes industry disparity studies for farming and beauty supply industry. Floor Amendment #4 removed the lead service line language.  Passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

    HR 866 (Thapedi) calls on the Governor to immediately act to improve the housing stock, communities, and conditions of and for people of African descent. Urges the Governor and the legislature to quickly invoke the principles of the Equitable Economic Land Use Plan (EELUP) of 2020. Declares that funding be directed toward low-income communities for infrastructure, housing, and other economic development. Calls for reforms of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure and the Mortgage Act and that more funding goes to existing housing programs to help people of African descent in the facilitation of the EELUP of 2020. Calls for the Menard Correctional Center to revert to its original name of Southern Illinois Penitentiary.  HR 866 was adopted by the House.

    Health Care and Human Services Reforms: The healthcare and human services reform pillar was the only pillar to not successfully pass both chambers.   After much discussion, HB 3840 (Lilly/Hunter) passed the Senate 35-18.  Meanwhile,  SB 558 (Holmes/Lilly) passed the House 66-41.  Neither bill, however, was considered by the other chamber.  Watch for this legislation to be reintroduced in the 102nd General Assembly. 

    Tax/Revenue: Last minute efforts to decouple Illinois tax law from federal law failed in the House.  SB 1199  (Harmon/Zalewski) decouples Illinois tax law from new federal business tax changes, which was a high priority of Governor Pritzker’s. The move, which is opposed by the business community, is projected to save the state $1 billion.  The bill failed in the House on final action and was placed on postponed consideration.

    Education: HB 2275 (Conyers-Ervin/Cunningham) allows Chicago teachers to have the same bargaining rights as teachers in the rest of the state.  Proponents believe, if this bill passes, Chicago teachers would have the right to bargain return-to-school safety measures during the COVID pandemic. HB 2275 passed the House in 2019.  The bill passed the Senate this week by a vote of 38-16 and now heads to the Governor.

    HB 1559  (Cassidy/Cunningham) is trailer legislation to HB 2275.  This represents an agreement between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union.  The bill moves negotiations over the length of the school day and the length of the school year into the permissible subject area of collective bargaining. Passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

    HB 2263 (Carroll/Gillespie) prohibits the use of isolation rooms and restraints as a behavior management technique in public and private schools.  Under the bill, a physical restraint can only be used when the student's behavior presents imminent danger of harm to the student or others.  Creates a grant program and a three-year phase out to assist schools in adapting to newly-developed behavior management techniques. HB 2263 passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

    HB 2267 (Ramirez/Martwick) allows for an elected Chicago School Board.  The bill previously passed the House in 2019. This bill was positioned for consideration in the Illinois Senate, but was not called for a vote.

    Ethics Reforms:  Last minute efforts to enact ethics reform stalled in the Illinois House. House Floor Amendment # 2 to SB 3071 (Gillespie/Harris) is the product of the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform.  The Commission was tasked with issuing a final report by March 31st, but work was stalled as the pandemic descended.  The bill bans public officials, with certain exceptions, from operating as outside lobbyists. Imposes a revolving door prohibition for members of General Assembly and Constitutional officers.  Makes various changes to the Statement of Economic Interest.  Provides pro rata compensation for members of the General Assembly who leaves office - members will only be paid for time worked.  Prohibits fundraisers virtual and in-person Sangamon County fundraisers on the day before or after session.   Creates a statewide lobby registration system - for all levels of government including local governments.  Requires disclosure of consultants by the client entity.  An Executive Officer or Appointee with a campaign account must pause that account for the duration of their term of service.  The Floor Amendment was approved by the House Executive Committee, but the bill was not considered for final action in the House.

    Hospital Legislation:   SB 1510 (Steans/Harris) represents the long anticipated, heavily negotiated healthcare transformation and omnibus Medicaid provisions.  The goal of transformation is to foster innovative partnerships, which will be funded by a pool, designed to establish or improve integrated health care delivery systems that will provide additional access to the Medicaid and uninsured populations in their communities, as well as improve health care equity. In addition to the hospital transformation provisions, the bills make COVID related extensions for nursing homes, technical corrections for the hospital assessment, enacts a fix to the FQHC formula and reinstates supplemental funding rate for DCFS children held beyond medical necessity.  Passed both houses, heads to the Governor.

    SB 1530 (Belt/Harris) grandfathers a safety net designation for Gateway Medical Center in Granite City.  Passed both houses and heads to the Governor.

    HB 356 (Harris/Steans) reenacts provisions regarding hospital assessments. Provides for the continuity of effect of the reenacted provisions between July 1, 2020 and the effective date of the amendatory Act.  The bill also requires the Department of Public Health to accept on-the-job experience in lieu of clinical training from any individual who participated in the temporary nursing assistant program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House. 

    COVID-19:  Attempts to expand emergency housing assistance stalled in the Illinois Senate.  SB 3066  (Murphy/Rameriz) extends the moratorium on mortgage foreclosure and judicial sales, expands eviction sealing and implements federal rental assistance. SB 3066 passed the House 77-33-1 but was not considered on concurrence in the Senate. 

    Efforts to aid the hospitality industry during the continued pandemic stalled in the House.  HB 3393 (LaPointe/Feigenholtz) creates the COVID-19 Pandemic Hospitality Recovery Act.  The bill extends the cocktails-to-go bill passed in May.  Allows the use of credit cards when retailers purchase from distributors.  Exempts “items of value” so bars and restaurants can receive temporary donations of tents, heaters and other necessary items during the pandemic. Changes timing of sales tax payments for restaurants from quarterly to monthly. HB 3393 passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

    SB 54 (Feigenholtz/Zalewski) makes changes to liquor home delivery to allow retailers to deliver directly to consumers. Passed both houses, heads to the Governor’s desk.

    Efforts to pass an omnibus government package stalled in the Illinois House.  HB 3469 (Burke/Murphy) allows the General Assembly to conduct business remotely during the pandemic.  These provisions sunset at the end of the 102nd General Assembly.   Allows the Secretary of State to adopt rules governing expiration dates of various registrations and permits.  Extends the time for local CURES funds to be expended to match federal law. Reinstates the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission.   Makes changes to the award of OSLAD grant funds. Creates the Landscape Architecture Registration Act. HB 3469 passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

    HB 4276 (Hoffman/Cunningham) extends three COVID 19 worker protections passed in May that expired at the end of 2020.  Extends the temporary rebuttable presumption for first responder and front-line workers who contract COVID-19 on the job. Also extends death benefits to Chicago police and firefighters who contract COVID-19 while on the job and die as a result. Finally, the bill creates a temporary 60-day extension of paid disability leave for employees injured in the line of duty. Passed both houses, heads to the Governor’s desk.

    The following bills passed both chambers and will be forwarded to the Governor for consideration:

    • HB 2451 (Martwick/Martwick) changes pension benefits for Chicago firefighters.  Removes a birthdate restriction on eligibility at age 55 for a 3% automatic annual increase in retirement annuity that is not subject to a maximum increase of 30%.  Adds calculations of annual increases in retirement annuities of those retiring after September 1, 1967.  The bill sponsor said the measure makes the law reflect current practice.  Passed both houses.

    • HB 2461 (Hoffman/Castro) combines four bills from the spring session to authorize state property land transfers. Passed both houses.

    • HB 3878 (Costa Howard/Ellman) repeals the Railroad Liquor Act. Passed both houses.

    • HB 3360 (Hoffman/Harmon) is an initiative of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to allow for pre-judgment interest, rather than post-judgment interest, in civil proceedings. Passed both houses.

    • HB 570 (Hoffman/Righter) contains TIF extensions for the communities of Highwood, Cahokia, Charleston and Flora. Passed both houses.

    • HB2488 (Zalewski/Bush) addresses problems within the prescription drug monitoring program, making changes to allow for third party vendor access to the program. Passed both houses.

    • HB 156 (Zalewski/Jones) reenacts the Transportation Network Providers Act. Provides for the continuation and validation of the Act and extends the repeal to June 1, 2021. Passed both houses.

    • SB 1805  is an initiative of the MWRD Pension Fund and authorizes transfer of funds to MWRD pension fund. Passed both houses.

    • SB 2779 addresses the nomination signatures needed for candidacy to the Fox Valley Park District.  Passed both houses.

    • SB 2527  authorizes DCFS to transfer property to the Carole Robertson Center for Learning.  Passed both houses.

    • HB 377  makes changes to the Human Rights Act.  Passed both houses.

    Other bills were considered during the lame duck session, but did not pass both chambers:

    • HB 122 (Gordon-Booth/Castro) attempts to rectify the cannabis license lottery to give social equity applicants better opportunities. Passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

    • SB 3096 (Morrison/Davis) which contains solar funding provisions.   SB 3096 passed House committee but was not considered for final action.

    • HB 3994 (Stuart/Morrison) designed to allow for the continuation of curbside voting and ballot drop box locations to continue at the discretion of the election authority.  The bill also requires election authorities to accept vote-by-mail ballots, regardless of postage paid by the voter. Similar language was considered on SB 145 but stalled in the House as well.  HB 3994 passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.  

    • HB 97 (Stuart/Crowe) allows the Supreme Court and Appellate Court to utilize a law enforcement-based model rather than a private-security model for court security. The Court indicates this new model will allow for a higher level of security with sworn officers.  The current private security contract expires June 30, 2021. The bill passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

    • HB 471  (Morgan/Morrison) allows the board of directors of a corporation to allow remote shareholder meetings.  HB 471 passed the Senate but was not considered on concurrence in the House.

    COMING UP:
    The 102nd General Assembly was sworn into office at noon on Wednesday, January 13th. 

    2021 Key Session Dates:
    January 13 - Inauguration of the 102nd General Assembly
    January 27 - State of the State Address
    February 5 - Senate LRB Request Deadline
    February 17 - Governor’s Budget Address
    February 19 - Deadline - Introduction of Substantive Senate Bills
    February 23 - Consolidated Primary Election
    March 26 - Deadline - Substantive Senate Bills out of Committee
    April 6 - Consolidated Election
    April 23 - Deadline - Third Reading Substantive Senate Bills
    May 14 - Deadline - Substantive House Bills out of Committee
    May 28 - Deadline - Third Reading Substantive House Bills
    May 31 - Adjournment

    GOVERNOR’S HIGHLIGHTS:  

    COVID-19 Update: On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,642 new cases of COVID-19 and 117 additional deaths. Within the past 24 hours, labs reported 93,491 tests.  As of Monday night, 3,553 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 757 patients were in the ICU and 409 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.  

    Last week, the Governor announced Tier 3 mitigations could be lifted beginning on January 15th for regions that meet public health metrics.   The Governor indicated he wanted to wait the full two-week incubation period following New Year’s Day before lifting any restrictions. All Illinois’ regions moved into Tier 3 mitigations on November 20, 2020 following a spike in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths.  

    Beginning Friday, data will drive whether a region is in Tier 1, 2, 3 or Phase 4. The Department of Public Health’s mitigation plan directs that a region can transition from Tier 3 to Tier 2 only if it has a positivity rate below 12 percent for three consecutive days; has hospital /ICU bed availability of more than 20 percent; and declining COVID hospitalizations for seven of the 10 days.  

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Sunday extended through Jan. 22 the advisory that urges Chicagoans to stay home in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. 
    As of yesterday, the state's latest vaccine numbers are posted on the IDPH website.  Vaccination data can be found  here.  As of Monday, 638,150 doses of vaccine were delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 231,475 doses have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. 

    Executive Order:  Executive Order 2021-01  reissues most executive orders, extending a majority of the provisions through February 6, 2021.

    New State Business Tax Credits Frozen: Governor Pritzker is suspending the planned implementation of new state business tax credits authorized in Public Act 101-9 which are projected to save the state $20 million.  More on Pritzker’s announcement is here. 

    Department of Veteran’s Affairs:  Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia resigned. Major General Peter Nezamis, Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Illinois National Guard – is interim director. The governor will name a permanent director after a nationwide search. Chapa LaVia served previously in the Illinois House. 

    Strategic Planning Advisory Committee: The members of the new Strategic Planning Advisory Committee have been named by the Illinois Board of Higher Education – and will work to develop plans to meet the IBHE’s goals of equality, accessibility, and innovation in Illinois’ higher education system. Some 40 members are drawn from education, business, policy, community, and philanthropic organizations. The Illinois Community College Board and Illinois Student Assistance Commission are partners in the effort as well. More information, including SPAC membership, here. 

    Gubernatorial Appointments:  Bradley Gillespie will serve as an Arbitrator on the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission.

    ATTORNEY GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS:

    The office of Attorney General Kwame Raoul is partnering with the FBI on a Task Force on Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fraud. State and federal resources will be deployed on a large scale to combat unemployment insurance benefits fraud. More information is here. 

    NOVEMBER 2022 CAMPAIGN:  

    Former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias announced he is interested in running for Secretary of State in 2022 and is launching a statewide virtual listening tour.