103RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
The Illinois General Assembly stands adjourned for the week. The Illinois House was in session Tuesday through Thursday considering resolutions and holding committee hearings. The Illinois Senate met Tuesday through Friday to consider Senate Bills for final passage. Today, Friday March 31, is the deadline to pass substantive Senate bills out of the Senate.
The Illinois General Assembly is on spring break for the next two weeks. Both chambers return on Tuesday, April 18. At that time, they will have two weeks to pass substantive legislation out of committee in the second chamber.
In total, the Illinois Senate passed 197 Senate Bills this week.
Legislation to codify and clean up the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders regarding healthcare and the healthcare workforce - HB 559 (Morgan/Glowiak Hilton) - was expedited this week with a motion to waive the six-day hearing notice provision. The bill passed the Senate Executive Committee and is now pending before the full Senate. While the House sponsor noted that negotiations are ongoing to address remaining concerns, the bill passed the Senate Executive Committee without making any changes to the bill.
Legislation regarding Halal and Kosher food options passed the Senate Education Committee 9- 5 and is now pending before the full Senate. SB 167 (Villivalam) requires all public schools, the University of Illinois hospital and all state correctional facilities to offer Halal and Kosher food options upon request. Requires ISBE to enter into a master contract with vendors for the purpose of providing the meals. School districts will not be required to offer the meals if ISBE does not enter into a master contract. Provisions of the bill cannot infringe on contracts entered before the bill’s effective date. ISBE testified that they are concerned with the bill as amended regarding the master contract provisions as the Agency does not engage in these types of functions. ISBE representatives testified the agency does not have the capacity or expertise in this area.
Highlights from this week in the Illinois Senate: The following bills passed the Senate and now head to the House for consideration:
- SB 1559 (Murphy) caps insulin at $35 per month and creates a discount program that allows participants to purchase insulin at a discounted, post-rebate price. Passed the Senate 57-0.
- SB 1699 (Villivalam) approves the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact. Passed the Senate 54-0.
- SB 16 (Lightford) requires ISBE to develop by December 30, 2024 a school district-level Children's Adversity Index to measure community childhood trauma exposure for children. Requires teachers’ institutes to provide instruction on trauma-informed practices. Requires ISBE to establish a committee (of no more than 21 members) to make recommendations to the State Board of Education to change the professional educator licensure requirements and Professional Educator License renewal requirements for teachers. Requires the Whole Child Task Force (created by PA 101- 654) to reconvene by March 2027 to review progress on a March 2022 report's recommendations and to submit a report on that progress. Passed the Senate 47-6.
- SB 40 (Feigenholtz), as amended, requires EV-capable charging infrastructure in residential buildings in Illinois. Passed the Senate 39-16.
- SB 325 (Cunningham) is an initiative of the Attorney General protecting his office from releasing certain protected information related to a FOIA dispute. Passed the Senate by a vote of 42-14.
- SB 1251 (Johnson) requires that the operator of the ambulance or rescue vehicle -- prior to operating that vehicle -- have documented training. Allows these vehicles, if using both audible and visual signals, to proceed past a red traffic control signal or stop sign after slowing down for safe operation. Passed the Senate 57-0.
- SB 850 (Belt), as amended, creates the Grocery Store Initiative directing DCEO to study food insecurity in food deserts. The Department is also to create a Grocery Initiative using grants and other funding to expand access to healthy foods in food deserts; this would apply to independently owned for-profit grocery stores as well as those operated by units of local government. Any grocery store receiving financial support under this Act could be designated a High Impact Business. Passed the Senate unanimously.
- SB 76 (Rezin) lifts the nuclear moratorium in Illinois. Passed the Senate 39-13.
- SB 2260 (Peters) allows gender-based violence survivors to seek justice. The sponsor noted that changes will be made in the House, including to the definition of genderbased violence. Passed the Senate 41-2.
- SB 836 (Holmes) creates the Paint Stewardship Act which requires paint manufacturers to create a Paint Care Stewardship Plan. Retailers are allowed to be a collection site. Further prohibits paint from being incinerated. Passed the Senate unanimously.
- SB 849 (Villivalam), as amended, reconstitutes the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Transportation to address transportation funding and needs. Passed the Senate 57-0.
- SB 1646 (Martwick) represents the 2023 pension omnibus. The legislation contains 10 different agreed items. Passed the Senate unanimously.
- SB 1907 (Villanueva) creates the Public Higher Education Act which requires public universities and community colleges to provide at least one “wellness kiosk” which must include discounted emergency contraception. Passed the Senate 38-19.
- SB 1779 (Turner) makes permanent the Medication Aid Pilot Program, allowing medication aides to administer oral and topical medication in long term care facilities. Passed the Senate 42-7.
- SB 1497 (Villa) intends to prohibit the use of physical restraints and the use of psychotropic medications to restrain nursing home residents. The bill differentiates between positioning devices and physical restraints and allows a resident (or their representative) to request a positioning device. Health care providers must ensure that positioning devices do not restrict residents’ freedom to move or get out of bed. Passed the Senate 56-0.
- SB 757 (Koehler) as amended, establishes a process and procedures for auditing pharmacies. Passed the Senate 56-0.
- SB 2368 (Koehler) creates a minimum building code statewide. Requires the Capital Development Board to create a statewide minimum building code for commercial and residential buildings. The sponsor indicated that after a natural disaster, FEMA’s maximal help is extended only if a statewide minimum code exists – and Illinois is one of six states that does not have one. Under the bill, remodels that increase the value of the structure over 50% require an inspection. Preempts home rule. Passed the Senate 34-18-1.
- SB 125 (Ventura) provides that the odor of raw or burnt cannabis would not alone constitute probable cause for search of a motor vehicle; also removes the requirement that cannabis stored in a vehicle must be in an odor-proof container. Passed the Senate 33-20.
- SB 1438 (Ventura) creates the Illinois Dig Once Act, requiring a policy be developed to reduce the scale and number of repeated excavations related to roads, highways, tollways, and expressways for installing and maintaining broadband infrastructure and public utilities in rights of way. The policy is to be developed by the Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
- SB 1344 (Villanueva) is a trailer bill to the reproductive healthcare bill passed in the lame duck session. As amended, requires insurance coverage for all abortifacients, hormonal therapy medication, HIV medications PrEP and PEP, and follow-up services related to that coverage, including all drugs approved by the FDA that are prescribed or ordered for off-label use as abortifacients. With respect to temporary permits for certain health care professionals, requires IDFPR to notify IDPH if the agency becomes aware of a violation occurring at a facility licensed by IDPH. Authorizes IDPH to issue a standing order for pharmacist to dispense HIV prophylactic medication. Makes all program performance reports received by the Department of Public Health regarding the Abortion Care Clinical Training Program must be treated as confidential and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Passed the Senate 36-19 and now heads to the House.
- HB2471 The Food for Thought Bill aims to bring free school meals back to Illinois! Federal school meal waivers that kept K-12 students fed during the COVID-19 pandemic expired in June 2022, meaning thousands of Illinois kids are no longer receiving free meals at school, which puts them at increased risk of food insecurity. Additionally, Illinois Free Lunch and Breakfast Program funding has been cut significantly in the last 10 years which affects the access and quality of these meals for kids. Update: The Food for Though Bill has passed the Illinois House and has moved on to the Senate for consideration.
- SB 1715 requires that for each drinking fountain in any construction where a drinking fountain is required, a bottle filling station will be provided. Update: This passed the Senate Committee, and an amendment has been filed.
- HB 3450 would support a 2-year pilot program administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to provide medically supportive food to people using Medicaid via food prescription programs. Update: This has been posted to committee and a deadline extension.
- SB 2278 gives more local control to designing intersections to support pedestrian safety. Update: Passed out of Senate committee.
Other House Bills:
- HB 2879 creates the Illinois Farm to Food Bank Program to help expand the availability of nutritious, locally grown, raised, or processed foods for Illinois’ emergency food system. Update: Passed the House committee and posted for 3rd Reading.
- HB 1526 launches an Outdoor Rx Program. Update: This has passed the House committee and an amendment has been filed.
New Representative Appointed: Mary Gill, the current executive director of the Mt. Greenwood Community and Business Association, was appointed as the new state representative of the 35th District. Gill replaces Representative Fran Hurley who was appointed to the State Labor Relations Board by Governor Pritzker.
The Senate Special Committee on the Chicago Elected Representative School Board will hold a series of subject matter hearings to discuss the drawing of the new Chicago Elected Representative School Board districts:
- April 5 at 4 pm at George Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd
- April 6 at 11 am at Imani Village 901 E. 95th St.
- April 12 at 4 pm at Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave
- April 13 at 4 pm at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St 2023
March 31: Deadline – Third Reading Deadline – Substantive Senate Bills in the Senate
April 4: Consolidated Election
April 28: Deadline – Substantive Bills Out of Committee in both chambers
May 11: Deadline – Third Reading Substantive House Bills in Senate
May 12: Deadline – Third Reading Substantive Senate Bills in House
May 19: Adjournment
Public-Private Partnership to Secure Federal Funding: Seeking to capture billions of dollars of federal and private investment in science, technology and climate initiatives, Governor JB Pritzker has announced a multi-partnership effort called Innovate Illinois. Key institutions in the undertaking are the Civic Committee, P33, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. A diverse coalition of business leaders, higher education institutions, and elected officials will coordinate the state’s efforts to secure funding derived through three main sources: the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This collective effort will bring together the relevant expertise and capacity to pursue specific grant opportunities with a focus on science, transportation, innovation and technology. The initiative will serve as the “front door” for businesses seeking partnership with the state and education systems to pursue federal grants for innovation in the areas of research, technology, and workforce development.
Freight Mobility: The Illinois Department of Transportation awarded nearly $200 million investment in 22 projects targeted to improve the movement of freight throughout the state. Using federal funds, the Illinois Competitive Freight Program furthers the goals of the Illinois State Freight Plan. Successful proposals were ranked based on the plan’s goals: increasing safety, improving reliability, and boosting intermodal connections and commerce at the local level.
Texas Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act: On Thursday, a federal judge in Texas struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires insurers and employers to cover preventive services for free. The ruling applies nationwide and potentially impacts the treatment for approximately 100 million Americans who use free preventative services annually.
Governor Pritzker issued a statement calling the decision “another sad example of political grandstanding overshadowing common sense, compassionate health policy.” He further assured that “in Illinois we will not go backwards.” The Governor added that the “Illinois Department of Insurance will work to protect the preventative services mandate to ensure continued coverage for our residents despite this decision. Illinoisans will not go without essential cancer and diabetes screenings vision tests, and PrEP/PEP access to satisfy a rightwing agenda”. The Governor plans to work with the Illinois General Assembly to “keep the people of Illinois covered and protected”.
Chicago Mayoral Election: Residents of the City of Chicago will elect the city’s 57th Mayor on Tuesday. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas faces Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson; current Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not garner enough votes to make the run-off election. Both mayoral candidates acknowledge that the election may be too close to call on Tuesday and advise voters that final results may not be available until after all early and mail in ballots are counted.
Attorney General Update: Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined with 12 attorneys general seeking nationwide restrictions on the use of sulfoxaflor, a chemical pesticide that is toxic to bees and other pollinators. Raoul said the coalition is composed of some of the nation’s leading agricultural producers who depend on pollinators to sustain their crops and natural ecosystems.
The coalition sent a letter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency warning that the unrestricted use of sulfoxaflor could have devastating effects on pollinators, ultimately harming the economy, and endangering the nation’s food security. The group further urged the EPA to adopt reasonable restrictions on sulfoxaflor’s use and support further research into its potential impacts on human health and the environment. Joining the Illinois Attorney General are the Attorneys General from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and, Washington.