Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for 2023 Public Health Administrators Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, May 3. Almost 20 local public health administrators from IAPHA, SIPHC, and NIPHC convened in Springfield to advocate for local public health funding increases. It was a beautiful day to walk to the statehouse from IPHA offices to meet with legislators. In total, we walked more than 100,000 steps, hiked up and down multiple staircases at the Statehouse, handed out dozens of business cards and factsheets, and visited more than 20 legislators to advocate for the importance of increasing funding for local health departments. I am pleased to say our state legislators met with us and asked good questions about our proposal. Legislative session is still scheduled to conclude on May 19, so now is the time to continue to reach out to your state senators and representatives to make the case for increasing funding for local public health by increasing the Local Health Protection Grant appropriation to IDPH.
Committees have been posted for next week, but not many bill assignments have been made yet. We will update on Monday as needed.
The Illinois Senate was in session Tuesday through Friday; session for Saturday and Sunday was canceled. The Illinois House was in session Tuesday through Thursday. Both chambers return to session on Monday, May 8. May 11 is the House Third Reading deadline in the Senate. May 12 is the Senate Bill Third Reading deadline in the House. Note, the Senate created an Agreed Bill List with 108 bills to expedite final passage of non-controversial legislation. One roll call will be taken on Wednesday for legislation on the Agreed Bill List.
Budget Pressures: Lawmakers are facing continuing budget pressures as they work to finalize the FY 24 budget. This week, HFS Director Theresa Eagleson told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the estimated cost for Illinois to continue providing health care coverage to noncitizens who are otherwise ineligible for Medicaid benefits has been revised upward to $1.1 billion (up from the end of March estimate of $990 million) for the upcoming fiscal year. The new estimate is now $880 million beyond the $220 million estimate included in Governor Pritzker’s February budget proposal.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was in Springfield this week asking for an additional $1.8 million in state funding to help Cook County pay for the health care costs of asylum seekers. Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez were also in the Capitol this week seeking increased funding for Chicago Public Schools (the Governor’s proposed FY 24 budget allocates $27 million for CPS).
The General Assembly also learned this week that its forecasting commission downsized its revenue projections for the current fiscal year by $738 million. They did not, however, alter their projection for the upcoming fiscal year. (Read more on the topic below.) The Commission's projections have been somewhat higher than the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget calculations and it appears that budget makers are trying to use the more conservative estimates as they craft the FY 24 budget.
COGFA Adjusts FY 23 Revenue Projections: The FY23 revenue forecast has been downsized by $738 million – for a total outlook of $51.2 billion – by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, citing a steep drop-off in General Funds revenues.
The main culprit: underperforming revenues from personal income taxes in the final tax payment period. COGFA notes that this revenue stream has a net adjustment of -$840 million, joining disappointing performances in Sales Taxes (downwardly adjusted to -$94 million net) and Federal Sources (assigned a -$50 million projection). Recent months have seen lower trending revenues in all three categories, COGFA said.
However, a boost in projections was seen in three areas as well. Corporate Income net receipts were upwardly adjusted by +$135 million, joining All Other State Sources in its uptick (+$86 million) as well as Transfers In (assigned the more optimistic +$34 million).
Looking ahead to the FY24 revenue projection, COGFA has indicated it anticipates keeping the estimate at approximately $50.4 billion.
April Revenue Update: A deep dive in General Funds revenue – to the tune of $1.844 billion – occurred in April 2023, compared to the same month of the previous year. The steepest dropoff took place in Personal Income Taxes, toppling to $1.763 billion below April 2022 levels (a net basis fall-off of $1.507 billion). The Commission on Government Accountability and Forecasting had anticipated an underperformance in this area, but the actual decline was far more dramatic.
Adding to the woes of the General Funds revenues were two other categories: Corporate Income Taxes and Sales Taxes. Corporate Income Taxes were down $94 million ($66 million net). And while Sales Taxes had a downtick of $5 million in April on a year-over-year basis, when adjusted for nongeneral funds distributions (to the Road Fund and other transportation funds), the drop is $31 million.
Encouraging developments were seen in interest gleaned on State Funds and investments, which delivered $25 million in April. Insurance Taxes and Fees increased FY23 gains by $20 million. More modest contributions to the state’s coffers came from Other Sources (+$4 million); Public Utility Taxes (+$1 million); and the Cigarette Tax (+$1 million). These gains were essentially offset, however, by downturns in April in the Inheritance Tax (-$46 million); the Liquor Tax (-$7 million); and the Corporate Franchise Tax (-$2 million).
Revenues from Transfers In grew an anemic $1 million in April. Even though Lottery Transfers were an impressive $24 million above last April’s levels, and Casino Gaming Transfers registered at $2 million more than April 2022, miscellaneous transfers fell $24 million and Cannabis Transfers dropped $1 million. Capping off the substantial falloff in April revenues: a $237 million year-over-year decline in federal sources.
Broadband: Senator Ventura filed SFA #1 to SB 851 which requires the Broadband Advisory Council to encourage the expansion of the Illinois Century Network, including issuing recommendations for increasing agency staffing, infrastructure development, price modeling, and deployment that prioritizes areas that are unserved by broadband or any broadband network, as well as study the feasibility of connecting all anchor institutions. Includes correctional facilities in the definition of “anchor institution.” The amendment is currently assigned to the Senate State Government Committee.
Environmental Justice: Representative Harper filed HFA # 1 to HB 2520 which deletes the $200,000 supplemental fees for the new or revised air pollution construction permit application. The underlying legislation addresses Environmental Justice by granting additional rules and tools to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regarding the designation of environmental justice communities. The bill also updates the permitting process for any new construction. HB 2520 remains on Postponed Consideration in the House with the Third Reading deadline extended until May 19. HFA # 1 is scheduled for a hearing before the House Energy and Environment Committee on May 9.
Affordability of Prescription Medication: An amendment was filed in the Senate this week to HB 2189 (Guzzardi/Murphy) which caps insulin at $35 per month and creates a discount program that allows participants to purchase insulin at a discounted, post-rebate price. The amendment moves the administration of the discount program from IDPH to CMS. The amendment is assigned to the Senate Insurance committee. HB 2189 is on Third Reading in the Senate.
HB 3957 (Syed/Koehler), which creates the Pharmaceutical and Health Affordability: Restrictions on Manufacturers' Amoral Behavior through Reasonable Oversight Act was considered again on Third Reading in the House (it previously failed on Third Reading deadline day). The bill prohibits a manufacturer or wholesale drug distributor from engaging in price gouging in the sale of an essential off-patent or generic drug and gives the Attorney General the ability to investigate when prices rise above a certain level. HB 3957 passed the House by a vote of 84-25 and now heads to the Senate.
Wage Transparency: HB 3129 (Canty/Pacione Zayas), as amended, requires employers with 15 or more employees to disclose the pay scale and benefits in job postings. Empowers the Department of Labor to initiate an investigation of violations. Also authorizes the Department to investigate and levy civil penalties against employers that violate provisions concerning the posting of pay scale and benefits. The sponsor testified that the amendment was heavily negotiated and represents an agreement in “substance” with advocates and the business community. A further floor amendment is expected which the sponsor noted will address some remaining concerns. The Senate Executive Committee approved HB 3129, as amended, by a vote of 8-4.
Healthcare Mergers and Acquisitions: HB 2222 (Gong-Gershowitz/Gillespie) requires that the Attorney General be notified of mergers and acquisitions of certain health care facilities and large provider organizations. Allows the Attorney General to impose penalties for failure to report these actions. The bill is an initiative of the Attorney General. Passed the Senate Executive Committee 11-2 and now heads to the full Senate.
Property Tax Sale Reform: Representative Buckner filed HFA# 1 to SB 1675 (Cunningham/Buckner) which represents property tax sale reform. The sponsor testified that the goal of the legislation to allow is allow revitalization in areas with a high rate of abandoned properties. He noted the legislation allows builders to gain access to abandoned properties for redevelopment after one annual tax sale cycle instead of allowing “out of state investors to profit off of doing nothing and letting vacant lots deteriorate as they cycle through the bureaucratic tax sale system.”
As drafted, the amendment (1) allows local counties and municipalities to quickly intervene after failed delinquent tax sales to save abandoned properties; (2) reduces taxpayer funded payouts to property tax buyers by narrowing the sale in error loopholes; (3) cuts in half the monthly interest rate on delinquent taxes for homeowners from 1.5% to .75%; and (4) eliminates tax buyer leverage in Cook County which makes the scavenger sale optional.
Opponents testified that as drafted, the legislation is overly broad, needs to be narrowed and its notice provision needs some changes. Opponents would like to continue to work with the sponsor in an attempt to reach an agreement. The sponsor promised to continue negotiations with the opponents. HFA # 1 passed the House Revenue Committee on a partisan roll call 11-6 and is now pending before the full House.
All Day Kindergarten: HB 2396 (Canty/Lightford), as amended, mandates schools offer all-day kindergarten. Note, while schools must offer the option, students are not required to attend allday kindergarten. Allows certain districts to apply for a two-year extension if the school meets certain criteria. Creates a Task Force to access the current state of full day kindergarten, as well as the capacity and cost of providing full-day kindergarten statewide. Passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously. SFA # 3 was filed Friday and is pending in the Senate Assignments Committee.
Electric Vehicle Charging: SB 40 (Feigenholtz/Gabel requires new construction of single-family homes and multi-unit residential buildings to include basic infrastructure for electric vehicle charging in a certain number of parking spaces. The bill also establishes rights and obligations for tenants and condominium unit owners seeking to install an EV charger on their own, while granting property owners the ability to recoup costs when an EV charging system is installed or removed at the request of a tenant or unit owner. Passed the House 69-38-1 and now heads to the Governor’s Desk.
Anti-Censorship: HB 2789 (Stava-Murray/Murphy) requires each Illinois library that receives State grants to establish an anti-censorship policy. Specifically, it states that libraries will be eligible for State grants only if they either "adopt the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights" or "develop a written statement prohibiting the practice of banning books or other materials within the library or library system." Passed the Senate by a vote of 39-19 and now heads to the Governor’s desk. The bill was an initiative of Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.
Bill Action for the Week of May 1, 2023
HB1540 (Lilly, C) ELECTRONIC SMOKING DEVICE - Amends the Smoke Free Illinois Act. Provides that a retail tobacco store that derives at least 80% of its gross revenue from the sale of electronic cigarettes and electronic cigarette equipment and accessories in operation before the effective date of the amendatory Act qualifies for a specified exemption for electronic cigarettes only. Provides that a retail tobacco store claiming an exemption for electronic cigarettes shall annually file with the Department of Public Health by January 31 an affidavit stating the percentage of its gross income during the prior calendar year that was derived from the sale of electronic cigarettes. Includes a workplace that manufactures, imports, or distributes electronic cigarettes in the definition of "retail tobacco store". Includes the use of an electronic cigarette in the definition of "smoke". Defines "electronic cigarette". SECOND READING
HB1557 (Williams, J) LIQUOR-OPIOID ANTAGONIST/MUSIC - Amends the Casualty Insurance, Fidelity Bonds, and Surety Contracts Article of the Illinois Insurance Code. Provides that an insurer that is licensed and authorized to do business in the State of Illinois shall consider an applicant's or insured's compliance with the amendatory Act when providing commercial liability insurance to a music venue. Amends the Liquor Control Act of 1934. Provides that if a licensee operates as a music venue, the licensee shall ensure that, during its hours of operation as a music venue, it or the music venue operator has opioid antagonists available at the premises and that there is a staff member on the premises who has been sufficiently trained on how to properly administer an opioid antagonist. Provides that a licensee or music venue operator and a person who is sufficiently trained and in good faith administers or provides an opioid antagonist in accordance with the provisions, shall not, as a result of the person's acts or omissions, except willful or wanton misconduct on the part of the person, in administering or providing the opioid antagonist, be liable for civil damages. Defines "music venue". Effective June 1, 2024. THIRD READING Passed Third Reading in the Senate by 053-000-000.
HB2086 (Stava-Murray, A) CONSUMER-OWNED CONTAINERS - Amends the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. In provisions allowing the filling or refilling of personal containers with bulk food, refers to restaurants and retailers (rather than just retailers). Allows restaurants and retailers to fill or refill a consumer-owned container with ready-made food. Allows clean consumer-owned containers provided or returned to a restaurant or retailer for filling or refilling to be filled or refilled and returned to the same consumer if the consumer-owned container is filled or refilled by either an employee of the restaurant or retailer or the owner of the consumer-owned container. Requires filled or refilled consumer-owned containers to be designed and constructed for reuse in accordance with specified federal requirements. Contains requirements for restaurants and retailers. Directs the Department of Public Health to produce materials for restaurants and retailers on or before January 1, 2024 indicating that consumer-owned containers are not prohibited for use under Illinois law and specifying best practices for food safety requirements for consumer-owned containers. Effective immediately. THIRD READING Passed Third Reading in the Senate by 054-000-000. Now heads to the Governor’s Desk.
SB216 (Edly-Allen, M) GUARDIANSHIP-DEMENTIA TRAINING - Amends the Guardianship and Advocacy Act. Provides that the guardianship training program shall include content regarding Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Amends the Probate Act of 1975. Requires a public guardian to complete a one-hour course on Alzheimer's disease and dementia within 6 months of appointment and annually thereafter. THIRD READING Passed Third Reading in the House by 097-000-000.
SB199 (Feigenholtz, S) NURSES-PRESCRIBE AUTHORITY - Amends the Nurse Practice Act. Provides that the scope of practice of an advanced practice registered nurse with full practice authority includes prescribing up to a 120-day supply of benzodiazepines without a consultation relationship with a physician. Provides that thereafter, continued prescription of benzodiazepines shall require a consultation with a physician. Makes other changes. THIRD READING Passed Third Reading in the House by 103-000-000.
SB67 (Fine, L) NEWBORN METABOLIC SCREENING - Amends the Newborn Metabolic Screening Act. Requires the Department of Public Health to provide all newborns with screening tests for the presence of metachromatic leukodystrophy. Requires the testing to begin within 6 months following the occurrence of specified milestones. Allows the Department to require payment of an additional fee for the provision of metachromatic leukodystrophy screening tests. Contains other provisions. THIRD READING Passed Third Reading in the House by 106-000-000.
DHS Releases Report from Illinois Immigration Task Force
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Thursday published a report from the Illinois Immigrant Impact Task Force examining issues affecting immigrants, refugees, and non-English speaking communities. The report identified 13 areas where the state could adopt legislation to help support these communities, including topics like citizenship assistance, access to education, COVID-19 relief and more.
Housing Development Authority Offering $15 Million for Community Revitalization
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is offering $15 million in grants as part of the second round of its Strong Communities Program (SCP) to local governments and land banks for the purchase, maintenance, rehabilitation, and demolition of abandoned residential properties to support community revitalization. The program provides grants of up to $750,000 to help those groups address affordable housing needs and subsequently increase property values, create jobs, reduce crime, generate tax revenue, and attract business investment. The SCP funding will reimburse applicants for the costs of these renovations/demolitions, including tree, shrub and debris removal, lot treatment and greening, and other construction costs.
Recent Gun Violence Prevention Steps at the State and Federal Level
On a single Saturday in April there were seven mass shootings across six states. This day holds the record for the most mass shootings in one day in 2023. Firearms are now the leading cause of premature death for children, having killed 4,357 children (ages 1-19 years old) in the United States in 2020 alone. Gun violence prevention is a vital step to protecting the public’s health. At the federal and state level, recent executive orders and legislation aim to support this goal.
Focus on the Public Health Workforce
Nearly half of the state and local governmental public health workforce left between 2017 and 2021, but that doesn't make headlines like shortages of doctors, nurses, or others do. The public health workforce was understaffed pre-pandemic and many more are still needed to carry out basic services in their communities.
Health Communications Resources
New CDC COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, released on April 19, provide simplified guidance and allow people at high risk to receive an additional dose. The Public Health Communications Collaborative created guidance to help you answer questions about these updated recommendations. The Public Health Communications Collaborative (PHCC) was formed in August 2020 by the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, and Trust for America’s Health to provide unbiased communication about the COVID-19 pandemic. With misinformation and polarization eroding trust in public health, PHCC’s founders came together to create, coordinate, and amplify science-based messaging to support and enhance the communications capacity of health departments across the country. Since that time, PHCC has grown to include new partners and broadened our mission beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, our resources are guided by feedback from the field to address the evolving needs of public health communicators, such as answers to tough questions, misinformation alerts, shareable graphics and social messaging, and other communication tools.
In an effort to support the federal government's vision to end HIV, the Health Action Alliance developed an HIV guide for employers.