By: Evan Manning, Lobbyist - June 2, 2021
102nd General Assembly End of Session Report:
After working through the holiday weekend, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned the 2021 spring legislative session. The Illinois House adjourned early Tuesday morning to the call of the Speaker. The Senate adjourned Tuesday evening to the call of the Senate President.
While much was accomplished this session, there has still been no agreement on a clean energy package, legislation designed to address the FOID card process, and an elected Chicago School Board. A scaled back gaming bill stalled in the Senate. The General Assembly is expected to return at some point to address clean energy legislation and Congressional maps.
For the first time in 36 years, the Illinois House was led by a new House Speaker. Speaker Emmanuel “Chris” Welch was elected in January by fellow House Democrats to lead the chamber after long-time Speaker Michael Madigan failed to garner enough support for reelection to the chamber’s top spot. Senate President Don Harmon -- who was elected to his post in January of 2020 -- led the chamber through its first full session since the pandemic began.
After meeting for only 18 session days in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, the Illinois legislature returned to a full session schedule in 2021. Safety remained a priority for both chambers, prompting changes to the operating rules to allow for remote legislating. While the changes to remote operating posed technological and other challenges for both legislators and lobbyists, the changes did allow the General Assembly to continue working during the pandemic. Legislators met in remote committee hearings for the month of March and returned to in-person floor action beginning in April. Even when legislators returned to Springfield, public access to the Capitol remained limited and committee hearings remained remote or a hybrid blend of remote and in-person.
The General Assembly approved several high-profile measures in the final week of session. See below for further detail.
Fiscal Year 2022 Budget: The Illinois General Assembly approved $42.3 billion in General Revenue Funds spending for the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget -- SB 2800 (Harmon/Welch).
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic that devastated the economy, budget makers unexpectedly found Illinois’ fiscal condition to be better than was predicted a few months ago, thanks in part to $8.1 billion in federal stimulus funds (to be spent over the next four years) and an uptick in state revenues this spring.
This influx of cash gave lawmakers the ability to restore $350 million in proposed cuts for elementary and secondary education and to pay off nearly $3 billion debt service (interfund borrowing and a federal loan) which lawmakers say will save the state $100 million in the long run.
In addition to utilizing increased state revenues and federal ARAP (American Recovery Plan Act) funds, the budget also generates revenue through capping the corporate net operating loss deduction for three years at $100,000/year ($314 million); rolling back the accelerated depreciation deduction ($214 million); rolling back the foreign source dividend deduction ($107 million); and freezing the phase out of the corporate franchise tax ($10 million).
This year, budget makers targeted the one-time ARPA funds to pay for one-time expenses which Leader Greg Harris indicates relieves $1 billion in GRF pressure for Fiscal Years 23 and 24. The budget allocates $1.5 billion of ARPA funds for items such as economic recovery programs to help businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, public health, affordable housing and violence prevention programs like after-school activities, and summer youth employment. Another $1 billion in ARPA funds is directed into the ongoing Rebuild Illinois capital improvements program to accelerate some of the projects slated for construction.
GRF allocations include approximately:
SB 2800 also contains the FY22 capital budget and reappropriation authorization for the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.
SB 2017 (Harmon/Harris) represents the statutory language necessary to implement the FY 22 budget. Late Monday evening, without any knowledge to the industry as well as the Department of Insurance the Budget Implementation (BIMP) bill, SB 2017, contained two provisions affecting our industry.
The first is a $4 new fee increase for private passenger motor vehicle insurance coverage that is included in Class 2 and Class 3 of the Illinois Insurance Code (commercial auto not included). The Department of Insurance will collect an amount equal to $4, or a lesser amount determined by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Board (which we know will not be less than $4). The Department of Insurance will deposit 10% of the revenue from the increase into the State Police Training and Academy Fund and 90% into the Law Enforcement Training Fund. The preliminary estimates of the revenue generated from this increase is between $20-25 million per year.
The second big surprise was an increase to both resident and non-resident insurance producer licensing fee. The resident producer fee is increased from $180 to $215, an increase of 19.4% and will generate approximately $2.6 million. Non-resident producer fees are increased from $250 to $380, a $130 increase or 52.2% and will raise approximately $23.3 million. With these changes Illinois will rank first in both resident and non-resident producer fees.
These two provisions included in the BIMP bill were never discussed with anyone from the insurance industry including the Department of Insurance. We reached out to the law enforcement community, who stands to benefit from the new training monies, and even they were unaware. Once we learned of the increases, Evan reached out to the chairs of the Insurance Committees, members of the Senate and House Insurance Committees, and the leaders of the Senate and House Republican caucus. Unfortunately, we were not able to affect the outcome of the bill but were on record with legislators of our opposition to the increased fees. The bill was passed under the guise of night at 2:30 a.m. this morning. No hearings were held on these measures, the bill went straight to the floor with little to no debate. We are still working to discover who was behind the increase and why no one was given any prior notification of the increases. We will share any information we receive in the coming days.
Additional budget detail is here.
Redistricting: Before adjourning for the spring, the Illinois General Assembly approved, along partisan lines, changes to district boundaries for the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Cook County Board of Review.
The process typically relies on US Census block-level data, but pandemic related delays mean that information will not be made available to states until September. The Illinois Constitution dictates that the General Assembly is to approve new legislative boundaries by June 30. If that deadline is missed, the redistricting process falls to a bipartisan commission. And should the commission fail to reach a consensus, a lottery is held to select a tie-breaking member. Legislative Democrats (who currently hold super majorities in both chambers) were incentivized to approve maps prior to the May 31 adjournment deadline and avoid risking a lottery where there is a 50-50 chance Republicans could gain control of the map-making process.
As noted above, US Census block level data is unavailable at this time, so Democrats relied heavily on the American Community Survey Data and other voter data to draw new districts. Republicans and many advocates protested the use of the ACS data and asked the Democrats to wait on official Census data to draw the new boundaries.
While adjustments were made to legislative districts in the revised maps, several legislators, primarily Republicans, remain grouped into the same district:
Capitol News has a recap of the debate in both chambers here. More on the Supreme Court map debate here. The General Assembly is required to redraw Illinois’ Congressional boundaries too, but those new district maps have not yet been publicly released.
SB 2661 (Harmon/Hernandez) creates the Cook County Board of Review Redistricting Act of 2021. HB 2777 (Hernandez/Harmon) creates the General Assembly Redistricting Act of 2021. SB 642 (Harmon/Tarver) creates new district boundaries for the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts (the Circuit Court boundaries remain the same). All of the bills are now on the Governor’s desk.
The Illinois Senate approved SR 326 (Harmon) and the Illinois House approved HR 359 (Hernandez) enumerating redistricting principles, the hearing process, and summaries of Legislative Districts with respect to the 2021.
The General Assembly also approved legislation, SB 2406 (Belt/Hoffman), which reorganizes judicial circuits and subcircuits. SB 2406 heads to the Governor desk.
Clean Energy: Despite months of negotiations, negotiators were unable to reach an agreement on clean energy legislation. The General Assembly is expected to reconvene if and when a compromise is reached. Upon adjournment, Speaker Welch indicated his desire to resolve the issue “sooner rather than later.”
Elected Chicago School Board: The General Assembly also adjourned without approving a measure to elect, rather than appoint, the Chicago School Board. On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate approved a negotiated compromise to provide for a transition to a fully elected 21 member Chicago School Board by the year 2026. HB 2908 (Ramirez/Martwick), passed the Senate and returns to the Illinois House for concurrence.
Ethics: SB 539 (Gillespie/Burke) constitutes an omnibus ethics bill -- many of the provisions of which were debated in January ‘s lame duck session but not ultimately passed. The waning hours of the current session saw SB 539 amended to change various ethics laws to affect: streamlining statements of economic interest; prohibiting GA members from lobbying other entities of government; banning legislative and executive fundraisers anywhere on session days and the day before a session day; prorating the salaries of GA members who leave office mid term; and requiring lobbyists at the county, municipal or township level to register with the Secretary of State and submit expenditure disclosures (akin to lobbyists at the state level).
The bill broadens the definition of lobbying to include soliciting another to make communications and also imposes a six-month revolving door on members of the legislative and executive branches. Requires lobbyists to disclose consultants and complete ethics and sexual harassment training. The bill prohibits the Legislative Ethics Commission from proposing or enforcing rules mandating that the Legislative Inspector General must receive prior approval from the Commission before initiating an investigation. Allows Chicago to continue with its own lobbying ordinances. SB 539 heads to the Governor’s desk.
Gaming: A scaled back gaming bill passed the House, but was not called in the Senate. SB 521 (Munoz/Rita) makes several substantive and technical changes to gaming laws. Some of the changes include:
Medicaid: A negotiated Medicaid omnibus bill passed during the final days of session. As amended, SB 2294 (Gillespie/Harris) represents the efforts of the Medicaid Working Group. The legislation makes numerous changes to the state’s Medicaid program including creating the Illinois Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Act. HFS is required to develop a Comprehensive Statewide Behavioral Health Strategy by July 1, 2022. HFS is also required to establish a Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly program.
The bill also continues Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months after the COVID-19 public health emergency expires and expands Medicaid coverage for children under the age of 19 who are in households at or below 313% FPL. The bill also provides Medicaid coverage for chiropractic services, tobacco cessation, immunosuppressant and kidney transplant medication for non-citizens as well as reimbursement for immunizations, counseling services and long-acting injectable medications for behavioral health services in a hospital setting. In order to address access issues, increase Medicaid reimbursement for dental and immunization services. SB 2294 heads to the Governor’s desk.
Cannabis: HB 1443 (Ford/Lightford), which addresses issues and delays with the cannabis dispensary license for social equity applicants, passed both chambers. The bill maintains the existing 75 social equity licenses and adds two lotteries (three lotteries total) of 55 licenses each for a total of 185 potential new licenses. Additionally, the bill changes existing relocation provisions, allowing social equity applicants to be within 1,500 feet of existing dispensaries. The bill also: expands the R3 board; creates the position of Cannabis Regulation and Oversight Officer; and establishes a Social Equity Justice Involved lottery for five medical licenses.
A cannabis trailer bill, SB 166 (Bennett/Harper) addresses procurement concerns with the Commission on Equity and Inclusion. SB 166 passed both houses.
Omnibus Election Legislation: The Illinois General Assembly approved an omnibus election bill, SB 825 (Harmon/West), which makes several election-related changes including moving the 2022 primary election from March to June 28th. This change accommodates the delay in drawing a new Congressional map until after Census data is released in September.
Key provisions of the bill include:
Fix the FOID Act: The General Assembly adjourned without passing changes to the FOID card. Negotiated language to fix the FOID was amended onto HB 562 (Hoffman, Koehler). HB 562 is an initiative of the Illinois State Police and is designed to modernize the FOID card process and make reforms to address the backlog in FOID and concealed card processing and addresses perceived “loopholes” regarding the transfer of firearms. The bill does not include mandatory fingerprinting, but individuals who submit to voluntary fingerprinting will have the ability to get a non-expiring FOID card. HB 562 passed the Senate, but was not called for a concurrence vote in the House.
The House narrowly passed HB 1091 (Hirschauer) which represents the gun control advocates language. This bill, among other provisions, includes mandatory fingerprinting for FOID card applicants and renewals. A motion to reconsider the vote was filed on this bill thus preventing it from advancing to the Senate.
Police Reform: HB 3443 (Slaughter/Sims) represents a trailer bill to the Black Caucus criminal justice reform passed in January. Key provisions include:
Training: Clarifies that all mandated law enforcement training will be provided at no cost to the employees and employees must be paid for all time spent attending mandated training.
Body Cameras: Provides that officer-worn body cameras may be turned off when the officer is inside a correctional facility or courthouse which is equipped with a functioning camera system. Provides that a law enforcement officer shall not have access to or review his or her body-worn camera recordings, the body-worn camera recordings of another officer, or any other recordings prior to completing incident reports or other documentation under specified circumstances. Provides that notwithstanding provisions of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, a law enforcement agency receiving a complaint made against a law enforcement officer will provide an opportunity for the complainant to view the available recordings from a body worn camera system pertaining to the incident as soon as practical and prior to the complainant finalizing their complaint, if so requested by the complainant.
Use of Force: Provides that a peace officer is not justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm when there is no longer an immediate threat of great bodily harm to the officer or another. In provisions concerning prohibited use of force by a peace officer, it provides that "chokehold" does not include any holding involving contact with the neck that is not intended to reduce the intake of air. Places restrictions on the use of chemical agents or irritants.
Duty to Intervene: In a provision concerning the duty to intervene, replaces a reference to a person acting on behalf of a peace officer with a reference to a person acting under the color of law.
Other Changes: Makes changes in a provision concerning rules and regulations for sentence credit (with regard to participation in certain programs, assignments, and activities). Makes changes in a provision concerning mandatory supervised release, as well as in a provision on the reporting of deaths of persons in custody in correctional institutions. Delays the effective date of various provisions changed by Public Act 101-652.
Senator Harper filed a motion to reconsider the vote on this legislation -- which is a procedural move that holds the bill in the chamber after its passage.
Firearms Restraining Order: HB 1092 (Wang Stoneback/Gillespie) makes changes to the Firearms Restraining Order. The measure directs the Illinois Department of Public Health to promote public awareness of the Firearms Restraining Order. In addition, the bill: creates a Commission on Implementing the Firearms Restraining Order Act; requires the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to create and conduct an officer training on the FRO; clarifies which family members can request a FRO; and identifies the jurisdiction in which a petition for a FRO can be filed. HB 1092 passed the Senate, but was not called for a final concurrence vote in the House.
Unemployment Insurance: A negotiated fix for the state’s unemployment insurance system stalled in the House. HB 2643 (Croke/Holmes), as amended, represents an agreement by business and labor groups along with IDES, to fix the state’s unemployment system. The bill rolls five provisions into one bill. Note that the bill makes several administrative changes to IDES including allowing IDES to talk with legislative offices and requiring IDES to report certain information to the Illinois Department of Revenue with respect to fraudulent claims. The bill also temporarily extends benefits to certain non-instructional educational staff until such time as federal benefits end. HB 2643 passed the Senate but was not called for a concurrence vote in the House.
NAIFA IL and Coalition Legislation:
The following measures passed and will be sent to the Governor’s desk:
In other news, House Speaker Welch made an end of session leadership change. Representative Carol Ammons was replaced by Representative LaToya Greenwood in the position as House Democratic Caucus Chair.
It is believed the House and Senate will reconvene in two weeks to take up the Clean Energy bill that failed to pass before the deadline.
New Laws: Governor Pritzker signed SB 72 (Harmon/Hoffman) which allows for prejudgment interest, rather than post judgement interest, in civil proceedings. The bill exempts state and local government, lowers the interest rate from 9 to 6 percent, and moves the start date to when the suit is actually filed. The new law takes effect July 1, 2021.
Executive Order: Executive Order 2021-11 reissues many of the COVID Executive Orders through June 26, 2021.